Easy to Sew Tote Bag!

So my grandma got me a sewing machine for Christmas! Whoo hoo! Now I can finally do that sewing project I’ve been putting off right??? Wrong. I’m writing the first draft of this post and it’s March 19th and I have not even threaded the machine. But I plan to! Very soon! My good friend Lauren and I have the same birthday and I decided I wanted to make her something…. on my sewing machine!

Now I know how to sew (at least in a straight line) from “Grandma Camp” when I was younger, which is when my parents would leave my brother and I up at my grandparent’s house for a week in the summer and we would do lots of crafts and sewing. We made American Girl clothes, Barbie clothes, and once even an awesome quilt and pillow cases for my room.So I’m thinking I can make SOMETHING. I have a week. It can’t be that hard, right?? Right????

GUYS I DID IT. I made a good looking tote bag! And you can too:

IMG_0405

What You Need:
-Two 4″ X 30″ strips of fabric* for handles
-34″ X 16″ fabric* for body of the bag
-scissors
-iron and ironing board
-pins
-sewing machine
*You can choose anything here but I think a linenish fabric, is a nice balance between a thin, light fabric and a heavy duty one.

Optional:
-toilet paper roll
-fabric paint

1. Cut your fabric into the three pieces you need.
2. Iron out any wrinkles in the fabric.
3. Take the piece that will be the body of the bag and fold the short sides down about an inch, then fold again so no raw edges are showing. Repeat on other short side. It doesn’t matter how deep the folds are exactly, as long they’re straight. Iron down and pin in place.

tote_hem
4. Fold your straps in half longways and iron to make a crease. Fold the raw edges into the crease on both sides, (so it will be folded in fourths) and pin in place so no raw edges are showing. I like to iron it down as I pin.

tote_handle
5. Once you have everything pinned, head to your sewing machine.
6. Sew the straps first near the double folded edge. Don’t worry about how the short ends look because they won’t be visible in the final product.
7.Now we’re going to sew the tops hems of the bag. There are going to be two, one at the top of the fold and one at the bottom. We’re going to do the bottom one first. We are going to put the strap under the hem, you can either place this before you start sewing the seam and pin in place or you can start sewing it and put in when it feels right because we’ll line up the second one after we do the first side. Start sewing the hem and backstitch the edges. When you get to the spot where you want the strap, put the strap under your hem and sew over it, so the handle is facing the inside of your bag. Keep sewing and put in the second edge of the strap when you’re ready for it, making sure the handle isn’t twisted. Backstitch when you reach the end.

tote_sewnhem

8. Now we’re going to do the top hem. Sew this along the top edge of the bag. When you get to the strap, pull the strap up over the hem and sew it down so it sticks out of your bag. Backstitch this hem too.
9. Do the same thing for the hems on the other side. For the straps, you want to make sure they line up. Fold your bag in half, with the “right” side facing out, fold down the hem, and make an “X” on the hem on the “wrong” side. I use a yellow or white colored pencil. (You won’t be able to see it when you’re done.) As you sew the hems, add the straps where your Xs are.
10. Fold your bag in half with the seams out (“wrong way”) and sew the sides, backstitching the ends.
11. Turn your bag inside out and poke out the corners. You’ve sewed a tote bag!

tote_done

Now you can go crazy with it! I’ve made two so far and I painted one for my friend’s birthday with her Zodiac sign and one I printed with eyes using Make and Tell’s stamping method. I love the eyes!

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