Tote bag tutorial; made in less than 45 minutes. Join the anti-plastic-bags revolution.

5 August 2016

Yes, a tote bag, a good size tote bag with some volume to hold your shopping easily. And made in less than 45 minutes. Why wouldn't you want to get started!

Plastic bags are not my favourite thing. I hate seeing them lying around amongst the trees and grass and I hate seeing what they do to wildlife and sea creatures.

So, it's time to join the anti-plastic-bags revolution.

Make a tote bag. In less than 45 minutes. And use it, always, when you go shopping.

Say NO to plastic bags.

This one is for my little bean-bag-and-tee-pee person's mother for her birthday. My fabric is from Ikea, nice strong cotton duck style fabric, 150cm (59") wide and 60cm (23½")  in length.

So, let's begin.

If using Ikea width fabric, cut two 7.5cm (3") straps and one 20cm (8") pocket from the fabric, as shown in my little graphic.

***Ikea fabric is wider than most fabrics. If you are using standard width fabric, around 120cm (45") wide, you will need 80cm (31½") in length. You will need the full width of the fabric for the tote body, so you will need to cut your pieces like this ...

Turn .5cm (¼ ") around the edge of the pocket and around all edges of both straps.

Fold straps in half.

Fold 2.5 cm (1") at top of pocket.

Topstitch around edges of straps and across the pocket flap.

With right sides together, join short sides of tote bag body with a .5cm (¼") seam, then overlock. I chose to use triple stitch so that my tote bag was strong.

Press this seam to one side and topstitch, for strength, on the right side.

Turn over the top of the tote bag .5cm (¼"), then 4cm (1½") and topstitch.

With right sides together, position this seam 8cm (3¼") in from the edge.

Join the base of tote bag with .5cm (1¼") seam and overlock. Again, I used triple stitch here for strength.

Iron this base seam to one side and topstitch on the right side. This is a little bit tricky, but you don't have to get right up to each end with the topstitching. Again, I'm doing this topstitching for strength.

Using the wrong side of the tote bag, flatten the base so that both ends form a triangle.

Using a tape measure ensure that your seam stitching is centred.

I want the sides of my tote bag to be 16cm (6½") wide, so my seam stitching is centred at 8cm (3¼"). The line formed by the tape measure is the stitching line for the base of the side of the tote bag.

I mark this line with an invisible pen, but a pencil would do just as well.

Stitch along this line. I triple stitched again. And overlock the outside edge.

Do this at both ends of the base.

Turn the tote bag right side out.

Iron the edges of the side panel, trying to keep everything as straight as possible. Then topstitch the edges of the side panels and the base. This gives the tote bag greater definition and more stability.

It's time to position the pocket on the inside of the bag and stitch it in place. I chose to centre mine at the back of the bag.

Now for the handles. I positioned mine 9cm (3½") in from each side and the same distance down from the top of the tote bag.

Stitch the handles securely in place. I did a little "X" at the top of mine to try to make them extra secure.

And the tote bag is complete!! In not a lot of time.

Ready for my neighbour's birthday.

Ready to be filled up with shopping. Lots of shopping.

Are you ready to join the anti-plastic-bags revolution?

Are you ready to make a tote bag for you?
Or your neighbour?
Or both??

Catch up again soon.


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