Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Tote for a Teenager

I've finally finished the shopping tote for my daughter. We bought the fabric weeks ago but its taken awhile to actually sew it. The teenager chose her own fabric and designed the bag herself and enlisted me to do the sewing. Its simple but practical with nice comfortable handles. She is happy with it and will even be seen in public with it. That's her highest approval rating - OK to be seen in public.

It is washable, takes around an hour to make and is much more environmentally friendly than plastic bags. The sewing is simple, its all just straight lines.

The Teenager Tote
These instructions are for the tote I made my niece. Its red, her favourite colour. The lining is made from some cute frog print fabric I had.

What you will need
  • Cotton fabric with a bit of body (not too thin and light) for the main part of the bag (approx 40cm x 80cm)
  • Cotton fabric for the lining (can be thinner than the main fabric) (approx 40cm x 80cm)
  • Cotton drill or similar for the handles (approx 70cm x 30cm)
  • Cotton thread in matching colour
Cutting the fabric
The pieces cut out. The main body colour is red.

Fold the fabric for the body of the tote (right sides together) and cut a rectangle 38cm x 37cm with the base of the rectangle (37cm) sitting on the fold.

Repeat for the lining.

Cut two strips for the band at the top from the drill. 37cm x 7cm

Cut two handles for the bag. 70cm x 12cm
Adjust this length is you want longer or shorter handles.

Sewing it all together

Pin the sides together (keeping fabric right sides together) and sew down both sides of the rectangle of the main fabric.

Repeat for the lining but leave a 10cm gap in the side stitching.

Fold the band in half lengthwise and iron flat. Fold the handles in half lengthwise and iron flat. Unfold the handles and fold each side in to the middle along the fold line and iron flat. Fold the handles in half and iron flat. Fold the ends of the handles to the inside to make a neat edge, iron flat.

The handles with both sides folded into the middle.
This is then folded in half to form the handle.

Top stitch each side of the handles (sew close to the edge). Sew across the ends of the handles to keep them neat.

The top stitching on the handle.

Join the band pieces right sides together on the short edges of the rectangle so you have a circular band.

Right sides together stitch one side of the band to the top of the main fabric making sure the side seams meet.

The top band stitched to the top of the bag.

I know it doesn't look it but you are nearly finished.

Right sides together stitch the lining to the other side of the band, making sure the side seams meet.

The lining with the band stitched to the top. The red fabric is on the inside at the moment.

It looks odd but you've now created the bag. Turn the bag inside out through the hole you left in the lining. You should now have a nice finished bag with the lining in the inside. Sew up the gap in the lining either by machine or by hand.

Iron the bag flat and top stitch around the top of the band. Attach the handles to the band on the inside. Attach them firmly and make sure they are even and not twisted.

The finished tote.
Congratulations you are finished!
I hope all that makes sense - please let me know if it doesn't. Its really simple to make - if I can do it, anyone can.

Sit down, have a cup of tea and dream of more things you could create.


SimplyForties said...

Thanks for these good instructions. You can never have too many totes!

RecycleCindy said...

I love your simple but cute tote bag. The tutorial is very good and a great addition to the MIFS carnival. I always enjoy seeing other crafter's creations. Thanks for sharing.

Condo Blues said...

I like the banding. It finishes the bag nicely.

Abi said...

Neat Thanks for sharing in the carnival.