DIY: Easy Tote Bag

I own quite a lot of tote bags already but I use them for everything – particularly storing craft materials.  This is a great little project that’s quick, will result in a really useful and beautiful bag and will help you practice some basics in construction (read fiddly sewing!).

The fabric was a DIY in its own right as I actually designed the pattern myself.  I doodled away to my hearts content on photoshop touch to create a simple repeating pattern as an image file.  I then  used Zazzle to have the fabric printed. So easy!! Zazzle have a range of fabric options to choose from including linen, cotton and polyester and you can order by the yard.  They also have a great little feature on the site that shows how your fabric will look in different sizes – really useful when it comes to adjusting the pattern size.

A few tips for making your own patterns:
Simplicity! If like me you’re not a graphic designer or illustrator then start simple. Choose simple shapes or lines
Repetition. If you create your own patterns it’s likely that they will need to be ’tiled’ which basically means repeating your designed image to fill the space of the fabric. This means that you need to make sure the pattern works when laid next to itself (ie lines matching up, that the design looks smooth and even)
Take your time.  Enjoy the process, experiment, edit, take breaks and then reapproach your design with a fresh eye.

I ordered my design in a combed cotton. Once it arrived I was ready to sew…

Step 1
Measure and cut two matching rectangles of fabric (mine are 14 x 16 inches), plus two long thin rectangles for handles (3 x 22 inches)
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Step 2
To create your handles fold the long rectangles in half and press. Now fold the raw edges inwards so they’re hidden and pin in place. Sew along each long side in straight stitch on the machine.
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Step 3
Pin your handles to the right side of the fabric rectangles 3 inches from the outer edge. The handles should be hanging downwards.  Sew a zigzag stitch along the whole edge including the handles, ensuring they remain straight.
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Step 4
Fold the fabric over where the handles join – this will correct the handles to point the right way and create a seam. With another zigzag stitch sew across the top of each side, including the handles.
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Step 5
Tind to sew your bag up.  Lie the two halves on top of each other, right s7des of the fabric facing in, and sew the whole way round the three sides. Use pinking shears to trim the excess and cut off the lower corners. Now turn your bag round the right way and press!
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*This is a sponsored post working with zazzle.  All thoughts, designs and opinions my own and as always if I didn’t blooming love it i wouldn’t blog about it.

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