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Lined Tote Tutorial: I love Totes & I thought I’d share this one with you. Does anyone have enough of these totes? here are the dimensions (and the directions).
If you’re like me and prefer to print out the tutorials you use, download the free 3-page PDF version here [you’ll need a Craftsy account, but that’s also free with an email]. Otherwise, read on for step-by-step directions how to sew a fully lined, canvas Tote Bag with an outer pocket and a reinforced bottom, including full cutting dimensions so there’s no guesswork!
- Indoor/Outdoor Fabric for Outer Shell, ½ yard
- Duck-Cloth (Heavy Canvas) for Bottom Panel and Handles, ½ yard
- Coordinating Fabric for LiningThe indoor/outdoor fabric plus the duck-cloth can get thick, so a lighter-weight option like quilting cotton is a good choice here.
- Coordinating thread and heavy-duty needle
This pattern has become my go-to gift.
The dimensions listed here will create a final Tote Bag 8 ½″ wide x 11 ½″ tall x 4″ deep. You can easily change these dimensions to fit your need; keep in mind that the seam-allowance varies in places.
Outer Shell: 14″ x 15 ½″; cut 2
Pocket: 5 ¾″ x 6 ½″; cut 1
Bottom Panels: 14″ x 6 ¾″; cut 2 [Edited 5/21/14 to the correct measurements.]
Handles: 3″ x 46″; cut 2
Lining: 14″ x 15 ½″; cut 2
Pocket: 5 ¾″ x 6 ½″; cut 1
PREPARE HANDLES AND POCKET
1. Prepare each Handle by folding it in half, wrong sides together and press. Open it up and press each outside edge to the center line. Fold fabric in half again and press. The final width of the Handle will be ¾″ with the raw edges enclosed in the fold. Edge-stitch down each side. Set aside.
2. Prepare the Outer Pocket by placing Shell fabric and Lining fabric right sides together. Sew just the top seam with a ¼″ seam-allowance. Turn right sides out and press.
Steps 1 & 2: Prepare the Handles and the Front Pocket
ATTACH POCKET AND HANDLES
3. Align the prepared Outer Pocket on the center of the Front Outer Shell with the top, sewn edge of the Pocket down 3 ¼″ from the top raw edge of the Outer Shell. Sew the sides of the pocket in place with a scant ¼″ seam-allowance. [Edited 6/8/14 to include missing directions.]
4. Place one prepared Handle on the Front Outer Shell, centered 5″ apart, aligning the raw ends with the raw bottom edge of the Shell. Be careful not to twist the Handle where it extends over the top of the Shell. The Handle will overlap the side edges of the Outer Pocket. Pin in place. Mark lines on the Handle 1 ½″ from the raw top edge of the Shell, and again 1 ¼″ down from the first lines. Sew the Handle to the Front Outer Shell one side at a time; stop stitching on your marked line, 1 ½″ from the top. Begin at the bottom edge, stitch over previous top-stitching on the Handle, and create X patterns as pictured using your marked lines as guides.
Steps 4 & 5: Attach the Handle and mark the stitch locations.
5. Repeat Step 4 to attach the second Handle to the Back Outer Shell.
Steps 4 & 5: You should sew this from the front of the bag, but here’s a view of the stitch pattern from the wrong side of the Back Outer Shell–easier to see than on the dark front.
ATTACH BOTTOM PANELS
6. With right sides together and with one Bottom Panel oriented seemingly upside down (the bottom edge lying towards the top raw edge of one Outer Shell), align the top raw edge of the Bottom Panel 6 ¼″ from the bottom raw edge of the Outer Shell. Sew along top edge of the Bottom Panel with a ¼″ seam allowance. On the Front Shell this will overlap the Pocket, closing the bottom edge. Flip the Bottom Panel into place. Press. Top-stitch along edge. [Edited 6/8/14 to the correct measurements.]
Steps 6 &7: Sew, flip & press, then top-stitch the Bottom Panels in place.
7. Repeat Step 6 with the second Bottom Panel and Outer Shell.
CONSTRUCT OUTER SHELL & LINING
8. With right sides together, place the Front Outer Shell and the Back Outer Shell together being sure to align the Handles and the tops of the Bottom Panels. Sew along the side seams and the bottom seam using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Reinforce the bottom seam by sewing it a second time. Press seams open.
9. Pinch one bottom corner together so that the side seam and the bottom seam touch. Mark up 2″ from the corner point and draw a 4″-wide line perpendicular to the seams. Stitch on the line. Stitch again to reinforce the seam. Trim the seam allowance to 1/2″. Repeat on the second bottom corner. Set aside.
Step 9: Pinch, mark, sew, and trim to create the bottom corner.
10. Repeat Steps 8 & 9 with the Lining Fabric.
JOIN OUTER SHELL & LINING
11. Pin the Handles down onto the Outer Shell so they are out of the way. With the Outer Shell right side out, and the Lining right side in, place the Outer Shell into the Lining so that right sides are together and the top, raw edges align. Pin in place matching the side seams and avoiding the Handles. Sew together with a 1″ seam-allowance, but leave a 4–5″ opening for turning.
Step 11: Join the Lining and the Outer Shell. | Helpful Tip: When leaving an opening, I use two pins to indicate where I plan to start and stop stitching so that I don’t accidentally keep going round.
12. Reach into the opening and turn the bag right side out. Position the Lining in place and press.
13. Edge-stitch the top-seam, closing the opening for turning as you do so. Then top-stitch a generous ¼″ down from the edge-stitching.
Step 13: Top-stitch the top edge, avoiding the Handles so they fall open easily.
Because the Handles wrap to the bottom this is a tough tote that can withstand a lot of weight. It also maintains its structure nicely (and can take a lot of abuse) thanks to the indoor/outdoor fabric and duck-cloth. There are so many fabulous fabric options in the décor fabrics department. And remember it doesn’t require a lot of fabric, so don’t forget to also check the remnant bin at your local fabric store.
This is a quick sew, but if you want to go even faster skip the Pocket and the Lining. I would suggest adding an inch to the top and creating a 1″ rolled hem (fold over 1″, fold over 1″ again, then top-stitch); be sure to adjust all measurements made from the top raw edge of the Outer Shell by adding 1″ as you measure down. I would also suggest using bias tape, or your preferred method, to finish the seams. My preschool-age daughter carries (or should I say, drags) an unlined version of this tote to school daily and it’s holding up well.
If you use this tutorial, I’d love to see and hear about your results. Come share your projects on The Inspired Wren Share page.
The fabric combinations are endless.
This little Keychain Gift Card Wallet is designed so that you can give it with a gift card for the holidays, and then the receiver can use it to store their ID or their debit card or whatever business-card-sized item they need close at hand, right on their keychain. Pretty cool, huh? Oh, and this project uses up all those little fabric scraps you have lying around, too!
You’ll need two pieces of cotton quilting fabric, roughly 5″ X 8″, the same amount of lightweight fusible interfacing, a tiny 1 1/2″ X 1 3/4″ scrap of fabric for the tab, a snap and a keyring. Start by downloading and printing the pattern: Keychain Gift Card Wallet Pattern. Be sure to print it actual size and check that the 2 1/2″ box measures 2 1/2″.
Cut one pattern piece each from inner fabric, outer fabric and interfacing. (If you want an image on the flap like mine, be sure to cut your outer fabric so that the bottom of your image is facing the top curve and that it’s located in the top 2″ of the pattern piece.)
Form the loop by folding the loop piece in half the short way, matching up the long edges with the wrong sides together. Press well along the fold. Unfold, then fold each long raw edge into the center matching them up with the center crease. Press. Re-fold along the center crease, hiding the raw edges of the long sides inside. Press well. Pin along the long open edge. Topstitch 1/8″ from the open side. Here’s a drawing to show this clearly:
Apply the stud side of your snap to the flap. Center it just above the topstitching. Peek under the flap with the stud touching the pocket and mark the position of the socket side of the snap. Apply the socket side of the snap to the front of the pocket.
About once in a blue moon, someone will give me just a giant amount of blue jeans, like an entire Rubbermaid bin’s worth.
Now, I craft with old denim pretty often, but I can’t store a giant Rubbermaid bin full of blue jeans until the next quilt inspiration hits!
The thing is, though, that there are a lot of uses for old blue jeans, but rarely for every single part of the jean. If you know what you like to make (quilts for me, purses and skirts for you, perhaps?), then you’ll find that you can make your old blue jean storage much more neat and efficient, as well as space saving, by cutting the jeans up very carefully, just so, and storing them in their parts.
Here’s how to get the most out of your jeans stash, AND get that giant bin out of your craft room!
Back pockets. EVERYONE wants those beautiful back pockets! If it’s just the back pockets that you want, go ahead and cut them off the jeans and store them separately. Either get out your gridded cutting mat and clear plastic ruler and neatly cut them out with a border that you’ll find useful, or, if it’s literally just the pockets that you need, grab and seam ripper and simply take them off.
That’s actually how this particular stash of blue jeans that I just finished breaking down came to me–with all the back pockets taken off with a seam ripper. I often craft with the back pockets, as well, but as I plan to overdye and then piece a couch cover using this particular stash of denim, having the extra fabric without the bulky appliqued pockets attached is really helpful.
Zipper. Choose the right pair of jeans, and you’ll also get for yourself an incredibly sturdy zipper of any length between two-ish and six-ish inches. Use the seam ripper again to get at the zipper; you’ll find that it’s sewn down really well, but it’s just stitches, and stitches can come out:
Store the zippers with the rest of your sewing notions.
Fabric. The best fabric swathes in blue jeans comes in the pants legs, and may or may not include the knee. The most efficient way to cut out each pants leg into a fabric section is this:
Cut up the entire inseam, from the bottom hem of one pants leg, up to the crotch, and down again to the bottom hem of the other pants leg.
Do this again on the other side of the inseam to cut out that bulky seam entirely.
Cut up the center front seam and center back seam and through the waistband to separate the pants legs.
Cut the bottom hem off of each pants leg.
For each pants leg, start cutting just inside one center seam, cut up to the lowest torso seam, cut across to the outer seam, cut down until you’re lower than the spot where the front pocket is sewn into that seam, and cut up and over to the center seam on the other side. I don’t have a use for front pockets or belt loops or waistbands; do you?
If the outer seam is too bulky to sew through later, cut it out as well. I decide this on a case-by-case basis.
Examine the fabric that you have left. Cut away any worn spots, stains, or rips:
Fold the remaining denim fabric neatly and store it, noting any particularly special pieces, such as those with interesting embroidery or patch pockets.
That sums up all the parts of the jeans that I can use! I no longer look like a hoarder with a giant Rubbermaid bin full of ripped, old-fashioned blue jeans on my study floor. Instead, I have a small stack of pockets, a bunch of zippers in my notions bin, and a couple of large (but still smaller than a bin!) stacks of folded denim waiting to be overdyed black.
Did I leave out any parts of the jeans that YOU sew with? If so, how do you store them?
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