Friday, May 14, 2010

Personalize Your Tote Bag

No matter whether you use a commercial pattern or create your own, your tote can easily be personalized the way YOU want it. I love pockets and special places to tuck items, both inside and out.

To make my own pattern, I used Pattern Tissue. My final purse was just going to be more rectangle shape, a little wider at the bottom. I measured to determine the finished size. I wanted it large enough to carry my Mary Kay booklets, my Kindle, and all those other items we just MUST have. I also needed to decide if I wanted inside and outside pockets and what size. After measuring and cutting the main purse, I began adding pockets - in and out. Also needed that handy cell phone pocket.

Designing your own tote is really easier than you think. Just grab your fabric and start measuring! I placed one large pocket on the outside and slanted it from top to bottom. This was just one piece cut the correct size and folded down.

My "not-so-rules" I follow:
  • Measure and cut a pattern first. Then cut your fabric & lining. I start with the main purse size and shape first, then move on to adding pockets.
  • For a sturdy tote, add fusible fleece interfacing. Works up nicely. Cut to your pattern.
  • Add any pockets before sewing the sides together. Fuse the fusible interfacing to the main fabric. If you wish, add quilting lines. If not, sew around the raw edges to make it easier to work with. Now add your pockets anywhere you wish. Lay your front down, place your pocket on, and sew. Repeat with the back side.
  • EMBELLISH! This is the fun part and makes your tote personal. Add beading, sequins, quilting, embroidery, ribbons, lace! Use metallic threads!
  • Lastly, sew the side and bottom seams.
  • Cut your straps twice the size you want them. Fold in half lengthwise, fuse the interfacing in the center (sturdier). Press in the raw edges, and stitch up each side.
  • Place your straps where you want them. Baste in place. When you sew your lining they will become permanent.
  • Sew your lining seams - sides and bottom. Insert the lining in to the purse.
  • To finish off the top edge, I press all raw edges toward the wrong side about 1/2 inch. Topstitch several parallel rows, making sure the handles are in the proper place.
  • Voila! Finished!
Start small and soon you will be designing ALL your totes! Just enjoy!

Happy Stitchery!

1 comment:

American Quilter's Society said...

Love the tote bag! Great creativity. We look forward to seeing more of your work.