Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dream Tote!

I have a lot of stuff. Too much stuff. Especially in my closet. A year or so I had a revelation concerning all this stuff. A lot of it I rarely wear or use, but when I try to get rid of these things I can't. Why? Because they still serve a purpose or fill a hole. You need to fill that hole with one beautiful, well-made item so that you can get rid of a host of sub-par items that have been serving that purpose together.

For example, my tote bag situation. Sometimes you need a tote bag. For me, most often it's the days I don't work from home. In addition to the small items I usually stuff in a little handbag, I usually want to bring a lunch, a bottle of water, perhaps my knitting or reading, perhaps supplies for a class I'm teaching. So for this I have been relying on 3 dirty, ugly, ancient, a-little-too-small tote bags. None good enough to stand on its own.

So I made myself a damn beautiful tote bag. With all the bells and whistles.

You may recognize the fabric from last weeks apron DIY...

I just like it so much! And there's still plenty left. Who knows what else I'll use it for!?

A note about the Cut List: If your self fabric is directional, like mine, you'll want to cut two 16" x 19" pieces instead of one 16" x 38".

Left: Lining with Pocket; Right: Self with Pocket and Strap

The first step is to assemble all the bells and whistles. Sew on all your pockets and straps before we complicate things by sewing them together and making them not flat anymore.

You may also note that I matched my fabric for that front pocket. Because I love that kind of stuff. It's all in the details, my friends!

1. This is where you should be: front and back assembled with straps and pocket.
2. Topstitch bottom reinforcement pieces to the precise center of the body, and the bottom of the side pieces. The easiest way to do this is to press your raw edges in before sewing.
3. Sew your sides in. Be careful around those tricky corners! Repeat this step with your lining, but leaving a hole somewhere to flip your bag right-side-out through.
4. To attach lining: Place your right-side-out, fully assembled bag inside your inside-out lining and sew the top edges together.
5. Pull your bag through the hole you left in the lining and close up the hole with a topstitch. Push your lining its proper place inside your bag. Press and topstitch the top edge of your bag.

Beautiful, isn't it?

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