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How to make a tote bag

Okay, in case anyone here is bored out of their tree and wants to learn/see how to make the tote bag, I went to the trouble of typing up a tutorial complete with photojournal pictures! LOL It was for the Quilting LJ community, but I may as well post it here to have for my own files.

1. I used squares that I had lying around. In this case, several months ago in a fit of I-Don't-Know-What, I'd ordered a bunch of pre-cut bubblegum themed squares off eBay. Ten of each. It's an odd number, and you can't do much with ten squares. Luckily, I had six, so six times ten, is a decent sized tote bag.


2. Sewed the whole mess together such that when I folded it in half, it was about the size of a big grocery bag.


3. I pinned my topquilt to a liner fabric, wrong sides together, then cut it roughly. I was not being careful or taking measurements.



4. I then 'quilted' the two layers together (note, no quilt batting) and just did the basics to hold it together. Note I have the cheapest Singer you can buy with one or two 'fancy' stitches (LOL) so that's what I used in a grid formation.





5. Then I trimmed the edges of the secured two-layer piece using my rotary cutter.



6. Then I cut and pressed the binding from the same fabric as the backing, and I used the binding method to connect the two sides of the tote bag. Looks like I made them about 2.5" wide, although I was just winging this, and not being particularly careful with measuring anything.






7. If you are not familiar with this style of binding, either google it or type "quilt binding" into YouTube for a tutorial. It's dead easy once you get the hang of it. You straight stitch the rough edges together (right sides together) then flip it over and wrap the binding around, and zigzag.



8. I wanted a flat-bottomed tote, so while it was inside out, I sewed the corners so it would lie flat. Again, I was kind of loosey goosey with the measurements, but I did try to make the right side the same as the left. LOL


Turned rightside out, the bottom corners now look like this:



9. To do the strip of fabric that was going to secure the handles, I attached two pieces using the angle method for when you do binding. Again, google if you are unsure or check YouTube for tutorials. I learned how to do this from watching YouTube.





10. To make the handles, cut two strips of matching fabric (approx 3" or 4" wide), and press so that there are no raw edges. Sew with a decorative stitch, but not the one I used. It's butt ugly. LOL




11. To connect the handles, run the facing around the front edge of the tote bag with the handles placed where you want them. Again, sew a straight stitch, raw edges together. Then you can turn the facing down and topstitch, then zigzag for a neat finish with no raw edges showing.






12. The finished product! You can cut cardboard to size to make a stiffener for the bottom if you like, and cover it in fabric too.




I hope that was helpful or straightforward. Like I said, I'm pretty new at this, and I just did what looked neat to me, and it came out pretty nice. I am hoping it's strong enough to hold cans when I go grocery shopping, and I hope the fact that there is no batting isn't too much of a big deal.

Anyhow, happy TOTING!!


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
May. 3rd, 2009 06:23 am (UTC)
That bag is absolutely adorable! I love it. Great job!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )