Saturday, June 13, 2015

Simple Owl Tote Bag Tutorial


I made this awesome tote bag as a teacher gift this year. Usually I cut everything up and then piece it together, like most self respecting quilter's would do. But this teacher loves OWLS, and you can't cut up material this adorable. So here are some directions if you would like to make this tote yourself.     I copied most of the directions from a pieced bag pattern that I sell. If you like my tutorial, you should check out my pattern shop. I have patterns for quilts and a few pieced bags.

Just a word about the accent fabric I used. This fabric is called Sketch for Timeless Treasures. This fabric comes in a bunch of colors and they have saved my butt more times than I can count. They work out great as neutral blenders and binding. I have an assortment in my house and they are very useful to have laying around!! I found a shop on Etsy that sells a really nice bundle.


Finished measurement of this tote is: 14"T x 17"W x 6"D

MATERIALS NEEDED
1/2 yard main novelty fabric
1 fat quarter or 1/3 yard cut for accent fabric (top and bottom fabric)
5/8 yard of fabric for lining
7/8 yard of medium or decor weight interfacing (I use Pellon 809)


CUTTING DIRECTIONS
From the accent fabric for the top and bottom, cut:
(2) 3" x 18 1/2" strips
(1) 12" x 18 1/2" rectangle

From the main novelty fabric, cut:
(2) 10" x 18 1/2" rectangles (make sure you cut it so the print is going horizontal....for example, my owls wouldn't be as cute turned 90 degrees)
(2) strips 4" x 24" for straps

From the lining fabric, cut:
1 rectangle, 18 1/2" x 36"

From the interfacing, cut:
1 rectangle, 18 1/2" x 36"
2 strips, 4" x 24"

One piece of low loft batting, I use a cotton or cotton blend, 22" x 40" to quilt the outer bag.
(Optional..... and you need to buy extra interfacing for this. If you DON'T want to quilt your bag, cut one additional rectangle of interfacing 18 1/2" x 36" for your outer section).

If you want to make a pocket, I suggest (2) 8" x 16" pieces of fabric and one piece of interfacing the same size. I am not including directions for a pocket in this tutorial.


ASSEMBLING THE TOTE

Arrange the fabric for the outer bag section and sew the pieces together. Be sure that your novelty fabric will be facing the right way when the bag is upright!!



Layer a piece of low loft batting under the outer bag section. Spread smooth over the batting and safety pin the two layers together at 4” to 6” intervals. If you want to use fusible interfacing in place of the batting and quilting, that is fine too.

Using a quilter’s ruler and rotary cutter, trim the batting off around the edges of the outer bag section.

Prepare the Lining, Straps and Pockets

1.  Iron the fusible interfacing onto the wrong side of the straps and the lining (follow the directions on the interfacing).

If you want to add a pocket, sew it onto the lining now! (I forget to do this now half the time...)

2. Working on the outer bag section first, fold in half with the right sides together and sew down each side with a ¼” seam allowance, or larger if necessary. Make sure you use the same seam allowance for the lining! Take the lining section and also fold that in half with the right sides together. Sew one side closed. Start sewing the other side closed, but leave a 4” to 5" section of the side open in the middle of the side. You will turn your bag through this opening in the side. Make sure you sew the bottom of the side and the top of the side. Also backstitch over the seam where you start and stop near the opening.

3. Trimming the corners.   To construct a flat bottom, you must trim the corners. Keep each section of the bag with the wrong side facing out. Flatten out the corner so the seam is in the middle of the “V” that the corner makes. Snip the seam open at the point. Press the seam open. To ensure that the seam is centered, place the 3 ¼” line on the ruler directly over the seam. Also place the point of the “V” at the 3 ¼” horizontal line on your ruler. Make sure there are equal amounts of fabric on either side of the seam. If there isn’t you need to readjust the corner to move the seam. 


4. Draw a line across the corner. It should be 6 ½” wide. Sew across the line. Backstitch at the beginning and end of your seam. Repeat for the other corner. Trim off the excess piece of the corner, leaving a ¼” seam allowance. Turn the outer section of the bag so the right side is facing out and press the side seams. Repeat for the lining section, but leave the lining section with the right side facing in.

5. Prepare the straps. Make sure the interfacing is ironed onto the back of the strap fabric. Fold the 4” x 24” fabric in half lengthwise and crease with the iron. Fold each half in toward the center crease so each raw edge will almost meet in the center. Press. Fold again on the original center line. All of the raw edges will be hidden. Topstitch with an 1/8” seam allowance on each side of the straps with matching thread. Make two.


6. The outer section of the bag should be right side facing out. Find the center of the outer portion of the bag on each side of the bag. Measure 3” out from each side of the center and pin the ends of the straps in place. The insides of the straps will be 6” apart. The raw edges of the straps will line up with the raw edges of the bag and the straps will be “pointing” down. Sew the top of each strap onto the bag within the seam allowance. Sew over each strap several times to secure them to the bag.


7. The outer portion of the bag should be right side facing out. The inner lining should be wrong side facing out. Place the outer portion of the bag inside the lining portion. The right sides of the outer and inner portions of the bag should be facing each other. The straps should be tucked inside the bag.



8. Match up the side seams and pin. Pin the two sections together along the raw edges.  Sew all the way around the top section, completely closing up the bag. I like to use a seam allowance a little bigger than a ¼” to be on the safe side. You have to catch all of the fabric and sew below where you attached the straps.



9. Find the hole in the lining and put your hand in. Start pulling the bag through the hole so the right side of the fabric is showing. Push out all of the corenrs. Tuck in the unsewn seam in the opening, press and pin closed, then sew closed. Push the lining inside of the outer portion of the bag.


10. Press the top seam of the bag. Topstitch the top edge of the bag with a coordinating thread. I like to press the side seams of the bag now as well. You are done, I hope you love your bag! Visit my shop for more patterns, and check out my book!






4 comments:

  1. This is so lovely. Do you know if the owl fabric is available in the UK?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, I don't know! But there are so many beautiful owl fabrics, maybe you could make one even nicer??

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love that you fussy cut the bird! I don't think that quilting is "graffiti style" at all, Custom Tote Bags

    ReplyDelete