Monday, February 1, 2010

Nothing-to-it Tote

This matching tote and crayon roll make a great gift with crayons and a few coloring books.  I made this set for a benefit for the local kindergarten.  This one is just the right size for coloring books, but you can make it any size you want.  (Tutorial for the crayon roll is on my to-do list.)


First, let's figure out how large to cut your fabric... decide how high, wide and deep you want your finished bag to be.  I used two styles of fabric... I'll call them fabric A (orange) and fabric B (burgundy).


If you just want to make yours the same size as mine... perfect for standard coloring books or magazines, then just skip past all the math and see my fabric dimensions.  If you'd like to make yours custom-sized... here's the fun algebra:

Let's say:
x = desired height of bag  (mine is 12")
y = desired width of bag  (mine is 9")
z = desired depth of bag  (mine is 2")
µ = desired height of the bag base  (mine is 3")

Fabric A:
cut two:  { x - µ + 1 } by { y + z + 1 }
cut two:  5" by 22"  (for the strap... adjust as desired)

Fabric B:
cut one:  { z + 2 µ + 1 } by { y + z + 1 }
cut one:  { 2 x + z + 1 } by { y + z + 1 }

Interfacing (preferably fusible):
cut one:  { 2 x + z + 1 } by { y + z + 1 }

So since I want my bag to be 12" x 9" x 2" with a 3" base, I will cut the following:
Fabric A: cut two 10" x 12", and cut two 5" x 22"
Fabric B: cut one 9" x 12", and cut one 27" x 12"
Interfacing: cut one 27" x 12"

Leaving a 1/2" seam allowance, sew the three smaller pieces together, like so...

Grab your iron and fuse the interfacing to the back side of this piece.


Now fold in half, right sides together, being careful to match seams.  Sew along the sides, leaving a 1/2" seam allowance.  Repeat with the liner fabric, leaving a hole unsewn on one side to turn the tote right-side out later.

Flatten the bottom corner as shown, and mark about { z ÷ 2 } from the corner... for me it was about 1" from the corner, making the length of my mark (and therefore the depth of my bag) 2".

Now sew along that mark and trim.  Repeat for the other corner, as well as the two bottom corners of the lining.


Now set all that aside and let's prepare the straps.  Fold the strap pieces lengthwise in half and press.  


Then fold the raw ends into the center fold and press.

Now topstitch on both sides.  If you set your needle to the rightmost position, it is easy to stitch close to the edge.


On the wrong side of the tote, mark where you would like to have your straps (measure from the seam... I placed mine 3" from the side seam).  Then, with the bag still inside-out, pin the straps in place inside the bag.

Turn your lining fabric right-side out.

Now place it inside the bag and pin in place.  The right sides of the fabric will be facing each other with the straps in between.  Sew around the top of the bag, backstitching over each strap to reinforce.

Turn the bag right-side out through the hole you left, and stitch up the hole by hand.  Then stuff the lining into the bag and press.

Top stitch around the top edge of the bag and you're done!!

If you make a tote using this tutorial, please send me a picture!!  My e-mail is { angie at andrisangie dot com }.  Then go out and enjoy your new bag!!