Sunday, November 20, 2011

Best Friend Tote (a tutorial)

I'd say it's been a long time since I did a tutorial. So here is a great one for the holiday season. This tute is called the "Best Friend Tote" because it is just that - a very nice tote you can make for your best friend in just a couple of hours. It will utilize her (or his!) favorite colors and a bit of linen to make just the best bag ever.

1/2 yard of linen (if you buy 54" linen, you will get exactly two bags out of it!)
1/2 yard lining fabric
scraps that will equal up to a 3 1/2 x 15" strip, in your best friend's favorite colors (what?! you don't know your BFF's fave colors? Go find out.)
37" of 20" wide interfacing, lightweight
1/4 inch seams unless otherwise noted

Okay, now do the fun part first! Piece together those fun pretty wonderfully colorful scraps together... press your seams outward... and then trim it up so that it measures 3.5" x 15"... Fun. Admire it. Set it aside.

And go ahead and cut all your other materials. You'll need:
For the main body of the bag:
3 x 15" linen
24 x 15" linen
3 1/2 x 15" scrap piece (yay you, you just did that!)
For the strap:
3 x 27" linen
2 3/4 x 27" lining fabric (just slightly less wide than the linen strip)
For the lining
30 x 15" fabric that coordinates with your scraps
30 x 15" for the body of the bag

Cutting note: If you buy 1/2 yard of 54" linen, cut it along the fold line. You should now have 2 pieces that are 18" x 27"... Cut 3" off the long side - that will be your strap piece. Then cut 3" off the remaining short side - that will be the "top" of your bag above your scrap piece. No waste!

Okay. Got all your pieces? Good. Now onto the strap...

Take the 3 x 27" linen and lining strips, and iron them down the middle. Then iron each side into the middle - just like making bias tape, but you'll end up opening the center and ironing it flat. You've just ironed the two edges toward the center of the strip:

Put the two folded sides together (aka - put the wrong sides together), and topstitch along each side to form the strap. Use a nice contrasting thread to make it look special! And look at that, no need for turning it right side out - it already is! Note that I use a walking foot to do this step - it keeps all the layers together without buckling and twisting the material, and no need for pinning this way.

Now we'll assemble the outside of the bag.
Take the scrap strip that you've pieced and trimmed... sew on the 3 x 15" piece, and then the 27 x 15" piece... press your seams toward the linen... and then topstitch on the linen side:

Iron on the interfacing, fold in half, wrong sides together, and iron across the bottom:

Now fold in right sides together, and sew up each side. This will give you a basic tote shape. With the bag still inside out, we'll box the bottom by pinching the corners - push the side seam so that it rests along the bottom ironed center fold, and sew a line 1.5" in from the corner:

Trim the corners you just sewed, flip the thing right side out, press the side seams, and you should have this:

The lining part is easy - just take your 30 x 15" piece of lining fabric, fold in half, press the bottom fold, sew up the sides, box and sew the corners - all just like the outside shell! You should now have an inner lining piece that looks exactly like the bag above, except it is in lining fabric.

Assemble your bag:
Place the outer bag (right side out) inside the lining (which is wrong side out). You're essentially putting the bags together right sides facing. Tuck the strap inbetween the outer and the lining, taking care to put the linen side of the strap toward the linen outer, and the lining side of the strap toward the lining: (don't twist the strap!)

Pin along the top edge, placing each end of the strap centered on either side of the bag, the strap should be inbetween the linen and the lining layers:
looking from here, bag lining, lining side of strap, linen side of strap, linen bag...

back side of pinning

pinned top edge - ignore the hardware and pocket sticking out of this pic. i added them to my bag but not to this tute!

Sew all the way around the top edge with a 1/2" seam. All the way around! Good job.

Now? Go get your seam ripper and rip a 2-3" section of one of the side seams, near the bottom of the bag, so that you can flip the whole assembly inside out. Like this:
yup. your bag is being birthed through that hole.

it should look like this once you've flipped it all the way through that little seam ripped hole

Once you've confirmed that everything is where it should be, sew the seam-ripped hole closed from the right side, with a very small seam allowance:

Push the lining into the outer linen bag, and press along the top seam:

Topstitch along the top of the bag:

And you're done! Go give that nifty bag to your bff - they'll love it!

** Please use this tutorial for personal use only, gifting to friends and family, etc. Please give credit back to me (Junebug!) when showing off the bag/tute online. Thanks for respecting my work :) **

Linking up to Pink Chalk, Sew Modern Monday, Inspire me Monday, Just Something I whipped up, Made by you Monday, Take a Look Tuesday, Handmade Tuesdays, Sew Cute Tuesday, Tute in Tuesday, and Fabric Tuesday...


Carla said...

Simple and pretty tote! I think I can make one for my BFF and myself. So we can be matchy :o) thanks for the tutorial!

Rebecca said...

Great tute! Love the strip of patchwork!

Rachel said...

Can't wait to get my bag :)

Anonymous said...

this didnt wok for me. i had to do it my own way. your wording was not to goood so i could not understand.

Karin Redman said...

Thank you for your amazing tutorial! I've just made four of these for my son to give away as teachers' gifts. I love the way the straps turned out! I am going to make loads more. Thank you :-)

Catrina MacDonald said...

Thank you for the tutorial on this bag. I used it as a template for the dimensions and modified it slightly to suit my own style. I love how it turned out.

Catrina MacDonald said...

I've pinned your bag here:
and you can see my version here:

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