Sewing Away: May

If you have a mom like mine, then she likes bags. Correction: she LOVES bags (and always seems to have a different one to throw her odds & ends in.) So, I decided to whip up a summer tote for many purposes for my Mom this Mother’s Day.

I ran across a stack of medium weight upholstery fabric a month ago and immediately thought of my Mom. This fabric’s body created the perfect template for a tote bag. Ta daaa…

Want to make your own? Here are the easy, breezy steps:

1) Measure a piece of fabric to the size you want your bag to be. I used a standard beach tote to make my overall measurement and cut a single piece of fabric out, 24 in. long & 16 in. wide.

2) Fold your fabric (right sides together) in half with the fold at the bottom. Press with an iron & pin in place.

3) Make the base of the tote flat by cutting out a 1 inch square at the bottom left and right sides (Remember- the base is the end with the fold.)

4) Sew up the sides of your tote, stopping along the straight edges.

5) Pull open the base fabric and sew the ends of your “square” together creating a flat bottom. {Steps 3-5 are known as “boxing the bottom” – read this!}

6) Make the handles: cut out two strips of fabric or two strips of grosgrain ribbon. I used a contrasting fabric in navy and made my handles. Measure them to the length you feel is comfortable for your style of tote. I used strips that were 16 in. long.

7) Set the top edge: fold the top raw edge under twice, press, and pin. Then pin your handles into place, tucking the ends under the top hem. *Note: double measure your handles in distance from the edges and center to make sure they are centered properly. As a standard, most handles are 5-6 inches a part.

8) Sew the top edge: straight stitch across the handles pinned in place, reinforcing a few times for stability. Then pull the handles up and re-pin to their final position. Finally, top stitch along the entire edge using a stitch pattern of your choice.

9) Turn your bag right side out & enjoy!!!

This project took me no longer than an hour and is something that anyone can create as a gift or as a new item for yourself. I can’t wait to make myself a larger one for carrying groceries! 

XO… Kimi

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