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SPRING Tote Bag – Supplies and Tips!

Happy Tuesday Loves!

After watching a few YouTube videos, and doing a little research on bag making, I am happy to share some tips learned as well as the materials and resources needed to create your own wooden  or acrylic handle tote bag.  I have been wanting to learn a little bit more about bag making and since I am home for a few weeks, I decided to take advantage of the time.  When I saw a great deal (50% off)  on mybluprint, I quickly signed up as I knew I would get my money’s worth.  My daughter loves to cook and bake and I know she will truly enjoy watching videos and baking over Spring Break.  I decided to start my bag making adventure and was able to finish up 2 courses and is working on my 3rd.  

The courses that I completed on mybluprint are:  – Learn to Sew Simple Bags – Nicole Vasbinder  – Building Better Bags: Interface and Structure – I am half way through Essential techniques for better bags with Lisa Lam and plan to finish this course up before making tote bag #3.

Supplies NEEDED ARE: Exterior Fabric: quilt weight cotton, denim, selected home decor, linen cotton blend, ankara wax cotton, oil cloth (water resistant bag) Interior/Lining fabric – cotton Denim needle Bag handle:  (Pacific Trimming or Joann Fabric (Handle used here) Circle diameter must be at least 6 inches or more.  Rectangular handle at least 5 to 6 inches no more than 7) Interface – heavy weight (fusible or sew in) Fusible fleece or  home decor interface Pins/wonder clips Marking tool Cutting tool (rotary cutter or scissors) Quilter ruler,  regular ruler seam gauge Curve ruler – flushed handle  Cotton thread (HEAVY DUTY)

Fabric and Hardware Selection:

Select a non-stretch woven fabric that has one direction print. For example, a fabric with animals going in all direction (up, down, sideways) may not look good on the bag. Select a fabric that can press well and is not affected by heat.  Select a cotton lining fabric that compliments or highlights your main fabric.  Solid is always safe when working with a print. Select the right hardware based on your personal taste and style. An oversize handle may not work with a small size bag.


INTERFACE that I used for both bags purchased at Joann

Choose the interface based on the structure you are looking for with your bag. If you want a tote bag with a great structure, a lightweight interface will not work. Ensure that stressed areas such as snaps and handles are reinforced with the interface. Test your fabric and interface first on a small scrap. Decide on the right color interface to use for your interface. If your fabric is dark, you may want to use black interfacing. If your fabric is light or white,  black interfacing may distort the color. For example, the white fabric may look gray if black interfacing is used. When working with the interface, start pressing apart at the center and work your way out. Use a pressing cloth if need be. PRESS, PRESS, PRESS, it hides your little imperfections. Trim interfacing from seams to avoid bulky seams. (Cut interface without the seam allowance) Sewing your bag! Use high-quality thread with a denim needle for thicker fabric and wonder clips instead of pins. To avoid skip stitching, use a walking or adjust the tension on your machine.

My first BAG! Needed to add more support to the handle section of the bag!

Here are some great videos to watch in preparation to create your bag. HOW TO SEW A BASIC TOTE BAG Attach handle first to each piece of outer fabric. Press seams and add the interface after you sew your outer fabric.  Remember interface is 1/2 inch less than main fabric to reduce bulk in the seams.  You can either cut the 1/2 inch later or before. Make sure you leave a hole in your lining big enough for your handle!

My pocket on bag #2 is 9 inches wide by 7 inches long (INCLUDED SEAM ALLOWANCE).  Finished pocket measurement is 8 x 6 inches perfect for cell phones or keys.  Create any size you want based on your personal style. Attach pocket to lining first before sewing up your bag making sure your pocket is balanced by ensuring the distance from the left and right of the pocket is the same. The easiest way is to measure the distance across where the top of the pocket will be placed. Subtract the width of your pocket and then divide by 2 to find out the distance from the left to the right.

HOW TO ADD A ZIPPER POCKET I plan to try this method and will share any tips later in my next blog post.

I did not draft a paper pattern and directly drafted the measurements on the fabric. For a beginner, I would definitely recommend drafting each piece on paper first and cutting your fabric. Please feel free to send me any tips, suggestions or even questions that you may have. Be sure to check out my IGTV tutorial on Instagram to create and draft your pattern.  I will also share a step by step tutorial on how to draft your own bag pattern and lining with facing on Thursday.

Thank you so much for reading and don’t forget to check out my latest Fabricmart blogpost!

One Love, Marica


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