Hello, and a tote bag tutorial

Note from Jenny:

Hey everybody!  I have got some wonderful news to share!  My good friend and Seamster Extraordinaire, Stacie Davis, has just joined our SewVac Outlet team of Blog Contributors!  Oh yes, she is amazing!  And for her first post as an “official contributor” she is sharing this fun Tote Bag Tutorial.  Fully lined, fully reversible, and fully AWESOME!

Check it out!  Thanks for reading, Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny

Introducing:  Stacie Davis of StacieThinksSheCan.com

Hello! I’m Stacie and I’m excited to be a new contributor here on the blog. Some of you may be familiar with me from the French Seams the Stacie Way post or from Stacie Thinks She Can. I’ve been sewing and quilting for a couple of years now, and learned most of what I know from Jenny. My mind is racing right now with great sewing posts, and I’m really leaning toward an A-line skirt with zipper sew-along. All this warm Spring weather in Houston has me suffering from Spring Fever!

To start with though, I thought I would share a fun project I often give as a gift and use everywhere I go: a lined tote bag.

This is an example of one I made for a Secret Santa gift. I am happy to report she loved it and uses it nearly everyday. What I love about this bag is it is very easy to make it your own by making  the bag bigger or smaller and playing around with top stitching, embroidery or embellishments.

For the size I made you will need:
1/2 yard of lining material
1/2 yard of outer material
8 inches of strap fabric cut into 4 inch by width of fabric strips.

Cut your half yards of fabric along the fold so you have two pieces of each fabric the same size.

Sew the outer fabric together right sides together on three sides leaving what you would like to be the top open. Repeat with the lining fabric. I used a 5/8 inch seam, but it doesn’t matter from what I can tell.

Take your outer fabric and on the bottom corners you will line up the bottom and side seam while pulling out the fabric along the new fold to form a V coming from the corner where the bottom and the side meet.

I measured 2 inches from the stitched corner and made a mark.

Draw (or eyeball) a straight line and follow it with a straight stitch. I reverse at the start and end of this stitch to reinforce it.

Cut off the excess material and your new bag bottom will look like the one above. Repeat on the bottom corners of the lining material as well.

Now for the straps. Iron your 4 inch strip in half with right sides facing out.

Unfold your strap.

Now, fold and press both sides in to meet that seem you just made down the middle.

Now fold that piece in half and press. (See, you made giant bias tape.)

Sew a straight stitch down the open side of the strap. I sew one up the other side as well because I like the way it looks. I usually follow the edge of my presser foot for this step.

See, this is what you wind up with. Repeat it with the other strip, so you have two straps. You may want to trim some off each end to adjust the strap to the length you like.

Now, place the lining and out fabric right sides together with the straps sandwiched between the two. Make sure they line up on both sides. Sew along the top and leave about a four-inch opening.

Pull the fabrics and handles out that opening you left in the top. (It doesn’t have to be left in the top, but it was easiest for me.)

This is what you should be seeing. The right sides of your fabrics and the handles.

Push your lining down into the bag, so the handles are at the top, making it resemble an almost completed bag.

I like to press the top seam here to make it look crisp as well as insure I catch the opening I left when I top stitch.

I used a decorative top stitch all around the top of the bag. This closes the opening, helps reinforce the handles as well as adds a fun element.

Your bag is done, washable and reversible!

Nice work.

The bottom is so fancy and the bag hold more because of the stitches you made along the bottom corners. Please share a picture if you make one of your own!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s