Simple And Quick Tote Bag

Barbara Blankenship 2006

   
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With the Christmas season fast approaching it's time to begin thinking of gift ideas. I've taken a small piece of canvas left from another project and made this quick and easy tote bag. My technique is a simple design able to be completed quickly.

My pattern is based on the amount of canvas that I had on hand. The dimensions can be changed, however, to meet your individual needs. The size that I've made would be great for a gift bag filled with cosmetics, teas, etc.

The image I've selected for the front of the tote is from a disk created by Blumenthal Craft. They publish a series of disks with many wonderful images. The one I've chosen is from their Watercolor Garden CD. The CD also includes six easy-to follow instructions for making different projects. Blumenthal products are available at many fabric and craft stores. The website (http:///www.buttonsplus.com/about/index.html) hosts a store search function which enables you to find a store located in your area.

Although the images are beautiful as printed, I've embellished mine with various embroidery stitches including silk ribbon embroidery and some beading. I have used the pima cotton printer sheets.

Supplies:
Back piece 7 x 7
 
Bottom piece 7 x 4
 
Front piece 7 x 7
Side pieces 3 3/4 x 16 1/4 (cut 2)
With right sides together, stitch these 3 pieces together. I used a seam allowance. 
Stitch the two side pieces in place as shown. 3 by 16 Bottom Back Front   
Fold the assembled piece in half with right sides together. Stitch the two side seams together. This will complete the outside of your tote bag. If you would like to line your bag, repeat the above steps taking a slightly larger seam. I've stitched a band of lining fabric to the top of my bag. If you choose to do this you will need to add to the length of the front, back and side pieces of the lining 
When you stitch the side seam and reverse the tote bag you will have a triangle on each side. This triangle can be folded to the reverse side of the bag and tacked into place. The same is true for the lining piece. This is a simple way of taking care of the corners with a quick project such as this. You would want a more finished look on a purse and there are excellent books available showing this technique. 
 

Make a strap to your desired length. I've cut a piece 4 x 20. Fold each raw edge to the middle with raw edges meeting. Fold this in half, press and top stitch on both sides.

Finishing: When stitching your lining pieces together leave an opening large enough to turn the pieces when stitched together. Place the assembled tote bag inside the assembled lining bag. Right sides will be together. Insert the finished strap between the two pieces and tack into place. Stitch around the entire top edge, joining tote back to lining. Reverse the two using the opening you left in the assembled lining. Press and top stitch around the top edge.

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