- One yard each of fabric for the main body of bag, and lining.
- 1/2 yard of contrasting fabric for accent band at top of bag
- Thread, sewing machine, iron, scissors, tape measure, etc..
- Diet Coke and kids napping if applicable is also very helpful but not necessary
- Place outer fabric and liner together and fold in half, and using tape measure, cut bag out leaving the bottom folded (like a rectangle when opened up) in a 18″ by 18″ square.
- At the bottom of the square that is folded, cut out two 3″ by 3″ squares on the side of the fabric that is folded. This will be the bottom of your bag. See pictures 2 and 3.
- Match lining and fabric up so the bag is basically inside-out and run a seam along the right and left sides of the square, like in picture 3.
- Once the side seams are in place, and bag is still inside-out flatten out the bag in the opposite direction so the squares that were cut out are flat, and the seam that was just sewn is in the middle of flattened seam across the bottom. This will form the bottom of the bag, and the three seams will look like a capital “T” on each side when done. See pictures 4 and 5.
- Fold the top down like in picture #5 above twice, about 1/2 inch each fold, and press.
- For your straps you will need to cut two long strips about 6″ wide and about 36″ long each. Fold each outer long edge in a press well.
- Run a seam around the top of the bag and set aside while you work on the straps and contrast band.
- Fold pressed straps that have cooled in half lengthwise and press again. Run a long seam down each strap along the open pressed side and your straps are done and ready to be formed.
- On the end of each strap, fold the corners in like in picture 9, and then fold up one more time to make a neat square end of the strap, pin and press.
- Cut a rectangular piece of contrast fabric for the band about 30″ long, and 12″ wide. Just like the strap, fold it right side out and lengthwise, fold each long edge in about 1/2″ and press.
- I am going to skip for a moment to picture 12 because I did two things at one time. Compare the length of the band when folded in half to the top of the bag. Make one pinch pleat in front and one in back, pinning them in place.
- Decide which side will be the “front” of your bag and center the band attaching it on top of the bag, pinning as you go and wrapping it around to over lap in back (which we will sew down to stabilize in a moment.)
- Picture 13 and 14 show the process of now stitching around the section of the bag where the bottom part of the band, and the top part of the pinned bag meet. Begin on the side (back) where the band would overlap, carefully sewing and removing pins as you go, attaching the band to the bag and stitching pinch pleats down at the same time. Once you have gone all the way around, a short seam sealing the remainder of the band where it overlapped complete the bag, only the straps need to be attached at this point.
- In picture 11 and 14 above, space the straps out enough to make the tote bag comfortable and strong when using it. Pin the end of each strap so about 1/4″ of the contrast fabric is peeking out below the base of the strap. Stitch a square about 2 12″ by 2 1/2″ where the straps connect, checking your work to make sure they are even, tiee and trim loose threads and you have a fabulous new bag!
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