Sew up an oversize tote for your trip to the beach, the park or storage around your home. This step-by-step tutorial by Jane Skoch shows you how to make a tote that stores 8 towels.
- 1 1/2 yard of 44" wide fabric or 3/4 yard of 54" wide fabric
- 2 yards of webbing for the handle
- a cutting mat is shown here, but is not necessary for the project. Simply use rulers or measuring tape.
- In this example, I am using a 44" wide fabric. Because this bag is extra deep, I folded the fabric so that the selvedges lined up. (With a 54" wide fabric, a standard fold is fine.)
- Cut the fabric at 27" wide.
- Fold fabric right sides together.
- Stitch along sides of bag using a 1/2" seam allowance. On the selvedge side, the seam allowance is larger to make sure the white selvedge does not show on the right side. No further finishing is necessary on the selvedge seam. On the other seams, you can serge, stitch and then zig-zag or pink the edges, whichever finishing methods you prefer.
- Take a stitched corner and pull apart the sides so that a triangle is formed and the side seam is in the center.
- Even out the triangle and use a ruler to find the point where it is 9" across. Draw a line at this point.
- Stitch along the line. Cut off the triangle and finish the seam. This creates a boxed bottom for the bag.
- Repeat step 6 and 7 for the other corner. Press all seams.
- Fold 3" of the top edge of the bag to the inside and press.
- Fold the raw edge under 1/2", press and pin.
- Stitch the top hem close to the folded edge and go completely around the circle of the bag.
- Lay the bag open with seams to side. Mark a line 8" from the seam edge on both sides.
- Fold the strap under 1" and place to the left side of the marked line (or to the right of the marked line on the right side).
The fold of the strap should be two inches below the top.
Secure with pins.
- This part is the most difficult in the entire process. Below you see the finished stitching from the outside of the bag. I stitch it from the inside. Starting with a backstitch to lock the stitches, I sew around the rectangle. Then I stitch one diagonal line, stitch across the bottom and stitch the second diagonal line. You can stitch it in any manner you wish. The main idea here is to reinforce the handles.
- Enjoy your bag for picnics, trips to the beach, stashing sweatshirts in your car, ....