I don’t know about you, but I always love to check out the fabric stores and thrift shops of any city or town I happen to be visiting. Despite being surrounded by fabric every day – both at the store and at home – I always like to see what other stores have to offer. Two of my fabric searching passions are conversational cotton prints for fashion and crafting projects (I have churned out 6 variations of New Look 6407 in various quilting cotton prints and now I’m on a surgical cap kick for my sister the doctor and my dog’s vet) and slightly heavier fabric like printed canvas for tote bags.
Tote bags are great for both personal use and as gifts. Here in Victoria, all of the grocery stores are trying to encourage everyone to bring their own bag. I just don’t like the non-plastic bags they have available to purchase!
Here are the instructions for the tote bag that I make (or have made something like 50!) in a vintage fabric I found at a thrift store. I like the 60cm length of straps because I then have the option of carrying the bag or slinging it onto my shoulder.
2 pieces of fabric measuring 50cm x 50cm square (for the bag)
2 pieces of fabric measuring 8cm x 60cm OR 2 pieces of 1″ webbing 60cm long (handles)
2 pieces of fusible interfacing measuring 8cm x 60cm long (if you use the fabric for the handles)
- With right sides together, sew the 2 square pieces along 3 edges – 2 sides and the bottom. (I like to use my serger as it sews and finishes the seams all at once)
- Pinch the bottom corners and stitch across 6cm from the corner.
- Press down 4cm hem along the top of the bag.
- Divide the front side and back side of the bag into thirds for your handle positions.
- For the handles, fuse the interfacing to both 8cm x 60cm pieces of fabric. (If you are using webbing, skip to step 8)
- With right sides together, sew along the long sides of the straps.
- Turn both handles inside out and press. Top stitch along the long edges if you wish.
- Tuck your finished handles under the top hem at your predetermined spots. Make sure your handles are not twisted! As you stitch, tuck under the raw edge of the hem.
- Flip the handles up and stitch in place. I like to stitch a fancy “X” for extra strength.
- Flip bag right side out and admire!