Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tote Bag

I decided to try my hand at sewing, so I started with an easy tote bag project. Materials are two matching 14x16 inch pieces of fabric, and two 22 1/2 inch pieces of 1 inch webbing for the handles. You can improvise on the handles, and sizes. These are just the measurements I used. I found the pattern at http://www.purlbee.com/. I started by cutting a half yard of fabric into two 14x16 pieces.
Next I cut two pieces of webbing into 22 1/2 inch pieces.
The first sewing step is to sew each piece of webbing to each piece of fabric on the right side, as below, about 3 inches from each end. I did this after taking about 45 minutes to figure out how to thread the bobbin and the needle, etc. This is the first sewing project I have ever done on my own, and only about the 3rd total. I used a zig-zag stitch (please pardon my sewing terminology, I really have no idea what to call some of this stuff).
The next step is to sew across the top with the zig zag stitch. I used the same brown thread throughout the whole project because I didn't want to mess with the bobbin again (I only have one that I know of), but depending on your fabric and tastes you may want to use contrasting/matching thread in certain places.
Next, fold the edge over, like this and pin. Sew the fold down with a seam across the top. Then add another seam about 1/8 inch from the first stitch.
The bag is now hemmed. Put the two pieces of fabric, right sides, together. Pin along the sides and bottoms. Do NOT pin the top, this will obviously be the opening of the bag.
Use what I call a "regular" stitch to stitch the two pieces of fabric together, along the sides and bottom.
Then use a zig zag stitch again, close to the raw edges for reinforcement.
Turn it inside-out, and you're done...
and looking cute.
Other ideas are to make them bigger or smaller depending on your needs, using kid's fabric, using a plain fabric and adding a patch, or iron-on design, use old jeans, or t-shirts instead of fabric, eyelet pattern with ribbon for the handles. I do recommend using the pattern here. It has better pictures and clearer descriptions.

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