Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tote tutorial

I have three solid reasons for needing a tote bag:
* My new Book Review blog requires frequent library trips, and a means to 'tote' all my literary finds,
* T-day is next week, and I wanted to do some sort of Tutorial (ABC Summer - more on that later)
* & I just HAD to have something Zebra print for when we went to the Zoo for Z-day!

So even though any spare minute spent in my unfinished basement dungeon of a sewing room has been to do my home sewing... I took a very NAUGHTY break (I am very very very behind on my sewing) to make ME a tote of MY very own!  Introducing the Zebra Tote!
awwww cute! 
and for the record, selfish sewing TRUMPS work sewing anyday :)
Yuck!  They are still waiting for me down there...

I scoured the internet for other tutorials and struggled finding something I liked.
But then, at the last place I looked, there it was!  
ginabean homemade and with her fabulous tote bag tutorial (haha I had typed it Tute bag!)
So I patterned my bag after hers with some additions of my own
(inner/outer pockets, & magnetic snap closure)
I started with a 20"x30" piece of main fabric
I used upholstery fabric at Hobby Lobby, It might be overkill but I didn't want to line everything with interfacing (interfacing and I do NOT get along)
It is folded in half in the above picture

Press it well making a visible crease down the middle, you will need to reference the center several times (and do it both directions - 'hotdog' and 'hamburger!')

I wanted outside pockets between my straps so without being too technical I just took what was leftover from the yard lengthwise, which since I had purchased a yard of fabric was roughly 6 inches. turned it against the grain, folded down the top an inch and stitched in place then centered it on my 'hotdog crease' 2 1/2" from the top(s)
I just did a quick stitch around the 3 remaining rough edges, nothing too fancy because the straps and bottom are going to cover it.
At this point necessity won out and I put 4 strips of interfacing to back where I was going to sew the straps down (ugggg- interfacing...)
I didn't mess with making my own straps I just bought strap by-the-yard and used 44" each side.
I wanted my straps 6" apart so it, but I measured in from the edge - turned out to be 5 3/4", with the bottom of the strap 10 1/2" from the top
Pin and sew as close to the edge as you can
Stop 1 1/2" from the top pivot and head back down
It's impossible to see the stitch marks on the front side so I took a picture from the back
You Are Welcome!
This picture alone may determine the outcome of your tote!  oh and check out my sweet cross reinforcement on the bottom - yeah baby!
When you are done goggling over your fancy foot work it's time to attach the bottom

I bought 1/3 of a yard of heavy duty canvass and used the whole 
1/3yd x 20"
Press down 1/4" on the long sides
also press a center 'hotdog' crease

Line up your 'hotdog' crease with your 'hamburger' crease (I am sure you are amazed at my level of accurate sewing termanology)
Pin and sew at 1/8" all the way around your bottom rectangle
Which is in the center of your fabric...
you're not lost right?!?!
Fold it in half, right sides together, like a 'hamburger' and sew your sides at 1/4"
cut lining fabric 20"x30", fold like a hamburger and sew down both sides 1/2", leaving a hole on one of the sides big enough for your hand to get through.
(you want your lining slightly smaller than your bag)
I wanted boxed corners you can do this by either cutting out a 2" square from the bottom of each side directions here or by making a triangle out of your bottom, measuring 3" from bottom on the seam and sewing straight across.
I had issues getting it perfect so I think next time I am going to try it by cutting out the squares.
Anyhoo, 4 corners later - time to cut (or serge) off the corners and flip!
At which point my camera DIED.
And since this was my selfish project I didn't wait for it to charge to finish up my bag - take that blog world!
So my pockets and snaps - the only thing I really did differently from Gina, will have to go undocumented *sniff*

Right sides together, stitch around the top.  Flip (through your handsized hole in you lining side-seam, and top stitch)
I'm really feeling bad now about no pictures
oh wait - I did take one cell phone pic (pre topstitch, post flip)
okay, Now you can topstitch!
 stitch the opening of your lining side seam closed (I still need to do that part - got a little excited to be done)

All done!
The lining was my moms idea, she suggested red though - which would have been just as adorable
and a little sneak peak of my inner pocket and snap

The crocheted rosette I learned to do here
super fun, my mom had to translate for me, she's great :)

I LOVE it!  
There are a couple of things I'd change if I made another one but it does have me super excited to make matchy zebra print backpacks for my girls!

Monday, July 12, 2010


Can I have it?

I really really want it! 

My lack of craft blogging is only evidence of my lack of crafting but I promise to change my slothful ways if I win!!!! And if not, I will just change the name of my blog to
It's got a ring to it!

More details on this particular giveaway...
I found it on V & Co. and that's where you can go as well to enter
The item of gifting itself is a quilting kit with pattern and 'pack' of skillfully coordinating fabric from the Fat Quarter Shop.  The above is my favorite pack but it is one of their conservative packages.  I daresay they have something for everyone!

And now back to the begging

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