A gal can never have too many bags, at least that was my rationale for making this latest tote. Totes come in all shapes and sizes, patterns and colors, and of course price tags. Since the price tags are usually uncomfortably out of my price range, I choose to make my own after scrounging around in the $2 bin at the fabric store.
My first bag-sewing attempt was a diaper bag from Make Baby Stuff.com. You can find the original tutorial here. This tutorial is extremely easy to follow, even if you are a beginner.
After my first successful diaper bag, I began to draw my own patterns in order to make different shaped purses and totes with a variety of pocket combinations. The instructions in the link can be used for pretty much any type of bag combination you can think up.
The rosettes I attached with hot glue. These are very simple to make. Cut a strip of fabric about 2 in. wide and 10 in. long. The actual size doesn’t really matter, the wider you cut the fabric the fatter your twist will be. The longer you cut the fabric, the more times you will be able to wrap it around itself.
Once the strip is cut, simply hold one end still while twisting at the other. With the fabric completely twisted, place it on a flat surface and start to wrap it around itself. Have sewing pins ready to hold the flower in place while you continue to wrap. Am I confusing you yet?
I’ll try to make a better rosette tutorial with pictures at a later date. Basically, once you have wrapped all of the twisted fabric around itself (so it looks like a rose), pin it, hot glue it onto another piece of fabric, cut around the edges and glue to your tote!
Here are the measurements I used minus the lining. The diaper bag tutorial gives more details with images if you need them.
4-15X21 (green, 2 for each side to reinforce)
2-5X21 strips (pattern for straps)
1-8×23 strip (green for bottom)
2-3×11 strips (purely decorative straps on the front pocket)
I didn’t have enough of the two colors of fabric to make a lining for this bag (yes, I suppose I could have used another color). Here is the order of my sewing:
1. fold over the top edge of pocket lining (the 21 in. side) and sew a 1/2 in. hem
2. align pocket with the 2-15X21 pieces of fabric (I use 2 to reinforce the walls, making them more sturdy)
3. pin the vanity strips of fabric over the pocket and sew each side down (that’s 4 lines of stitching through four pieces of fabric)
4. pin this front piece to the two remaining 15X21 pieces (right sides facing in)
5. sew up the 15 in. sides making sure to catch all pieces of fabric in the stitch
6. pin the bottom piece to the bottom edges and sew (this one’s tricky, check out the tutorial)
7. flip the tote right side out, fold over the top edges 1/2 in. and stitch
8. fold strap fabric (5X21) in half (hotdog style) with wrong side facing out, sew along the long edge, turn right side out
9. pin straps 5 in. from each side and sew in place