Saturday, July 14, 2012

Summer Tote Tutorial

Yesterday, I posted about our busy week and mentioned that I had made some Summer Tote bags for the kids and that I still needed to finish Ladybug's bag (Summer Tote post).  Since her bag stilled needed sewing up, I thought I'd take some pictures during the process and share how I sewed them together.

 First, the following fabrics are needed:
2 - 16" x 16" Duck cloth fabric
2 - 16" x 16" Cotton fabric for lining
1 - 4 1/2" x 8 1/2" rectangle from lining fabric (for the pocket)
2 - 2 1/2" x 24" strips from the Duck cloth fabric (for straps)
2 - 1 3/4" x 24" strips from the lining fabric (for straps)

I did not have 24" of the lining fabric that I needed for my straps.  So, I sewed two smaller strips together.  First, lay one strip horizontal and one strip perpendicular at the corners.  Make sure that right sides are facing.  You will need to sew from the top left corner of one strip to the bottom right corner of the other strip.  I used a disappearing pen to mark my line. Cut off the corner, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance. Open the strip and press seam open.

Fold in the raw edges of the strips about 1/4" or so and press.  To help guide your fabric you can use a straight pin or a safety pin.
Fold the raw edges of the Duck cloth.  Allow the raw edges to slightly kiss in the middle.  Don't overlap.  Press.

Lay the cotton fabric on top of the Duck cloth fabric.  Make sure raw edged seams are together.  Pin and then sew along the edge of each cotton fabric side.

Now for the pocket.
Take the pocket fabric and fold and press each side 3/8" or so.  Then tuck in the raw edge and press again; there are no raw edges showing.  Now your corners will be kind of bulky so unfold each corner and cut off the tip.  Refold and press.  

Sew the fold at the top of the pocket before you pin it to the lining. Sew the pocket about 3" or 4" down from the top of the lining fabric.  Sew both sides and the bottom.   Leave the top unsewn or it won't be much of a pocket. :) I sewed another vertical line in the middle of the pocket, now it's two pockets!

 Sew your two lining fabrics together.  With right sides facing sew both sides and the bottom of the lining fabric.  Repeat this step with the Duck cloth fabric too.

You want to box your corners or make gussets at each corner.  I learned to do this at TinkerFrog.  Line up the bottom seam with the side seam so that a corner forms.  Take a ruler and measure 2" down and 4" across.  Mark a line and sew along that line.  Then cut off the corner making sure to leave a 1/4" seam allowance.  Repeat this step with the Duck cloth fabric too.

Now turn your Duck cloth right side out and pin on your straps; make sure to line up raw edges.  You can place your straps wherever seems comfortable to you.  I placed them about 4" from side seams.  Sew the straps to the Duck cloth about 1/8" in from the raw edges.  I sewed over the straps 2-3 times.

 With the Duck cloth fabric still right side out, place it inside of the wrong side out lining fabric.  Pin the raw edges together, making sure to match seams.  Sew 1/4" - 1/2" joining the lining to the Duck cloth.  Make sure that you leave at least a 4" opening for birthing.  I left an opening between the straps on one side.  You will be pull a bit, so make sure you back stitch at each opening edge.

 Birth the bag.  Pull everything threw the opening.  MaoMao was sure to 'help' Mama. 

 Top stitch around the top edge, making sure to close the opening used for birthing.  I pressed it before I top stitched.   TADA!!!  You have an easy and oh so cute summer tote!
 Have a great weekend! - Little Mama Hen. ;)


  1. The bags are really cute! Thanks for sharing how you make them. Tote style bags are my favorite to make. Every year for my sisters birthday (September) I make her a new one, so pretty soon I'll have to get to work! :)

  2. Ah! This is so cute! Can't wait to try it.

  3. what a great little bag,thankyou for the totorial.xx

  4. Great tutorial, I will surely make them! Thank you so much for putting it together!