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Super Cute Tote Bag

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If you're ready to try a new skill, there is nothing better than finding a few easy sewing projects. This Super Cute Tote Bag can be used to store any essentials for nearly any occasion. Be sure to take this bag on your next adventure because it's just the right size for traveling. This simple sewing project will warm up your fingers and get you used to the feeling of sewing and the satisfaction that comes with it. This Super Cute Tote Bag was pretty much made just for you.

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Super Cute Tote Bag
This image courtesy of roonieranching.blogspot.com

Primary Technique: Sewing

Sewn by: Either Hand or Machine

Intermediate

Materials:

  • Main fabric, cut to 17” x 16” (if using directional fabric, 17” side is the height)
  • Coordinating fabric, cut to 17” x 16”
  • 45” of cording (parachute cord, twill tape, etc.)
  • One drawstring stopper
  • Two 1/4” grommets (aka "eyelets") and proper installation tools
  • Two scraps of fusible interfacing, such as Pellon 911FF Fusible Featherweight, cut into about 1” or 1.5” squares
  • Coordinating thread
  • Optional Materials Needed – for adding an appliqué
    • Lightweight fusible web, such as Pellon 805 Wonder-Under or Therm-o-web HeatNBond Lite
    • Small scrap of coordinating fabric

Instructions:

Adding the appliqué (skip this step if you want to)

  1. There are bunches of different ways to add an appliqué shape to a project, but here is one method that might possibly horrify a better-trained seamstress.  First, print out the shape you want, making sure it is small enough that it will fit on one half of the finished bag.


     
  2. Lay the fusible web ROUGH SIDE UP over the shape and trace it with permanent marker.  Why permanent marker?  Because it doesn’t smear!  Don’t use pencil or a light-colored marker because you won’t be able to see the outline from the smooth side of the fusible web once you have ironed it to the coordinating fabric scrap.
     
  3. Cut out a circle around the shape, just slightly larger than the outline.


     
  4. Iron the fusible web on to the wrong side of the coordinating material scrap.
     
  5. Cut along the outline of the shape with some sharp little scissors.


     
  6. Iron it on to either the lower right or lower left corner of the main fabric of the bag, approximately 3” from the bottom and 3” from the edge.
     
  7. **Do not do a lock stitch at the beginning or end of the appliqué stitching.**  Using a tight zigzag, sew around the edge of the appliqué.  Make the outer edge of the zigzag fall just off the edge of the shape.
     
  8. When you reach the beginning of the stitching, cut the threads from the machine.  Then use a needle to poke the top threads through to the back, and then tie them all together in a double-knot before clipping them close to the knot.
     

Inserting the grommets

  1. Align your fabric so the height is 17" the width is 16".  On the right side of the fabric, draw a dot 4 1/2" from the top and 3 1/2" from the right edge.  Make another dot 4 1/2" from the top and 3 1/2" from the left edge.  Transfer both marks through to the wrong side as well.


     
  2. Take the two squares of fusible interfacing and center one over each dot with the gluey side down.  Press the interfacing into place.
     
  3. Install your grommets according to the package directions.


     
  4. Make a small mark three inches down on the right edge of the front panel of the bag.


     
  5. Pin the main fabric and the coordinating fabric together with wrong sides facing.
     
  6. Starting at the 3" mark on the right edge sew with a 1/4” seam allowance down one side, across the bottom, and all the way up the other side.  (Do not sew the top closed!).
     
  7. Then press the 3” unsewn parts over 1/8" with wrong sides facing.
     
  8. Sew down each of these pressed bits from the top down to the funky twisted part (or as close as you can get).
     
  9. Now cut off all these straggly strings, or else they will poke through in a few steps.
     
  10. Trim off the bottom corners and turn the bag wrong side out.  Poke the corners out and press everything nice and flat.
     
  11. Starting on the side with the normal seam, sew with a 1/2" seam allowance down that side, across the bottom, and up the funky side until you get to just above the twisted part.
     
  12. When you get to that spot, leave your needle down in the fabric, pivot 90 and sew outward until you reach the edge of the bag.  Do your lock stitch and finish off.
     

Making the casing for the drawstring and adding the finishing touches

  1. Press the top edge down (wrong sides together) 1/4" all the way around the bag.


     
  2. Then press the top edge down again, this time until the edge is just above the horizontal stitching at the end of your last seam (about 1 1/4").  With the bag still turned inside out, stitch close to the edge to form the bottom seam of the casing.  If your topstitching looks better when you sew from the front, by all means sew from the front (with the bag turned right side out) so long as you make sure to catch the edge of the bottom of the casing.
     
  3. Turn the bag right side out and poke the corners out as well as you can.


     
  4. Fold the sides of the bag together and mark the middle with a pencil (or chalk, or disappearing ink pen if you’re really fancy) from the very bottom up to the stitching line at the bottom of the drawstring casing.
     
  5. Sew on this line to create the division between the skeins in the bag.


     
  6. Make sure you sew UP TO the casing -- not through it!
     
  7. Using a safety pin, thread the drawstring through the casing.
     
  8. Put the ends through the drawstring stopper, and then tie them in a knot.
     
  9. Now stuff a couple of skeins in the bag, thread the yarn through the grommets, close the drawstring, and start crocheting!  Or knitting!  Or whatever you do with yarn!

 

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