HOW TO SEW A TOTE BAG

This tote bag is a brilliant beginner's sewing project. Seeing as it’s reversible, you can mix it up to match your mood. And the nifty button fastening also doubles as a foldaway clasp.

You will need:

-FABRIC - for a portrait bag

Two pieces of fabric, each measuring: 76cm x 43cm

Medium to heavy fabric is best. Cotton, linen, denim. Nothing too shiny or embellished.

If you have patterned fabric, the top of your pattern should run along one of the long (76cm) edges

OR

-FABRIC - for a landscape bag

Two pieces of fabric, each measuring: 85cm x 38cm

If you have patterned fabric, the top of your pattern should run along one of the long (76cm) edges


-Cotton webbing tape x 1.5m

-Sewing Thread

-Button x 2

-Elastic or Hair bobble


-Fabric Scissors

-Tape Measure

-Pins

-Sewing Machine

-Iron & ironing board

-Fabric Pen or Tailor’s Chalk


1. Fold one of your fabric pieces in half, width-ways, right sides facing.

For a portrait bag your folded piece will measure 38cm across x 43cm down.

For a landscape bag your folded piece will measure 42.5cm across x 38cm down.


2. Pin the 2 layers together down the side and across the bottom.


3. Machine sew down the side and across the bottom, with a 1.5cm seam allowance. Repeat steps 1-3 for the other fabric piece. Make sure you reverse at the start and end.


4. Take one fabric bag and put your hand into one of the corners to open it out flat, with the seam down the middle. Pin flat. Measure 5cm down from the point of the triangle and draw a line across - perpendicular to the seam line.

5. Machine sew along the drawn line, reversing at the start and end. Repeat for the other corner, then both corners on the other fabric.


6. Trim off the pointy corners to a 1.5cm seam allowance.


7. Turn one of the bags right side out. Place the other bag (still inside out) inside this one, and match up the tops and side seam.


8. Fold the top edge of each bag over by 2cm towards the wrong side, to hide the raw edges. Ensure the tops and side seams line up. Pin together and press with your iron.


9. Take your cotton tape and cut in half, making 2 x 75cm lengths.


10. Take one piece of tape and poke one end in between the two bag pieces, 9cm in from the side seam - or further or less if you fancy! (You may need to remove a pin). Push the tape down so that 5cm is hidden between the fabric layers, then pin in position.


11. Take the other end of the same piece of tape, and repeat this process the same distance in from the other side edge, on the same side of the bag.


12. Repeat steps 10 & 11 with the other piece of tape, on the other side of the bag.


13. Take the elastic hair bobble and fold it in half. Poke one of the folded ends in between the 2 layers, on one side of the bag - at the centre point - in between 2 handles. You need to just catch the folded end of the hair bobble here. Most of it needs to be on the outside.


14. Machine stitch all the way around the top of the bag through all the layers: This will sew the fabric together and keep the handles in place. Whenever you get to a handle, make a few extra reverse stitches to add some strength.


15. We're so nearly there! Now hold the bag closed and fold the looped elastic over to the other side, stretching it slightly. Make a small mark where it ends. This is where you will need to sew your button on, to hold your bag closed. If you're intending your bag to be reversible, you can sew 2 buttons on at once: One on each side of the bag!


16. Whenever you’re not using your bag, you can roll it up and keep it neatly stored by securing it shut with your elastic. Just fold the handles down into the bag, then fold the right and left-hand sides of the bag into the centre. Then roll the bag up from the bottom. Loop the elastic all the way around your bag to hold it closed.


I'd love to see your makes! Please share them if you can and remember to tag me And if you have any questions, please just ask: kate@makerykate.com


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