Several people have requested a tutorial based on my QUICKEST TOTE BAG post. I'm going to give you the basic bag tutorial today. Ready? Here it goes:
You will need four squares of fabric, two for the outside of the bag, and two for the lining. For this bag I am using quilting weight cottons and they are 12" square.
You will also need 30 inches of webbing for the handles and coordinating thread for topstitching your bag.Cut 2 15 inch pieces of webbing. These will be your straps.
Take one of the straps and lay it on top of one piece of lining fabric placing the ends equidistantly ( I put mine 3 inches in from the sides) as shown below. Leave about 1/2 inch of strap sticking out the top. Make sure the strap is not twisted.
Lay one piece of outer fabric on top, right sides facing, sandwiching the strap in between. Pin the straps in place and add a few more pins across the top for security. Do the same thing with the other 2 pieces of fabric and strap.
Now they should look like this.
You have 2 halves of your bag, already! Now you have to sew them together. Place them together, right sides facing, lining to lining and outer fabric to outer fabric with the straps tucked safely inside.
Line up and pin your pin the seams first, finger pressing your seam allowances in opposite directions to reduce bulk.
Pin a bit around all four sides of your rectangle.
Starting at the bottom of the lining, sew around the bag using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
Leave a hole in the bottom of the lining fabric.
If you like you can use pinking shears to trim a bit of excess fabric off the edges, but it's really not necessary as these edges will be inside and the 1/2 in seam allowance doesn't create much bulk.
Now turn your bag right side out.
Fold under the fabric edges at your turning hole and press.
Now sew along the bottom, making sure to catch those folded edges.
Now stuff your lining down into the bag and press all around the top. I find this easier to do if I use a sleeve board.
To keep the lining from slipping up above the bag, you should topstitch it all around the top edge using a 5/8 inch seam allowance. This is a great place to use a decorative stitch if you have some on your machine.
Just be aware that some decorative stitches have a hard time going over bumps so watch it on your seams and on the places where you are sewing over the straps.
I'm sure I shouldn't, but if mine gets stuck, I give the fabric just the tiniest tug to get it out of the rut. See the splotch in the stitching below...yeah, that's where it was stuck.
And you're done! A handy little tote bag in about 30 minutes.
Next time I'll show you some fun variations. Please let me know if anything in this tutorial is unclear- I'm still learning how best to explain things!