In my childhood, hessian sacks (I think these are burlap sacks in North America) were a common feature of life. They were the packaging in which all kinds of supplies for the garden and from the hardware arrived, and they also carried potatoes and large quantities of other eatables. They were routinely re-used to carry things (mulch or wood) as mats (for example, in the shed or the boat or outdoors) or as linings (for example, in the boot of a car).
Many things that once came in hessian now arrive in plastic sacks–chook food being the most obvious example in my life. Happily, the organic fruit and vegetable co-op we belong to still gets potatoes in sacks. Some are particularly cute. This one features a wombat, in case this is not obvious to those from far away places! In the past, I used to get spud (potato) sacks with spud man on them, a little animated potato chap. I a made a lot of bags for co-op members from them. The cute ones are especially motivating. I think they make great lined carry bags.
First wash your sack, inside-out, to remove the mud that is great for growing vegetables but particularly unfortunate if it finds its way into your sewing machine. Choose shape and size of bag. Stitch side and bottom seams, fold over a top hem, and then square the corners if you like a flat bottom (I do). (Not sure what I mean? scroll down to ‘stitch miter seams’ in this tutorial).
Next, make a lining of similar size from whatever scraps you have and seam it up the same way. No shortage of scrap fabrics at my place! If in doubt, make it a fraction smaller than the hessian outer.
Next, choose fabric for handles, iron hems, fold in half and stitch. Finally, slip the lining into the outer. Check for fit. Pin lining to outer, and pin handles into position, Stitch around the top of your bag, with some reinforcing stitches to keep your handle in good order. And there you have it!
I have one more bag in progress. This one is posing in the potato patch, quite shamelessly… unfortunately, the woolly caterpillars have rampaged through the garden for weeks, munching everything they fancied in the process, and the potato plants themselves are looking less glamorous than they might.