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tote bag project


I saw some great green apple fabric at Stonemountain and Daughter recently, and it reminded me so much of a certain family member that I decided I had to make her a tote bag from it. It’s a perfect match with the Monaluna dots from Mingle, so I used the green dots for the straps and the brown for the lining. I’ve made a couple versions of this bag now, and its pretty quick and easy – I thought I’d share the instructions with you. By the way, does anyone recognize the apple fabric? I forgot to check the maker, and there’s no designer on the selvedge.

Tote Bag Project
You will need about 2/3 yard of two fabrics – one for the bag and one for the lining – as well as enough fabric for the straps (or some heavy duty cotton webbing), matching thread and pins. If you use fabric for the straps, I also use thin cotton batting to pad, and you’ll need 2 2″ x 22″ strips. This is optional.

1. Cut the following:
for bag:
2 @ 14″ x 15″ (front and back)
2 @ 6″ x 15″ (sides)
1 @ 6″ x 14″ (bottom)
1 @ 7″ x 9″ (outer pocket)

for lining:
2 @ 14″ x 15″ (front and back)
2 @ 6″ x 15″ (sides)
1 @ 6″ x 14″ (bottom)
1 @ 12″ x 12″ (inner pocket)

for fabric straps:
2 @ 5″ x 22″
2 @ 2″ x 22″ (batting)

OR for cotton webbing straps
2 @ 22″ (look for a 2″ – 2.5″ width)

2. Using an iron, fold under 1/2″ on top, sides and bottom of pocket. Fold over another 1″ at top of pocket and sew close to fold. Center the pocket on the front piece of the bag and pin at desired height. Sew close to edge on sides and bottom only.

2. Next, prepare the inner pocket. Using the 12″ x 12″ lining piece, fold in half and iron, making a 6″ x 12″ rectangle. Using a marking pencil or chalk, make a mark at the top and bottom of pocket 7.5″ from left edge (you will sew a dividing seam here when the pocket is mounted). Then, sew 2 darts at the bottom of the pocket (the raw edged side), 1″ and 3″ from the right edge. This creates a puckered pocket for a cellphone. Using the iron, fold under 1/2 inch on the side and bottom of the pocket. Pin the pocket at your desired height, centered on one of the 14″ x 15″ lining pieces, making sure that the left pocket lies flat, and the cellphone pocket is slightly puckered. Sew close to the edge on the sides and bottom of the pocket. Sew the dividing seam, now 7″ from the left edge.

3. With a 1/2″ seam and with right sides facing, sew the front and back, sides and bottom of the bag together. Then, do the same with the lining. Turn lining inside out.

4. Prepare the straps. If you are using cotton webbing, just cut 2 lengths, 22″ long. If you are using fabric and batting, cut 2 strips of the fabric, 5″ x 22″. Cut 2 lenths of the batting, (scant) 2″ x 22″. Using an iron, fold over 1/2″ on each long edge of the strap fabric.

Then fold in half, matching up folded edges, and iron. Open fabric back up and tuck the 2″ strip of batting under one of the seam folds. It should fit nicely between the folded edge and the center fold. Fold the fabric back in half, matching up the folded edges, and sew close to edge. Then, sew another seam close to the center fold (opposite edge). For good measure and decoration, I also sewed a seam down the middle of the strap. Pin the straps to the top outside edge of the bag at desired (but equal) width.

5. Put the sewn bag, right side out, inside the sewn lining, right side in, and pin at top edge, matching seams. Be sure the straps are hanging straight down and away from the top edge except where pinned. Right sides of fabric should be facing. Sew 1/2″ from top edge, leaving a 3-4″ gap for turning. I go over the straps twice for strength.

6. Turn both bag and lining through the gap. Once all is turned through, it should look like this:

7. Tuck the lining inside the bag and iron. Pay close attention to the top edge and be sure that the lining is tucked just below the outer bag.

8. Hand stitch gap closed using a whipstitch.

9. Make a finishing seam a scant 1/2 inch from the top edge of the bag to keep lining in place.




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Monaluna Design

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