This is the Morse bag I made for a swap on Craftster.org.
A Morse Bag is one of the easiest bags to make. Its simple construction is accessible to the beginning sewist. This makes it a perfect project for learning new techniques. Best of all, everyone appreciates a unique shopping bag. You can practice all you like and not be overwhelmed with finished projects
There are tutorials for making the basic bag all over the internet. The original Morse bag site is here. Leslie of Leslies Art and Sew has a great tutorial here as well. Her pictures are most helpful.
The classic Morse bag calls for two pieces of fabric that are 18 x 20 inches and two handle pieces that are 4 x 18 inches. These pieces can be cut from any fabric, tablecloth, sheet, old clothes or whatever you have on hand. When upcycling you can create a paper pattern or simply use a ruler and washable marker to draw the shape on the piece of fabric.
The following diagrams will help if you are going to be making your bag out of yardage. They are mapped out to conserve as much fabric as possible. The final piece won't be exactly as called for but the pattern is flexible enough that they work. I will show the necessary adjustments in later tutorials.
If your print runs with the grain of the fabric (double arrow), you will need 20 inches of fabric. Purchase 5/8 yard of fabric that is 44 inches wide. Trim it to 20 inches along the fold. Trim the selvages. Cut at 18 inches from the fold and then cut along the fold. (You don’t have to cut along the fold. You can leave the fold intact, eliminating one of the French seams. It is a matter of personal preference. All of the directions from here out will assume that you have cut the fold.) You will have two strips of fabric left that are close to but likely less than 4 inches wide by 20 inches long. The original pattern calls for strips that are 4 inches by 18 inches. You will be able to adjust for the width when you sew the handles. You can trim to 18 inches if you like but the extra length is fine and this eliminates waste.
If the pattern is perpendicular to the grain of the fabric (double arrow) you will need to purchase 2/3 yard of fabric 44 inches wide. Trim it to 22 inches along the fold. Cut at 18 inches. Trim the 18 inch piece to 20 inches (trimming off the selvage edge). Cut along the fold to make two pieces. (Again you can choose to leave it intact and eliminate the French seam along the bottom of the bag.) Trim the selvage off and cut along the fold of the 4 inch strip. This leaves two handle pieces that are 4 inches by about 22 inches. You can trim these to 18 inches if you wish.
At this point you have all of the pieces necessary to assemble the classic Morse Bag.