Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tote Bag Tutorial

This might be a good time to state that all of my patterns are for personal use only. You may make a purse for your own personal use or to give as a gift. You may not use my patterns or tutorials to make items for sale.

This tote bag is the perfect size for a gym bag, a diaper bag, a tote between work and home, a carry-on for air travel, and so much more. You can take the basic instructions and adjust the size down to a smaller bag if you use a smaller zipper. If you use a lighter weight fabric, you will need to interface your purse. 

Please let me know if anything in the tutorial is unclear or if you have questions!

Cut from home dec or outdoor weight fabrics:
2 pieces of purse fabric, 23" x 20" (for purse)
2 pieces of purse fabric, 23" x 11" (for pockets)
2 pieces of lining fabric, 23" x 20" (for purse lining)
2 pieces of lining fabric, 23" x 11" (for pocket lining)

2 lengths of webbing for the handles, 56" each piece (purchase 112" webbing)
22" heavy duty sport-weight zipper

Using any kind of marking pen (it won't show), mark a 4" square in the bottom corners of the wrong side of the two purse pieces and the two purse lining pieces.

Make a zipper sandwich: purse outside piece right side up, zipper facing down, purse lining wrong side up. (see photo below) Using your zipper foot, stitch close to zipper through all layers.

Finger press these layers away from the zipper and make the same zipper sandwich on the other side of the zipper and stitch (see below). I don't recommend pressing with a hot iron near a plastic zipper.

As you sew along, you will have to pay attention to where the zipper is because zippers and needles do not mix.

You should now have something that looks like the photo below.

Sew an outer pocket piece to a lining pocket piece along the 23" sides, right sides together. Repeat with the other pocket pieces. Turn right side out. Press seams flat on right side.

Move the layers slightly off so that you end up with what you see below. Press.

Stitch two parallel topstitching lines along the faux edge trim you made by pressing the pockets off center. (see below)

On top of only one layer of the outer purse fabric, pin a pocket piece as you see below, 5 inches from the bottom of the purse. See where the striped "trim" side of the pocket is toward the top of the purse?

Pin down one of the webbing pieces on top of the pocket, tucking the ends under the pocket piece bottom. Center the webbing vertically on the purse, with 7 inches of space in the center between the webbing.

Stitch the sides and bottom of pocket to purse, making sure the edges of the webbing are tucked under the pocket piece.

Stitch close to the sides and bottom of the webbing, anchoring it to the purse, and stopping about an inch from the top (zipper) edge. Stitch at the top across the webbing a few times and back and forth across the bottom of the webbing a few times to strengthen the handle.

Follow the same process to attach the pocket to one layer of the lining fabric. Stitch sides and bottom of pocket to the lining. 

Divide the inside pocket however you would like (I made a 7-inch center pocket the same as the outside) and stitch the pocket divider sections.

Stitch the webbing to the other side of the purse fabric in the same manner, but you will not have a pocket piece on this side. Measure and space the webbing handle and stitch down to match the side that you already did (the pocket side).

Unzip the zipper. Lay out the purse and pin all around the outside, purse fabric to purse fabric and lining fabric to lining fabric, right sides of fabric together. Stitch all the way around, leaving a 6-inch opening at the bottom edge of the lining. Get as close as you can to the ends of the zipper. Clip the four corners. 

Box your corners by matching up the lines that you made when you drew the 4 inch boxes at the beginning. Stitch along the drawn lines. Trim seam.

Turn purse right side out through the opening in the lining. Turn the lower edges of the lining under and stitch opening closed, close to the edge. This closes up the opening you used to turn the purse right side out.

Push lining of purse down inside of purse itself. Hand stitch any gaps that exist where you couldn't get close enough to the zipper. If you used a separating zipper, slip stitch the bottom of the zipper closed so it can't separate.

Enjoy your new tote!


Michelle @ Periwinkle said...

good instructions -- descriptions of how to do some things, like the zipper, and i like the photos of details too, m

Lonci said...

Thank you for the instrucions, its seems so good:)

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

Great Tute!

Anonymous said...

What a great tutorial!!!

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