Wednesday, 20 June 2007

The first of many

Well here it is my first tutorial, phew! it turned out to be quite an epic, although this is the condensed version so please be gentle with me if you spot any mistakes ( i think more sewing action photos would enhance it a bit more?). One thing I have learnt whilst working on this particular tutorial is that it is much easier to instruct verbally person to person than it is via written form (now I know why all instruction manuals are as beefy as War & Peace). Anyhoo I hope you don't have any problems and find it all pretty straight forward. ENJOY!

Fold-away Tote

This roomy strong shopping tote folds into its own pocket. The pocket is a decent size so you can use it while you are shopping, but you can make it as deep as you like. Because the bag has been made using French seams it is very strong so you can make it out of your favourite lightweight fabric to make it even more compact.

You will need:
Interfacing (lightweight)2 Buttons

Just in case my pics are not clear enough the measurements are as folls:
(To work in inches divide measurements by 2.54)

Pockets: 18 x 17cms cut 2, add interfacing to one side as shown.

Flaps: 16.5 x 9.5cms cut 2, add interfacing to one side as shown.

Facing: 83.5 x 7 cms, cut 1

Handles: 12 x 45cm cut 2, add interfacings 5 x 45cm as shown.

You can adjust the length, as I have 'Andre the Giant' length arms I like my handles short.

The bag measures 44 x 43cm you also need to cut out a 5cm x 5cm square from the bottom corners of the bag.

With handle pieces right sides together fold in half lengthways and stitch 1cm seam. Trim seam allowance turn right side out and press seam flat. Topstitch down both long edges. With tailors chalk measure and mark a guide line 2cm from raw edges Pic 6 top and bottom on one side (wrong side) of each handle.

With right sides together stitch pocket flaps together with a 1cm seam allowance, leaving a gap along the top edge for turning. Trim allowance clip corners and curves Pic 3

Turn and press. Top stitch opening edge of flap, find centre and using button as a guide mark the button hole, stitch. Pic 4

With right sides together stitch pockets together leaving a gap along the bottom edge for turning, trim seam allowances and clip corners Pic 3 (see above). Turn right side out and press, then top stitch along the top of the pocket. Pic 4 (see above)

Attaching pocket and Flap
Find the centre of the top edges of the pocket and bag front, matching centres (approx half way up) pin pocket to the bag and double stitch enclosing the turning gap but leaving the top over stitched edge open. Pin flap above pocket Pic 5 and double stitch along the top edge enclosing the open gap.

Attaching the handles
For front and back of bag, place handles 3cm either side of centre and lining up the chalk marks with the top edge of the bag Pic 6

For the front, make sure the handles are just inside the outside edge of the pocket Pic 7, Zigzag stitch in place along the top edge of the bag.

Sewing bag together with French seams

With wrong sides together stitch a 5mm seam down both sides and along the bottom edge Pic 8, Press seams to one side, turn right side out and enclosing the raw edges and press seams again, the right sides of your bag should be together. Now stitch down both sides and the bottom edge again encasing raw edges Pic 8 If you are using a very lightweight fabric I suggest stitching again. Press bottom seam to one side and pin in place.

With wrong sides together match bottom/side French seams Pic 9 (watch your seams are not overlapping and are laying in opposite directions)

Stitch a 5mm seam straight across Pic10.

turn press and stitch again enclosing raw edges. Pic11

Using a 1cm seam allowance stitch short edges of facing together. Press a 1.5cm hem to the wrong side along one edge Pic 12
With the bag and facing right sides together and matching the facing seam to one of the side seams on the bag pin then stitch 1cm from raw edge, it might be a good idea to double stitch here. Press seam open now fold facing to the inside of the bag (wrong sides together) pin in place. Stitch along the top edge of the bag then stitch facing to the bag sewing close to the edge of the facing, stitch another row inside the first. Pic13

Finishing touches
Locate handles inside facing and on the outside stitch a V or X for added strength. Using buttonhole as a guide m
ark button placement on the outside of pocket only and sew on button. Now FOLD BAG (see below) with the bag in its pocket mark the second button placement, sew button in place.

And there you have it!

Folding your fab! new tote


Samantha said...

Hi Hazel,
what a great idea. I've made them where the bag fits into a little bag of its own.

I think I like your idea better. Thanks for sharing the tutorial!

Martha Marshall said...

What a fabulous tote, and great demo. Thanks so much for visiting my blog and writing about it too!

DonnaRae said...

Great Tute. I have been wanting to make one like this and you have taken all the work out of it. I don't have to figure it out, you did it for me. RAH... Your tute is very well written. Thanks, Donna Rae

Anonymous said...

The day after Thanksgiving and I just finished making the pocket tote. Your tutorial was great and the finished bag is wonderful. I'll be making three or four for several friends as Christmas gifts.
Thanks for the time you put into the instructions.

Andrea said...


Zenobia said...

Hi Hay,

GREAT pattern - thanks! A friend has to walk half a mile in the dark (with no sidewalks) to get from her job to her bus-stop. I want to make the bag in yellow reflective fabric for her to carry at night and yet fold up in her backpack when she doesn't need it.

Keep up the good work! Jane