Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tote Tutorial

Hello friends! Let's make something awesome today! This is a great beginners sewing project. First you need to pick 3 coordinating fabrics. Two for the exterior and one for the interior and strap. You need 1/2 yard of each of these fabrics. I like a thicker, longer strap, so I usually get more of the fabric I am going to use for the interior and lining. It is totally up to you.
Next you need to wash and iron your fabrics.
After you have washed and ironed your fabric,
fold them with selvage edges together,
line up your ruler on the bottom of the fold and trim the sides in a nice straight line.
This is necessary because fabric is usually not cut perfectly straight.
Now for your exterior base you will need to cut one 15 x 13 inch rectangle.
This piece will be folded to make the bottom, outside part of your tote.
For the top exterior, you need to cut two 9 x 13 inch rectangles.
For the interior lining you will need to cut one 13 x 31 inch rectangle.
I cut it 13 inches wide and then fold it and cut it at 15.5 on the fold to make 31 inches when unfolded.
This is what it will look like after you cut your fabric and lay it out.
Now you need to sew one of the top exterior pieces to one side of the bottom exterior pieces along the 13 inch sides.
You will use a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
Make sure you have right side to right side of your fabrics.
Press your seams open.  I just use my finger nail to press this seam.
To give your bag a more finished and professional look, you can top stitch 1/8th along each side of your seam.
You will now repeat the previous two steps on the other side of your exterior bottom and top pieces, so that when you fold it in half both sides of the exterior part of the bag are finished.
Now fold it in half with right sides together.
You will want to line up your seams and pin so that when you sew the front the to back the contrasting fabrics line up nicely.
I pin at these seams and then work my way up pinning and down pinning from these seams.
When you sew your exterior bag together start at the bottom where your exterior base is folded.
Remember to stitch a couple stitches forward, then backward to reinforce that initial stitching.
Now you will take your lining fabric and fold it in half with right sides together,
and stitch it together on both sides just like you did with your exterior fabrics.
For your strap, you need to choose how long you would like your strap to be and then cut it that length x 8 inches wide.
From here, you need to fold it in half long ways (hot dog style) and iron it so that it has a nice, crisp crease down the middle.
After you have done that, open your fabric up and fold one side into where it meets with the crease you just made and iron it along the new fold.
Then you do the same thing on the opposite side.
Last, you fold it right down the middle at the initial crease so that you have a two inch strap.
While you are by the iron go ahead and use your seam gauge to fold the top of your lining down 1/2 and inch and iron all the way around the top with the wrong side of your fabric still facing out.
Do the same thing with the top of your exterior bag.
Sew both sides of your strap together at 1/8th an inch.
Turn the exterior of your bag right side out, but leave your lining wrong side out.
Slip your lining into your exterior bag and shake it a bit to get it to fit together nicely.
Slip one end of your strap about one inch down in between the exterior bag and and the lining, and pin it.  Do this on both sides, making sure not to twist your strap.
From here pull your bag nice and tight as you pin the lining and exterior bag together.
I always start pinning from the middle and work my way out.
This step is important to ensure that you do not have a pucker when you sew the exterior and lining together.  Be patient and pull your fabrics to help them line up nicely.
Starting at a strap sew 1/4 inch down.
I always sew across my strap, back stitch, and then sew across my strap again just to reinforce it since it will feel that most stress as you carry items in your bag.
Pull your bag tight as you sew this part to avoid getting a pucker on the exterior part of your bag.
Then do the same thing with a 1/8th inch seam allowance.
And there you have it!  A lovely tote perfect for magazines, notebooks, and all your goods!
Easy, peasy lemon squeezey!


Anonymous said...

Looks like a lot of work to me...maybe my wife could do it

Anonymous said...

You lost me at "salvaged edges"! He, he!!! I have an idea- this would be the perfect addition to somebody's etsy shop! :-) Kandace