Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Simple Tote Bag - Tutorial

I bought a few different prints of this beautiful Paris Pastel fabric by Timeless Treasures Fabrics from a local online quilt shop The Quilting Bug just before Christmas, not even knowing what I would make with them.  Since the prints where a bit too big to use on a quilt I thought of making a bag matching it up with a few different pieces of fabric in my stash.  So looking at a lot of pictures and tutorials on the internet for inspiration I made this simple and easy tote bag.

UPDATE (11/01/2013) To download the pattern for FREE, click HERE

Fabric Cutting Instructions (Inches)

Interfacing Cutting Instructions (Inches)

Making the straps

Start of by folding the the strap in half lengthwise and iron to make a crease down the center.  Using a pressing cloth press the interfacing shiny side down on the wrong side of the fabric, both sides of the crease.  Fold over the excess fabric and fold it in half again and iron it in place.  Top stitch 1/8 inch from the outside edges on both sides to make the straps.  Repeat these steps for the 2nd handle.

Front and Back Pocket 

Fold the pocket in half and iron a crease at the top of the pocket.  Insert the interfacing right up to the fold of the fabric, and iron it well to attach the interfacing to the inside of the pocket.  Keep in mind to center the interfacing as it is a 1/4 inch smaller on all sides to avoid having too much bulk at the seams.  You will make 2 of these pockets, for front and back.

Bag Body/Lining

Fold the lining fabric in half as you did with the pocket and iron in a crease at the top, line up the interfacing at the wrong side of the fabric to the creased fold and iron it down using a pressing cloth.  That creased line will be the top of your bag.  Unfold the lining fabric flat on your table.  Place the pocket piece on top (right sides together - interfacing at the back).  Measure ± 6 inches from the sides and mark with a pencil where the straps of the bags will be sewn on, I just eyeballed the center of the strips and placed that over the pencil mark.  You will top stitch over the layers starting at the bottom edge right up to about 1/8 from the crease line of the bag, top stitch across to the other side and then back down to the bottom.  

Adding all your pieces together

You will end up with 2 exact copies, if you want to add a pocket on the inside of the bag, you'll do it before assembling your bag, the pocket will then be sewn onto the blue print fabric, the opening facing up towards the straps.  With right sides facing each other line up the layers so that the strips and pockets flow in a straight line.  Pin your bag together.  Mark a space of about 6 inches, to leave an opening to turn the bag right side out, starting at the 1st mark, sew all around to the other mark.  To avoid the seam from coming apart when you turn your bag right side out, you'll have to back stitch a few times at the start and finish.

Finishing your bag

To shape your bag, match up your side seam to the bottom seam, I stuck my hand in the opening to feel my way around, and flattened it to create a triangle.  Measure from the corner to the inside 2 inches and draw a 4 inch line across.  Sew on the drawn line, back stitch at the start and end to secure that seam.  Do that on all 4 corners, cut off the excess and you're ready to turn the bag right side out.  

Closing up the opening I ironed seam allowance in where the opening was, now I'm NOT very good at slip-stitch so I just used my sewing machine and stitched about 1/8 inch from the one side of the bag lining to the other to close up the opening.

To secure the top of the back, I top stitched an 1/8 inch seam all around the bag.

The finished size is at 9 1/2 high x 13 1/2 (bottom) 17 1/2 (top) wide and 4 inches wide using a 1/4 seam allowance.   

Please note that I made these sizes up as I went along, and that this is my 1st attempt at writing a tutorial.  If you make this bag using my instructions and sizes please let me know if there are any discrepancies.

Happy quilting or in this case - sewing.


Heidi Grohs said...

I love the colors!!! Good finish!!!

Hanli Terblanche said...

Very classy! Love it!

Marelize Ries said...

Thanks Heidi, and thanks for stopping by...

Marelize Ries said...

Thanks Hanli, I think this bag will make nice gifts, the next one I'm trying I want to quilt the panels.

Nonny said...

This a great tutorial!! Thanks for sharing!!

Stopping by from Sew Many Ways!


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