I cannot remember when I first stitched a hand bag from cotton cloth. It must be at least 35 years or so ago. I have been doing this every now and then, most of the time, just for kicks to convert some cloth piece into something useful. I store these pieces in an old suitcase and if someone opens, it will look like a madman's collection of rags! But that has come in handy oftentimes when smaller pieces were needed for some emergency patch work also.
The easier ones to make are the carry bags of simple patterns. There is a greater need for these to be used and carried around, in these times when plastic is a bane because it is misused and abused. With these on hand, we can boldly refuse a carry bag which means one or two bags less on that outing. I have faced shopkeepers telling me that I was the first one to refuse a carry bag in his 4-6 years of business! This only shows the utter neglect of the citizens towards the unwanted, growing garbage hill!
Here are the smaller ones I have made over some years. They are on a hook readily available for use. Just some basic skills in sewing will do to create any number of such things.
The latest one is a shoulder bag [see image below] I made using my grandfather's beautiful cotton drill cloth trousers. They had been altered by my father to fit his waist and later I used too after another alteration. It is an old cloth, may be 50 years old and the quality is of very high class. It could be used no longer as I had grown out of it and decided to cut to make this bag which will hang around for some more years.
I later lengthened the shoulder strap as it was too short.
That was how that bag was made. Self-timer shot. Ten seconds time. Had to set, click and run to sit there in the most natural way!
The four dots in permanent 'washerman's ink' are the identity mark of the washerman, one Papaiah, a frail old man who used to come home and pick the clothes for washing/ironing. This was in the early 1960s.
They are also called 'tote bags'.
Say no to plastic carry bags, whenever it is possible. Save and protect the environment.