This is my favorite project that I have made so far! It just went together well, plus I love the fabric. It is a tote bag from Skip to my Lou.
I followed the tutorial pretty much to a T, except I decided to use interfacing to make the bag a little sturdier. I chose Pellon 911FF Fusible Featherweight. It has a decent stiffness which allows the bag to stand up on it’s own. I fused the interfacing onto the lining because I wasn’t sure if the stiffer interfacing would cause a harsh look to the fabric. It did not, so you could fuse to the outer fabric.
First was making the straps…it was your basic fold down the middle, then open, and fold into the middle type of strap (detailed pictures in the tutorial for the bag). I did not add interfacing to the straps but probably will when I make another one of these. Here is a tutorial to add interfacing.
As I have mentioned before, in order to get a straighter stitch that is so close to the edge, I use my blind stitch foot. I’m sure there is a foot specific for doing this but why pay the extra money when I can just use what I have? I first mentioned this in my post about the Simple Party Clutch.
After you make a strap, you then cut it in half so that you have two straps. I can’t decide if it would be easier to cut the long piece of fabric in half and make each strap separately. I guess then you would have two smaller pieces of fabric to work with, so it depends on what you are comfortable doing.
The bag part was super easy…to sum it up…you just sew the pieces together on three sides for the lining and the outer fabric. Since I used a directional fabric for the outer fabric, I had to double and triple check to make sure I was leaving the correct side open. I didn’t want birds flying upside down! Also, since the bag is a rectangle and not a square, make sure that you are using the short side as the top and bottom for both the lining and the outside.
When boxing the corners, I find it easiest to pinch the corners and sew instead of cutting out squares. I still clip the corners off before turning just so there is less bulk on the inside. Here is a great tutorial for boxed corners.
Fitting the two pieces together can sometimes be difficult, not too much for this project though, but with patience you can get it. I find it easiest to pin the seams first and then go from there. I guess I consider the seams the most important thing to match up perfectly.
When inserting the straps, I always make sure that it is not twisted and I measure from both side seams so that the strap is equal distance from the edges. Again, this is something that I make sure to check multiple times because I am tired of making these little mistakes that can be prevented.
I used two pins on each end of the straps and then pins where ever else I felt they were needed. Once pinned, sew everything together. I didn’t find a need to sew over the straps multiple times because there will also be a top stitch. Plus, I am probably not going to be using this bag for anything too heavy.
Turn right side out and see how well you did, and how well your fabric looks together. Get excited that you almost have a completed tote bag!
Push the lining into the outer piece and iron the top seam so that the lining isn’t higher than the outer fabric. Top stitch near the top of the bag and you are done except for….
giving your little helper a hug.