In the bag… Part 1

In the bag.....Whether you are a complete novice, or more experienced, a bag is always a great project… after all a girl can never have enough! I am going to show you in this post how to make a simple Tote bag…. just right for taking to the shops or carrying round some files….

Firstly you want to find some beautiful fabric… so go trawling the fabric shops, hunt through your stash or take a stroll through the local charity shops…. old curtains or larger size, long skirts are a fantastic way of getting hold of cheap fabric! And we all love to recycle…. it’s even worth hanging on to old clothes that no longer fit, if you love the fabric…. as a crafter your stash cannot grow too big! You will also need a lining, this can be of a contrast colour or matching…. have a play with it until you come up with a combination you are happy with.

Patterns….you must always have a pattern… even if it is inside your head! For this very simple bag, I can picture it in my mind and draw it straight out on the fabric, but you may want to draw it out on paper first to help you visualize. Firstly choose the size of your bag and then add 4cm to each length. This will be your 2cm seam allowance all the way around the outside. You will need 2 rectangles of the main fabric and another 2 the same size of the lining. You will then also need to draw out 2 long strips for the handles…of the outer fabric… about 8cm in width and the length of the handles you want. Think about whether you want to be able to sling the bag over your shoulder or just carry it on your arm… with 3 kids I always need the ability to free up my hands! It is easier to cut these on the fold, so when opened out they are full length.

The next task is to think about the placement of the pattern on the fabric… If your chosen fabric has a ‘nap’ or direction then you will want to make sure the pieces match up correctly and that the design on the front of the bag is central…It’s all about thinking ahead a few steps and double checking. You can see that on my elephant design fabric I have lined up the top of the pattern, so that once I take off my 2cm seam allowance, there will be a full line of elephants along the top of the bag… not chopped in half! Once happy, cut all your pieces out.

I shall be posting Part 2… the easy bit, actually sewing the bag together asap… but it is half term so forgive me if it takes a bit longer than I hope to get it up!!!


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