Monday, April 15, 2013

Flower Tote Bag Tutorial


It's finally feeling a little more Spring-ish around here and my mind is full of daydreams about gardening, the kids running through the sprinkler, and...a new purse.  Yep.  Every spring - without fail - I want a new bag.  I'm not quite sure how it all started but now it is cemented in my mind that Spring means purse - yay!  I LOVE purses, bags, totes, wallets.  Just obsessed.  My poor husband.  I won't throw the old ones out, either.  They just collect in my attic in a big bin.  Now my dirty little secret is out - I keep about 100 dust-covered bags in my attic because each one has special memories about a special time in life.  Sick, I know.  I should just donate them already!  But I just can't bear to part with that little clutch I used to be able to carry around all the time.  You know...before my purse needed to be large enough to carry extra diapers, snacks, the occasional toy, and even - it's true - my HUSBAND'S wallet and keys.  Come on, now.

Despite sighing over the small, cute, little purses I used to be able to carry around, I must say that I have a growing affection for the tote bags and larger purses that I've been carrying now for 4 years (oh my gosh, my daughter is almost 4!).

So here we arrive at another Spring and my "old" bag is starting to look decidedly worse for the wear.  Plus, I'm sick of my hands getting sticky from some mysterious substance that spilled on the inside - ick!

I keep seeing these types of pillows everywhere - do you?  I just love the look of them.


I wondered what the flower would look like on a bag.  Seeing as I was in need of a new one, why not try it out?

Here is what I did:

Step 1 - Gather Materials

3/4 yard outer fabric
1 yard lining fabric
1/4 yard felt (from the bolt, not craft squares)
approx 1/2 yard fusible fleece
measuring tape
1 magnetic snap
14" zipper

Step 2 - Cutting

Always helpful when you're trying to cut and measure...

Out of your main fabric cut:
2 main pieces: 17" x 19"
2 straps: 2 1/2" x 25"
1 tab: 3" x 5 1/2"

Out of the lining fabric cut:
2 main: 17" x 19"
2 inner pocket: 17" x 10"
2 side pocket: 8 1/2" x 6
2 straps: 2 1/2" x 25"
1 tab: 3" x 5 1/2"

Out of fusible fleece cut:
2 main: 17" x 19"
1 tab: 3" x 5"

Step 3 - Adding the huge flower

Alright, I'll admit it.  I totally cheated here.  Well, not really, I just followed someone else's tutorial because I was too lazy to try and figure it out myself. ;)

Here is the link to the tutorial I used.  I followed this EXACTLY except that I put my flower on the front piece of my bag instead of a pillow.

Step 4 - The Tab

Iron the fusible fleece to the wrong side of one of your 3" x 5" tab pieces.

Turn the piece over so that the right side is facing up.  Take half of your magnetic snap and separate the washer and the pronged piece.  Use the prongs to press indentations into the fabric where you want the snap to be placed.  Mark those indentations with chalk.

Using very sharp scissors, cut through the fabric and the fusible fleece.  Poke the prongs of the snap through the holes and turn your fabric to the wrong side.  Place the washer over the prongs and flatten them until they are flush with the fleece.

NOTE:  A very small piece of cardboard can be placed between the fabric and the washer to make the snap more stabilized.  I didn't do it here, but on the bags in my shop I do - just to make it nice and strong. :)

 Sew your 2 tab pieces with right sides together, leaving one end open.  Press and top stitch.

Set aside.

Step 5 - Inside Snap

Take both main lining pieces (17" x 19") and iron the fusible fleece onto the wrong side.

Decide which piece will be the front of the bag and find the middle.  Measure down about 1 1/2".  Using the prongs of the other side of the snap, press down in the middle to make indentations.  Mark the indentations with chalk and cut slits through the fabric and fleece.  Press the prongs through, starting on the right side of the fabric.  Turn the fabric over so that the wrong side is facing you, put the washer over the prongs and push the prongs flush to the fabric.

Step 6 - Inner Zip Pocket

Take your 2 inner pocket panels (17" x 10") and iron down about 1/4" on the top, long side.

Unzip your zipper, center it, and pin it to the wrong side of  your pocket, along the folded edge.

Using your zipper foot, sew close to the zipper.

Pin the other side of the zipper to the other side of the pocket and sew close to the zipper.

This the front view:

And the back view:

My zipper was only 9" (it's what I had), so I hemmed the extra length on each side of the zipper.  The open hole really is not that big, so I don't mind.  If your zipper is longer, it should fit almost all the way across. There may be a little gap between the end of the zipper and the side of the bag, but that is ok!  Also, I used and invisible zipper which is why it is so hidden.  A regular zipper works just as well  - it's on the inside of the bag so no one will see it unless you show them!

I left this pocket unlined for ease, but the ones in my shop have fully lined pockets so you will never see the wrong side of the fabric!

Put the pocket right sides together with the zipper at the top.  Sew along the bottom only (leave the sides open).  Use a zig-zag stitch over the raw edges to prevent fraying (or just use your pinking shears, like I did).

Turn pocket right-side out and press.  Set aside.

Step 7 - Side Pockets

We are going to make 2 side pockets out of 1 panel.  Got that?
Alright, alright, here's how...

Take your 2 side pocket pieces (8 1/2 x 6) and put them right sides together.  Sew around the pocket, leaving about 4" un-sewn at the top.  

Turn the pocket right-side out through hole you just left.


Top stitch the top side of the pocket ONLY.  You will sew the hole at the top of the pocket closed while doing this.

Position your pocket in the center of your bag lining piece, under the magnetic snap. Pin in place.

Top stitch around the remaining 3 sides of the pocket, attaching it to the lining.  Sew a straight line up the center of the pocket, dividing it into 2 compartments.

Step 8 - Assemble the Lining

Pin your zippered inner pocket 3" from the bottom of the bag.  Pin in place.

Place one side of the bag lining on top of the other with right sides together.  Pin and sew around the bag.

Using a rotary cutter and a square, cut out 2 1/2" squares out of each corner. 

This is a pic of the main pieces of the bag - not the lining - but the idea is the same.  Do the same for the lining.  Also, this pic is awful and blurry, but it's all I got.  Sorry folks.

Pull the opposite corners of the square together to match the seams and sew across to make the bottom flat.  

It must have been really late at this point because I don't have a picture.  I'm sorry!  I will try to get one in the future and add it in.

Step 9 - The Main Bag

Place your main pieces of the bag right sides together and sew around the outside edges.

Cut out a 2 1/2" square at each corner (as shown above). Sew the opposite corners of the square together, with seams matching, to make a flat bottom to the bag.

Again, sorry for no pics. :(

Step 10 - Straps

Take 1 main piece and one lining piece of strap and place right sides together.

Sew down each side, leaving the ends open.

Turn the straps right side out and press.

Top stitch down the edges of each strap.

Step 11 - Assembling the Bag

Turn the main part of your bag right side out and place inside the lining.  Right sides are together (the fleece is on the outside now).

Measure 3" in from each side seam and place your straps in between the bag pieces.  The lining side of the strap should be facing the lining of the bag. Pin in place.

Place the tab with the magnetic snap in the center of the bag, on the OPPOSITE side from the other part of the snap and the side pocket.  The lining side of the tab is facing the lining of the bag.  Pin in place.

Pin the side seams of the bag and stitch around the top, leaving about 4-5" un-sewn so that the bag can be turned right-side out.

Turn the bag right-side out. Top stitch around the top edge, closing the gap in the process.

And you're done!

And inside:

Snap closure:

Like this bag but don't have the time to make your own?  Check out what's in my shop!

Pink Flower Denim Tote

White Flower Tan Denim Tote

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