Sunday, November 16, 2008

Holiday Sewing:Tote Bags

What a week it's been! I'm glad to get back to the calm in my sewing room. This week I've been working on tote bags as gifts. These are easy to make and very practical, since many people and businesses are trying to get away from plastic grocery bags.
I found this great tutorial on called Two-Hour Tote Bag by my friend Ann from Gorgeous Fabrics.
Here is my first one. It is made out of some embroidered denim that has been aging nicely in the stash for several years and fell out on my feet while I was looking for the green toile canvas that I know I have somewhere. The denim said,"What about ME?" And I agreed. When the fabric begs like that I'm a pushover. I still haven't found that toile! (That's how you know you have enough fabric - when your fabric can hide from you) I put a little quilt square in the pocket for contrast so you could see it.

These are super easy to make and don't take much fabric. From the tutorial it says
you will need:
• 1/2 yard of denim or canvas (60 inches wide) plus equal amount for lining if you want
• 2 7/8 yards of 1-inch-wide nylon or cotton webbing
• Thread to match
• Sewing machine
• Iron
(BeSewStylish is a fun website too, check it out when you have a few minutes)
While I was cutting out a second bag, I had the idea to line the bag and make a contrast pocket, so I cut some lining pieces the same size as the bag pieces basted on the pocket, sewed the lining pieces to the bag outsides, right sides together, keeping the bottom open, and basted the contrast pocket on. This finishes the sides and top. Then I press and zigzag finish the bottoms. My contrast pocket was 11"x22" because I cut it on the fold so the top would be the finished edge. Here is the pocket basted to one bag side, and ready for the strap to be sewn on
Then I attached the straps per Ann's tutorial, and finished the bag. Not bad for an experiment! The Variety store near our house had lots of colored strap webbing, so along with the red, I bought bright yellow, olive and blue. These are fun to make and a nice break from making my top for our neighborhood Christmas Party. They make a fast and fun gift, especially if you add a couple treats inside. (and since all I had to buy was the webbing they were almost free, right?)
The strap bottoms really do match on both bags but they are folding in in the picture - honest! (not that it matters for a tote bag, but I have my OCD side)
Now back to that Christmas top.
Happy sewing!

1 comment:

Gorgeous Things said...

Fabulous! I love the contrast on this!!