Friday, January 29, 2010

Tote Bag Tutorial

This tote bag is 15" wide and 15.5" deep with a slightly ruffled top edge. It has a zippered pocket inside for security.

I used 7 fat quarters to make this bag (3 were whole the rest were not quite complete) As few as 4 fat quarter could be used. Any fabric combination could be used. I also used ~1 yard of diaper flannel (could be thin batting, I like diaper flannel for bags), ~30" piece of fabric for the lining and the pocket, ~2 yards of lightweight woven fusible interfacing (the interfacing I used is only 19" wide - you will need less if it is wider) and a 7" zipper. I used 1/4" seam allowances. I used sulky variegated thread for top stitching and quilting.


The bag starts with a rectangle of fabric - 36"x16.5".
It can be any combination or pattern you would like, or one or two beautiful pieces of fabric.

I pieced the top section with 8 - 2.5"x20" strips - I used two strips from 4 different FQ's. I then cut it in half and evened the edges to make 2 rectangles - 9.5"x16.5". I pieced the two rectangles with a rectangle - 17"x16.5" . This resulted in a rectangle - 36"x16.5".

My middle fabric was non-directional. If yours is directional, you will need to add 1/2" to the size of the rectangle, cut it in half and sew it back together so that the fabric will look nice on the finished bag.
Layer a piece of interfacing - fusible side up - ~37"x18" - on your work surface. Place a piece of diaper flannel - 31"x18" -on top of interfacing. Lay the pieced fabric on top, centered with 2.25" on both ends larger than the flannel.

Pin and machine quilt as desired. Trim and iron.

The 2.25" section at the top without flannel will be folded at the top of the bag, this will make it less bulky. It is still quilted in that section.
Fold the bag, right sides together. Make a 1.5" pleat at the bottom.

Sew along the sides, leaving a 1/2" opening on each side, 4" from the top edge.

This will form the openings for the ties.

You will need a rectangle of fabric - 28"x16.5", and another piece - 18"x10" - for the pocket. Iron a piece of fusible interfacing on both pieces of fabric. On the back of the pocket, mark a rectangle, 7.5"x3/8" , 1" from the top of the short side.

Center, right sides together, on the lining, 1" from the top of the lining.

Sew around the marked lines.

Cut a slit down the center and in a "V" at the ends.

Turn inside out, baste and iron.

Pin the zipper on the inside, centered in the opening and stitch around.

Fold the pocket in half and stitch around.

Pocket is complete!

Fold the lining in half and stitch the sides, leaving a 3" opening along one side.

Fold the corners of the lining as shown and mark a line 1.5" from point. Sew and trim.

Two 3.25"x27" strips of fabric. I cut 3 - 3.25" pieces from a FQ, and pieced one and a half sections for each strap. You will also need two 1.25" strips of flannel, 27" long. Iron a 1/4" along the long edges of each straps.

Wrap the fabric around the strips of flannel.

Stitch along the folded edge of the straps. I always add a few rows of stitching down straps, either decorative, wavy or plain.

Two 3"x30" strips of fabric needed for the ties. With FQ's I cut three 3"x20" strips and cut one in half and pieced them. Sew them right sides together, tapered at the ends, leave a 2" opening in the middle to turn them. Turn and press. No need to stitch the opening, it won't be seen.

Place the handles 3.75" from the outside edges of the bag, extending the handles 1/2" past the edge of the bag. Sew in place.

Turn bag inside out, place lining inside the bag, right sides together. Match side seams, pin, and sew. I used the walking foot. The lining is shorter than the bag.

Carefully turn bag right sides out through the opening in the lining. Fold the 2" top of the bag to the inside. Baste, making sure that all the seam allowances and the ends of the handles are towards the bottom of the bag (reach inside the bag through the opening in the lining). When the channel is stitched, where the handles are will be reinforced, that is why I extended the handles by 1/2". Stitch the opening in the lining closed.

Top stitch (with a walking foot) two rows, ~2" from the top of the bag and 1/2" apart, to form a channel around the bag. Making sure that you stitch on either side of the 1/2" openings that are on the sides of the bag.

Carefully thread the ties through the channel. Knot the ends.

Hopefully this tutorial makes sense. It is my first attempt at a tutorial. If you have any questions please email me. If you make a bag, please email me a picture, I would be thrilled to see it!


Karen said...

Oh my - I haven't inserted a zipper like that for ages - you must have a background in clothing construction. It makes for a very neat and tidy zipper insertion. Great job on your bag!

Gloria said...

Great tutorial! thanks!

Khris said...

Thanks for sharing your tutorial. I have linked to you on my Freebies for Crafters blog.

Flo @ Butterfly Quilting said...

thank you so much for this great tutorial! I think I will have to try this one out! I always add a pocket to my bags, but have never tried a make it look so easy!

Terrie said...

Made this bag over the weekend and I love it! I appliqued initials on the front, near the bottom, and am so very pleased with the final result. The tutorial was easy to follow (but I decided not to do the pocket), and my finished bag looks as good as your pictures! Thanks for a great tutorial!

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