Saturday, February 12, 2011

"Tote"-ally Excited

This is a little incomplete since I'm still on the Great Picture Hunt....

I got a ruffle footer for Christmas and I've been stupid with excitement about trying it out.
Well, so much for that.
When I finally got to open it up to "play", it was BROKEN!
I know, right?!?!
 A little metal piece of it fell off when I pulled it out of the box.
Not to be deterred, I just decided to try to do ruffles the old fashion way.
You know, the slow way. By hand.

I finally got to make a new tote bag for myself. 
I wanted a brown one so I don't have to carry Ms. Pretty In Pink all the time. 

Because, you know a girl needs one to go with her brown shoes too.
I do a lot of field work. So I end up carrying:
1. Purse
2. Tote bag with work files
3. Laptop bag.

So here's my twist on a sturdy tote for work days that will hold everything.
You can tweak these dimensions for whatever size tote your desires.


I cut body of the tote 21 X 16
My finished dimension is about 19 X 14.5

It's optional, but I used iron on stabilizer on the backs of brown fabric for added stability. 

On the front of the tote I sewed my "ruffle"
You just take whatever fabric you want to contrast and run it through the sewing machine. Pushing it under in gathers as you go to create ruffles. 

The ruffle can be whatever size you choose.  Mine is about 9 inches 
(8 finished with each end hemmed)
Make sure that the length of the fabric is roughly double the length of the finished tote.
Because as you make the "ruffle" your shortening the fabric.
Make sense?
My tote is 20 inches so the length of the ruffle fabric was about 40.

When the ruffle is finished pin it where you want it on the front of the brown fabric. 
I did mine 3.5 inches from the top.

Line up the brown fabric with stabilizer facing out and sew down each side.
Then turn the pieces right side out and admire!!! 

The Great Picture Hunt continues!! A few more pics found.....
A close up of the completed ruffle.
I like!! Don't think I need that ruffle footer after all!

There are several ways to do the bottom of the tote.  I added an extra step that's totally optional.
Take a piece of brown fabric 30 X 16 fold and sew together
Or use two piece 15 X 8 

I added a hefty piece of cardboard to the bottom.
This makes it extra sturdy for my laptop and files, etc. 
But now you can't wash it, so make sure you spray it down with scotch guard.

Cut the cardboard about an inch smaller than the fabric. 
Put the cardboard on the fabric and fold over. 

Sew around the edges.

Super duper sturdy bottom. 

You left an inch around the cardboard, so you can pin it into the bottom of the tote.
Make sure the tote is turned inside out. 

Sew around the cardboard attaching the bottom to the body of the tote.
Go slowly. 

Turn it right side out and admire some more!

Now take a break. 
Because the peeps and furry dictators in the house are needing a little lovin'.

Now on to the liner.  I used a solid blue that matched the outside ruffle.
Take the leftover brown (you can use whatever you want)
Hem the edges to make pockets of whatever size/ length you choose.
I stitched down at different intervals to create smaller pockets all around. 

Sew the pockets on each side.

Lay the two sides together, with the pockets facing in and stitch down the sides.
Stitch across the bottom.
The pictures of this part seem to be lost forever....
So I'll attempt to explain...
To make the liner bottom square, pull the bottom sides out to make a triangle on each side.
The triangle should be about 4 inches across, stitch along the line.
This will make a triangle on each side of the liner, and the inside bottom will be square.

Place your liner in the tote and pin in place. 

Now you'll sew the straps.  
I use an extra wide piece of fabric, folding it several times so the straps are sturdy.
Measurements here 30 X 6 inches.
Folding the fabric until the strap is about 1.5 inches wide.

Once the straps are sewed pin them in place between the liner and outside of the tote.
Again.... this pic was lost too... sorry.  
And found!!
I placed my straps 5 inches from each edge.
As your pinning them, put the bag over your shoulder and adjust as needed.
Sew around the top.  Stitching the outside, liner and straps together. 


I like the pockets all the way around. I makes a space for everything so I'm not digging around all my files looking for my glasses and pens. 


I'm no expert at sewing, mostly I make it up as I go.  
I don't know all the technical terms.  But if I can do it, I think anyone can.  
Not too bad, now I have tote bag fever. My wheels are turning.....

Linking up with: 


Kelli said...

Very all those ruffles!

meg + andy said...

So cute! great instructions too!


Lauren said...

Ummm I can't sew, will you make me one? ha ha. This is so cute! I am a brand new follower of your fantastic blog. Love the owls :)

Life in Rehab said...

OMG I need this! I broke out in hives when I saw those uber organized inner pockets! WHERE'S MY SEWING MACHINE???