This is not so much a bag, but I'm not sure what to call it. I recently saw a photo of a tote like this and knew I could recreate it without the pattern. Not only recreate it, but in my opinion make it work better for my kiddos by making it larger, and then share this with you for FREE. The one that I saw was big enough to carry a notepad, and this one will fit a standard sized coloring book, or large notebook. If you wanted a small one you could easily adjust my measurements and custom design your own.
Perfect to take with you when you are on the go. Waiting rooms, restaurants, visiting...
You will need:
- Sewing machine
- Rotary cutter or scissors
- 1/2 yrd outer fabric and 1/2 yrd contrasting
- 1/2 yrd fusible fleece
- Hair elastic or piece of elastic cord
- Ruler or measuring tape and fabric pen (not shown)
Please use a 1/4 inch seam allowance
Cut your pieces. Here's your list:
2 pieces 19.5 inches X 13 inches
2 pieces 12.5 inches X 2.5 inches (straps)
2 pieces 19.5 inches X 13 inches
Contrasting Fabric (for the pockets)- 1 piece each measuring:
14.5 inches X 13 inches
6.5 inches X 13 inches
4.5 inches X 13 inches
Fuse your fleece to the wrong side of your main fabric following manufacturers directions. Then, take your three pocket pieces and press them in half wrong sides together (they should all remain 13 inches in length).
I like to get the straps out of the way first. Sew each of your strap pieces right sides together down the long side leaving both ends open.
Turn your straps right side out, press and topstitch down each edge aprox 1/8 inch in. I just use the inside of my presser foot as a guide. Set your straps aside.
Take your 6.5 inch X 13 inch piece of fabric (which you have pressed in half so it should now be 3.25 inches X 13 inches). Mark the midpoint of the fabric and draw a line. Now working out from the line on both sides, draw a line at one inch intervals. You should end up with 12, 1 inch spaces with 1/2 inch on each side.
Take one of your main fabric pieces. If you have decided to embellish the outside of your tote as I have done by embroidering a name on mine, make sure you now have the other piece. This will be the inside of your tote. Press this piece in half so you have a nice crease down the middle (hard to see in my photo). Take your ruler or measuring tape and measure 1 inch on either side of the crease and make a line. Now, on the left side make another line 6 inches up from the crease (if you look close you should be able to see my lines in blue).
Take your largest pocket piece. You will want to line this piece up with the raw edges of the fabric along the marking you made to the right of the crease. Using your 1/4 inch seam allowance sew this piece to your main fabric along the raw edge. Do this on the side of the fabric that only had one line. See photo.
Now, flip your piece over so that the side with the two markings is on your right. Take your contrasting piece, that you drew all of the one inch intervals on and line it up with the other line that you made closest to the crease. Your one inch markings should face down, and raw edges should be sitting at the blue line on your main fabric. Sew along the raw edge to your main fabric as you did the previous piece.
Pretend you see a picture here just like the previous two, but with your third pocket. Raw edges meeting the 3rd blue line and sewing down raw edge.
Press your pockets upwards to either side so that you can no longer see your stitching. This is what the inside of your tote will look like so far.
Topstitch 1/8 inch in along the bottom edges of your pockets.
Using the blue markings you drew as your guides, sew your 1 inch intervals. At the top of each row of stitching go back and forth a couple of times to reinforce the opening.
Put your two main pieces right sides together.
Sandwiched between you will want to pin your straps (see them poking out the ends). I positioned them 2 inches in on either side. On one end pin your elastic (I am using a pony-o half of the elastic is out of view just like my straps). make sure if you have embellished the front of your tote that you put the elastic on the opposite end as you will want the elastic to come from the back side. You should really pin all the way around to prevent your pieces from shifting. I'm just being a sewing rebel.
Sew all the way around your rectangle being careful not to sew on your pins. Leave a 2-3 inch opening for turning your tote. Go back and forth over your elastic a couple of times to reinforce it, as well as your handles.
This is what it will look like after being sewn. I left my opening on the long edge at the top of the photo. Clip your corners. You can also cut off the bit of elastic that you can see.
Turn your tote out to the right side and press really well. Use a chopstick or the point of your scissors to push out the corners and make them as sharp as you can. In this photo I am showing you my opening. You want to be sure that your edges are pressed really well to the inside so when you do the next step this opening will be sewn shut.
Topstitch around the entire rectangle of your tote on the right side. Be sure that your little opening is sewn shut while you are doing this.
Sew a button on the front of your tote!