Such an easy DIY craft that will not only fill some time during lock down but be super handy for all those unexpected trips to the supermarket, kids back to school supplies, uni text books or in fact anything!
I don't know how many times I have been caught out at the supermarket, 'just getting a few things' only to end up with more than I can carry! I'm making a tote to keep in every hand bag and car boot so I can always be prepared!
Super quick, super easy, follow along with my sewing steps below,
What you will need:
Fabric, 100 x 65cm roughly
Sewing Machine + Thread
Iron + Board
Cut out your fabric to your desired size*.
I have cut the body of my tote bag in one long strip (100 x 37cm), this means I can fold it in half length ways and eliminate sewing a seam at the bottom of my bag. However, if you are using fabric scraps or remnants feel free to add a seam at the base if it is more economical on your fabric.
Cut two strips for your tote bag handles, these will be folded in half width ways and sewn so make sure you cut them double your desired finished width. Mine are 3cm wide finished so I cut my strips 8cm wide (6cm + 1cm seam allowance each side)
Cut your straps as long or short as you wish. I have two straps, both roughly 75cm long.
*My finished tote size is approximately 45cm long by 35cm wide but you can make yours any shape or size. Remember, to make it fit for purpose, if you plan on carrying books make sure it is plenty big enough for them to fit inside.
With fabric facing right sides together, fold the tote bag body in half lengthwise and pin side seams ready for sewing.
Do the same with each strap, folding and pinning right sides together width-ways. Leave your ends open so you can turn your strap in the right way.
Sew single seam on each strap and both side seams on your tote bag body.
Turn both straps in the right way, I attach a safety pin to slide and pull the strap back on itself.
Make a gusset for the base of your bag, this will help you fit more in your tote but is totally optional.
To do this, open your tote bag, fold and lay it flat with your side seams matching in the centre. At the bottom corners, measure and pin across the corner to make a triangle. My gusset is 8cm in total, 4cm each side of the seam.
Measure, pin and sew your gusset the same size on both bottom corners.
The wider you pin the wider the base gusset will be, but remember the bigger you make it the shorter you tote will end up.
Hem the top of your tote bag. I double roll the top edge so that the raw edge is caught inside the hem for a tidy finish. Iron the top of the tote inwards to your desired width. I have done a double row of stitching in a contrast thread but you can design your finished look however you like.
Attach your straps. Measure, pin and sew your straps on each side of your tote bag. Make sure you attach them at the same place on each side and check they are even in length before sewing.
I have just secured my straps by lining my stitching up with the top hem of my tote. Remember to pin and attach the straps from the inside.
Give it a final once over with the iron and you are all set and good to go!
I have made this one in some left over denim, this makes a nice sturdy bag but any heavyweight linen or cotton would be just as ideal. Experiment with the size and shape, length of your straps or add pockets. Personalise your tote with a cute hand embroidery or stencil a design on with fabric paint.
Have fun getting creative!