I love handmade bags! I don't really like making them but I love using them. They're so pretty and sturdy and reusable and they make great gifts when I can stand to part with them. Well, actually, I guess I just assume that people like getting bags as gifts. I could be totally wrong here!
Knitting, grocery, gift, zipper, drawstring...they're just the best. And they're a really great way to do some stashbusting. Usually I make bags out of fabrics I just never seem to use in quilts...large prints or colors that don't seem to "go" with anything. Or how about those home dec fabrics you ordered by accident because you thought they were quilting fabrics? I've done that a lot...
The bag I make most often is the Jane Market Bag by Alicia Paulson. I've made at least a dozen throughout the years. Sometimes I make the pocket, sometimes I skip it. Depends on how lazy I'm feeling. I even made a quilted patchwork version for Ian for his birthday this year.
I love this bag because it's the size of a paper grocery bag and can hold SO much! Like, so much that your hands hurt after carrying them into the house. Like, half gallons of grapefruit juice, orange juice, a couple of boxes of rice milk and a cantaloupe on top in one bag heavy (Ian carries that one!). Alicia recommends using some stiff cardboard in the bottom of the bags and I agree. It really helps stabilize your items. I buy bookboard from my local art store...it will never bend, no matter what you put in there!
The other bag I make most often is my reversible drawstring Ballet Bag. I've started using these bags instead of gift wrapping. The size in the tutorial is good for a lot of things but it's easy to make smaller or larger bags as necessary. It's my goal this year at the holidays to only use fabric bags for gifts, no paper at all.
I know there are tons of other bag tutorials out there but since I dislike making bags so much, I've never tried them so I can't recommend any. If you have a favorite bag tutorial, feel free to link to it below.