This attractive, yet functional, tote features storage inside and out. Creative options abound—use your imagination and your favorite embellishing skills to make your one-of-a-kind tote. Two pocket options are shown: machine embroidered and piece quilted.
Skill: 1 Time: 2 Cost: 2
Finished size: 12 1/2" x 19" not including straps.
You will need:
FOR EITHER TOTE
• 3/4 yd. Fabric A cotton print (tote base)
• 1/2 yd. Fabric B cotton print (pocket panel)
• 1/3 yd. Fabric C cotton print (straps)
• 1 yd. lightweight fleece batting
• Matching thread
• Optional: Temporary spray adhesive
• Pins, scissors, sewing machine, yardstick
EMBROIDERED POCKET ONLY
• Embroidery sewing machine
• Specialty thread: yellow, 4 shades of turquoise & green
QUILTED POCKET ONLY
• Three coordinating fabric scraps
• For embroidered pocket, download embroidery pattern here.
• Sew 5/8" seam allowances.
• To save time, use 3/4 yd. of pre-quilted fabric for the base of the tote rather than quilt your own fabric.
• Instructions are given for gold/brown tote. Variations for turquoise tote are given as options.
STEP 1: Cut batting. Cut one 3/4 yd. piece and one 1/4 yd. piece. Set aside for pocket panel.
STEP 2: Quilt fabric for tote base. Cut one 3/4 yd. piece of batting. Lay the wrong side of Fabric A on batting. Pin together every 6" or use a temporary spray adhesive to hold fabric and batting together. “Channel quilt” by marking diagonal lines 1 1/2" apart and then stitching the diagonal rows. Option: Stitch around designs in fabric, if applicable as shown on turquoise bag. Cut two 20" x 26" rectangles from the quilted fabric. Fold each rectangle base in half, to measure 13" x 20". Set aside.
STEP 3: Prepare pocket. Cut an 18" x 20" rectangle from Fabric B. Fold the pocket rectangle in half, wrong sides together, to measure 9" x 20". Press fold to mark it. Unfold pocket.
STEP 4: Machine embroider pocket. Download embroidery design from our website or use a design of your choice. Position embroidery designs on right side and on the lower half of the pocket (below fold), and 1 1/2" up from bottom edge. Allow space for two 1 1/4" wide straps that will be sewn 5 1/2" in from each side. Embroider, following embroidery instructions for your machine.
STEP 5: Quilt pocket option. The turquoise tote shown features simple strip quilting with prairie points inserted into the seams and trimmed to measure 6 3/4" x 10". Option: Use your favorite patchwork design or a left over quilt block. Turn under 1/2" at top edge of patchwork section. Press fold. Place patchwork piece on center of pocket, with folded edge at press mark on pocket panel. Topstitch in place close to edges.
STEP 6: Sew pocket. Cut one 9" x 20" piece of batting. Lay batting on wrong side and upper half of pocket, matching the 20" edges. Stitch inside edge of batting to wrong side of pocket panel (Figure 2). Fold pocket in half, wrong sides together. Pin pocket to bottom of one tote base piece. Baste along sides and bottom edges.
STEP 7: Sew straps. Cut two 5" x 44" strips of Fabric C. Fold each strip in half, wrong sides together. Press to mark along folds. Open strips. Fold lengthwise edges to meet at center mark. Press folds. Fold the strips in half again. Press folds.
STEP 8: Attach straps. Pin strap on tote front with cut ends of strap even with bottom of tote, placing the outer edge of each strap 5 1/2" in from each side of tote. Note: If you sewed a patchwork section, make sure the raw edges are covered with the straps. Keep strap edges parallel with tote side edges. Topstitch 1/4" in from long strap edges through all layers in one continuous stitching. To reinforce straps, stitch across the width of straps at top of tote. Attach other strap to back of tote in same way, matching the placement to front straps. Make sure straps match alignment at bottom seam of tote.
STEP 9: Finish. Sew tote front to back, right sides together, along sides and bottom. Option: Zigzag or serge both seams to prevent raveling. To miter each lower corner, turn tote inside out. Fold the lower edge so the side seam is stacked on top of lower seam, forming a triangle. Stitch perpendicular to the seam 1" from the point, reinforcing stitching at each end. Turn tote right side out.