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Bag making can be very intimidating but very rewarding. Its construction, multiple layers and installation of bag hardware such as zipper, buttons, etc. frustrate many. However, there are plenty of simple bag construction that are very friendly even to the most novice seamstress.
This time, I am going to share with you how to make a soft reversible tote bag. Due to the simpleness of this bag, I recommend you to use eye catching fabric such as the ones I am using: canvas fabrics from the Rain Walk Collection by Cloud 9 Organic.
We are going to use two contrasting half yard fabrics which will yield a tote bag with a measurements of 10” x 14” x 7”, with 14” handles. There was no material wasted. I happened to have no interfacing when I was making this bag and my bag came out floppy. If you want a sturdier bag, you can add interfacing such as fusible fleece, soft and stable, etc. You can also make a mini version of this tote using two fat quarters.
First, fold both of your fabric in half so the selvedge ends meet and stack them together. Make sure that the folds are on the same side. Cut the selvedge sides 4” from the edge to create 4 pieces of 4”x18” strips.
Take one of the large sheet and fold it right sides together. Stitch the sides with ½” seam allowances to create a rectangular sleeve.
To box out the bottom part, here’s what you do:
- Take the bottom crease and one of the seam line corner and pinch them together. Make sure that the two lines (crease and seam) are lined up. This is very important.
- You will get an Isosceles Triangle (a triangle with two equal sides). Iron this triangle to flatten.
- Measure 9 cm or 3.5” from the seam and draw a line at a right angle to the bottom crease.
- Do the same to the other corner
- Top stitch on the line.
Flip the pouch right side out, and do the same for the other large sheet of fabric.
Now it’s time to make the handles.
Take one 4”x18” strip each from each pattern and put them right sides together.
Stitch both long sides with 1” seam allowances. I made the seam allowances wider than usual to give some extra body inside the handles later.
Flip the strip of fabric right side out. Press.
Top stitch both long sides with ¼” seam allowances.
Do the same with the remaining strips of fabric.
Lets go back to the pouches we made before.
Take the raw edge and fold it over 2” from the edge so you can see the fabric pattern on the fold. Do the same to the other pouch.
Put one pouch inside the other, wrong sides together. Make sure that the seams are aligned. Pin on the seams.
Note: the picture shows the pouches wrong sides together before the edges are folded.
Decide which way you want your handles to face and where you want the base, and pin them 2” deep into the pouch in between the 2 layers of pouches.
Top stitch ¼” from the edge all around the top.
Top stitch again ¼” from the first stitches all around the top.
Do another top stitch ¼” from the second stitches all around the top for extra strength.
And we’re done! Happy sewing!