I've been playing around with a sewn bag idea I had. It started with placemats. My sister-in-law gave me a cute bag, and in discussion I found out she made it from a placemat by sewing up the sides and then sewing in a triangle at the bottom two corners.
I had the idea to make a square zipper bag that way, and so I did. And it was fun. I keep tweaking the way I do it, and it keeps getting better-looking AND easier to do. Kind of amazing, really. Check out a few:
This was the first one. It took forever. I measured for everything, but after this one I made a triangle pattern for the corners and it saved a LOT of time.
I did a couple more and started putting a small ribbon loop at the back end of the zipper so I would have something to grab at both ends of the zipper. I also gave up the wrap-around zipper, although I might go back to it someday. The really long zippers get pricey!
This is the bag I made for my mother. I did top-stitching along the zipper at the very end, but the next bag will have it done as soon as the zipper is done. There's no reason to wait, and the added bulk on heavier placemats makes it impossible to sew a straight seam once the corners are sewn. (She wanted a floppy bag).
I also finished knitting a bag, my miser's purse. I based this off of an article in Interweave Knits discussing miser's bags. The yarn was dyed in the wool by my friend, and then I spun it with the intention of plying it. Except it was too loose for plying, and I really liked it as a single but it was very thin. I got something like 13 stitches to the inch on this.