Following on for my Mahalo Girls excitement, I got to work on my (measly) half metre of Alexander Henry Wranglers print. This cut was always destined to be a tote bag as a full garment in this in Glasgow probably wouldn't go down well. But now I'm beginning to think maybe I should have just done it?! Anyway back to my tote. When I was sitting cutting it out, I thought, 'Oh, this could make a good blog tutorial' so I snapped some pictures as I went along. So for anyone who wants a super simple project, this is for youuuu!
First of, you need to choose some amazing fabric for this project. No plain calico allowed! Just kidding, go for calico if that's your thing. A tote bag is one project where you can afford to use an 'out-there' print and totally get away with it which is why I suggest something extra special!
0.5m fabric (doesn't matter the width)
Matching thread (I used contrasting so it would show)
You'll need to cut two rectangles that are roughly 30cm x 45cm for the main panels and two long panels about 7cm wide by the length you would like the straps.
Fold your two strap rectangles in half matching the raw edges and sew the raw edges together using a 1cm seam allowance. Turn these through and press along the fold to make the tube flat. Tuck the raw ends of the tubes inside themselves and press in place. Pop these aside for later.
Take your other two rectangles and keep them wrong sides together - wait, why wrong sides together? I'm gonna show y'all how to do french seams. In a tote bag you don't want raw edges in case the contents of the bag affect these. I was tempted just to overlock them but this could still catch so I went for french seams.
So, on we go. Sew the two sides and bottom together, wrong sides together using a narrow seam allowance of no more than 0.5cm.
Turn the bag inside out so right sides are now together. Sew these same seams again using a 1cm seam allowance, totally encasing those raw edges. Simple as that.
Turn the bag back through and press into shape giving crisp corners. At the top open edges, fold a 1cm hem over and stitch this in place.
Turn another hem over, this time about 2.5cm and press this in place. Now grab those straps you popped aside earlier. Place the folded edges in line with the stitched top hem about 7.5cm in from each side seam creating an arch shape strap. Do this on both sides of the top opening. Pin these in place, open the pressed hem out and secure these in place with a line of stitches.
Fold the hem back over and stitch this in place, catching the straps again, further securing them and that's you done!
See simple as that and you even managed to fit in a french seam technique! French seams come in really useful when trying more complicated projects so getting practice in easier projects is always a good thing!
Once you've all sewn up you tote bags, I'm expecting to see lots of links below...happy sewing!!