Friday, February 17, 2012

A Sewing First for Me - A Tote Bag!

I did not use a pattern.  I made my own.  So when I say this was a first for me, it was a blind first.  =)

I found these great fabrics and decided to tackle a tote bag.  It is hard to tell in the pics but the polka dots are white, silver glitter and pink.  The Paris fabric has the Eiffel towers in both pink and silver glitter.  

1 yard outer shell fabric
1 yard lining fabric
1/2 yard accent fabric
Accent button
Accent ribbon
1 yard interfacing
Sewing Machine

How I Did It...
1.  I cut all my fabric:
Outer Shell Fabric (Black and White) -
2 - 15x20" for front and back
2 - 5x23" for straps
1 - 5x15' for bottom

Top Accent Fabric (Polka Dot) - 6x40" (or 2 - 6x20, sewed together, this works better when you only purchase a 1/2 yard of accent fabric)

Lining Fabric (Paris) -
2 - 18x19" for lining
1 - 1.5x6" & 1 - 6x6" for pocket #1
1 - 1.5x8" & 1 - 6x8" for pocket #2

2.  I cut the interfacing:
2 - 15x20" for outer shell
2  - 3x23" for straps
1 - 5x15 for bottom

3.  I ironed the interfacing to outer shell fabric:
a.  I used parchment paper to protect the ironing board.

b.  I laid down the interfacing (shiny side up, I did use double sided interface but either will work)

c.  I laid the outer shell fabric on top of each fabric and iron, following the directions that come with interfacing.  (Using the highest dry setting on the iron, iron for 5 seconds in all locations to form a nice bond between the fabric and interfacing.)

d.  For the straps, I placed the interfacing down on the ironing board and placed the fabric on top with the interfacing in the center of the fabric.  (Note that your interfacing is cut smaller than the fabric.)  I flipped it over once I was done and ironed the access fabric to the underside on the interfacing.  This worked well since I used double sided interfacing although, it is not necessary.

e.  Continuing with the straps, I folded the strap down the center (lengthwise) and ironed to make a crease in the strap.  

 4.  I sewed the straps and set aside:
I took the 2 straps and sewed a line down the edge approximately 1/4" from edge.  Having the double interfacing and the pre-creased fold down the middle, pinning was not necessary.

5.  I sewed together the outer shell:
a.  I placed the bottom, upside down on top of one of the outer shell pieces.  I made sure it was in the center so that when the access was folded over to make the sides, there would be plenty of fabric to stitch the two shell pieces together.  I stitched them together on the machine.

b.  I opened my two newly joined pieces and flipped them over on top of the second outer shell piece.  I made sure to line it up as I did the first one and stitched that together as well.

c.  I, then, folded over my outer shells and pinned them to the bottom piece.  The picture shows the shells pinned to the bottom.  

d.  Once the shells were pinned to the bottom, I pinned the sides.

e.  I stitched the sides first and then the bottom.  Note from the picture below that I folded the access over from the sides and stitched that with the bottom.

f.  I turned my outer shell right side out.

g.  I folded the top 3 inches down into the bag and stitched around the bag.

6.  I added my accent fabric:
a.  I pinned and stitched the accent fabric, approximately 3 1/2 inched from the top (upside down).  I made sure to fold the fabric under and stitch where the fabric ends met on the side of the bag.

b.  I flipped the accent fabric upward (right side up) and stitched around the bag.  This left a nice, fresh line of stitching.

7.  I attached the straps:
a.  I folded the accent fabric back down and attached the straps with extra reinforcement, see picture.  I paid close attention to make sure both straps lined up across from each other and were separated approximately 4 inches.  I also made sure that the stitching on the straps pointed inward at the top on the strap and out to the sides of the bag where attached to the bag.

8.  I flipped the accent fabric back over and folded the top inward and pinned it around the outside of the bag.

9.  I attached the accent ribbon:
I pinned the ribbon in place and stitched at the top and bottom of the ribbon.  I made sure to fold under and stitch where the ends of the ribbon met on the side of the bag.

10.  I attached the accent button using needle and thread.  I used approximately 36 inches of thread, doubled (so it was approx. 18 inches).  I wanted to make sure the button would be nice and secure.  Nothing is worse than losing a button!  =)

11.  I made the inside pockets and attached them to the lining.  
a.  I took each zipper and it's corresponding 'small piece'.  I placed the zipper upside down on top of the lining fabric and stitched across, attaching the two.

b.  I opened up the newly attached pieces and stitched again, leaving a nice line of stitching.

c.  I took this piece and placed it upside down on the bottom (larger) piece and stitched the zipper side to it.  

d. I flipped it back over and stitched again for that nice 'look'.

Pocket #2
Pocket #1

e.  I folded the edges of my pockets under, approximately 1/4-1/2 inches and pinned them to the lining.  I pinned one on each lining panel, 4 inches down from the top and in the center width-wise.

f.  I stitched all around the pockets, securing them to the lining.

12.  I stitched the two lining panels together by placing each piece, good side facing each other and stitching each side and bottom.  The top must not be stitched.

13.  I inserted the lining inside the bag and folded the top two inches over so that the folded fabric was in
between the inside of the outer shell and the inside of the bag.  Please note picture below.  The outer shell is pinned and the lining is pinned.  

14.  I stitched around the bag attaching the accent fabric, the outer shell and the lining all together.  

Viola!  Wow, I'm soooo proud!  lol.

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