Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday Tutorial: Large Tote

Before I start I have a question for all of you. Tutorials like this where there's over 20 pictures and a long list of instructions take a very long time to edit and put together. I'm tempted to sell these more involved tutorials (for about $5 each) in my shop. This will just help cover my time to edit and put things together. How do you guys feel about that idea? Is it something you would pay for or is it tacky to you? I would still have shorter, easy, free tutorials posted here for all to see. I'd love to know your thoughts.

That being asked - I decided not to just jump right in and charge you guys for this one so consider it a freebie. If no one is interested in purchasing tutorials, maybe I just won't have involved ones here on my blog due to time constraints. Enough of that - on to the tutorial!

I started with 3 sets of fabric (2 of each size/pattern). Cut 2 lining in 14 by 16 inches. Cut two outside pieces of 14 by 11 inches and two pieces 14 by 6 inches.

1. Create pockets for the inside in the size that will work for your phone, ipod, planner, etc (mine are two different sizes). Make sure to add about an inch to the length that you want your pocket to be to account for seams. Press one long edge over about 1/2 inch. Stitch a 1/2" straight seam. Repeat with second pocket (if applicable).
2. Press the other three sides of your pocket in about 1/2". Start with the two short sides then press the bottom.
3. Clip the corners leaving a nice edge for sewing.
4. Sew one pocket on each lining piece by sewing the three sides (onto the right side of fabric if you're using a patterned lining). Be sure to sew some dividers for your items by sewing a couple of straight lines through the pocket and lining. I forgot to do this until I sewed the lining together and it was very hard to then fix the pockets.

5. Layer the fabric as follows: a) small outer fabric, face down b) lining, pocket face up c) lining #2, pocket down d) small outer fabric, face up.
6. Very carefully fold all 4 in half.
7. Using a plate or other circle as a guide, mark the fabric on the side opposite the fold. Use something that is the same size that you want your curve to be at the bottom. If you want a crisp corner, don't cut.
8. Very carefully cut all of the layers of fabric along the curve.

9. Place your lining pieces with pockets facing each other. Sew a 1/2" straight seam starting at the top and going about an inch past the curve. Repeat on the other side. You'll want to leave about a 4" opening so that you can turn your tote right side out.
10. Place the small outer piece on top of the larger outer piece with right sides together. Sew a 1/2" straight seam.
11. Press open the seam. Repeat steps 10 & 11 for the second set.
12. Place both exterior pieces right sides together and sew along the three sides, leaving the top open. Turn it right side out.

13. Place the outside fabric inside the lining.
14. Push the outside fabric all of the way inside the lining, matching up the seams and the openings. Pin well, especially the seams to help keep them open for the next step.
15. Sew all of the way around the top of the bag, remembering to back stitch.
16. Put your hand inside the hole of the lining and turn your bag right side out.

17. Sew the hole of the lining closed. You can hand stitch this to make it look clean (I would have used pink thread) but it's the inside of my bag so I didn't really care. I just did a seam very close to the edge.
18. Push the lining back into the bag and press.
19. Sew a seam about 1/4" from the edge.
20. Repeat very close to the edge to make a clean look.

21. Cut two handles. Mine were 30" each.
22. Finish off the ends of the handle by doing a zigzag stitch back and forth along each short edge.
23. Measure where you want your handles to go. Mine were 3 inches from the side and a little over 2 inches from the top. Pin in place.
24. Sew a rectangle around the 4 edges of the strap. Repeat with the remaining three straps.

Finished! A cute lined tote in less than 2 hours.


  1. Simple yet a very pretty bag

    In answer to you question yes i wouldnt mind buying your tutorials as long as you allow home seamstresses to sell the finished items giving you credit for the design of course!


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