Psalm 37:4-6

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

Friday, September 9, 2011

His/Hers Reversible Tote Bag Tutorial

I recently made a tote bag for my brother and sister-in-law for a wedding gift and it turned out pretty cute. I promised my sister a tutorial, so here it is...

Okay, so maybe the title is a little misleading... this is going to be more of a "how I did this" than a proper tutorial. I didn't take enough pictures (and the ones I have I took with our sorry excuse for a camera.) Plus there are already plenty of awesome tutorials out there already. I mostly followed this one. I used the idea of adding a contrasting fabric panel from this tutorial. Big thanks to those awesome ladies for posting such great tutorials for free!!

I'll also show how I made the attached flower clip. It can be removed and used for a hair flower clip or whatever.
"Hers" side
"His" side

First, I picked out five coordinating fabrics--mostly from my stash and a couple from the clearance rack. :)

You will need about 1/4 to 1/2 yd. of each, depending on how you want to piece it together. Also, you'll need about a yard of some heavy weight fusible interfacing (I used Pellon heavyweight Decor Bond) and basic sewing supplies.

Step 1: Cut out all your fabric and interfacing. Here are the dimensions I used, but you can change them up any way you want to make a bigger or smaller tote:

His side:
2  9" x 15" squares of the main color fabric
2  2 1/2" x 28" panels of the main color for straps
2  5" x 15" contrasting color panels
2  8 1/2" x 6 1/2" squares for the pocket

Hers side:
2  9" x 15" squares of the main color fabric
2  2 1/2" x 28" panels of the contrasting color for straps
2  5" x 15" contrasting color panels
2  8 1/2" x 6 1/2" squares for the pocket

2  13" x 15" squares
2  2 1/2" x 28" strips for the straps

I messed up on the width of the straps I first cut out in this picture, so ignore them. The dimensions above will give you straps that are about 1 1/2- 2 inches wide, depending on preference and seam allowance. If you sew a seam allowance of 1/2"--you will end up with straps 1 1/2 inches wide. If you sew a seam allowance of 1/4", your straps will be 2 inches wide.

The fabric I used on the "His" side was a heavier weight fabric (the striped was a home decor weight and the tan was a duck-type fabric) so I didn't attach interfacing to that side, but if you use a lighter weight fabric then you should attach interfacing to both sides--but DON'T attach it until you sew together the two panels for each side.

Step 2:  Start sewing! I used 1/2" seam allowances. First, sew your main panel and contrasting panels together for both sides. I put the contrasting panel on the top for the "Hers" side and I put it on the bottom for the "His" side.

Step 3:  Attach the fusible interfacing to the back side of all four body pieces and to all four strap pieces.

Step 4:  Cut out two 1 1/2" square notches from the bottom corners of all four body pieces. (See picture below)

Step 5:  Make pockets. Place pocket pieces right sides together and sew all around the edges leaving a 2 inch opening for turning. Trim corners and turn. Push each corner out and press flat. Place pockets where you want them on the front of the body pieces and pin in place. I positioned mine so that one was on the front of the "Hers" side and the other was on the back of the "His" side. Sew the pockets on along each side and bottom edge and reinforce stitching at the upper edges.

Step 6:  Sew the body of the tote. - Place body pieces right sides together and sew up the two sides and the bottom, stopping 1/2" from the notched corners. NOTE: Be sure to leave about a four inch opening on one side of one of the body shells for turning the bag right side out later.

At this point, you can finish the sides and edges to prevent fraying.

Sew the bottom corners by matching the center of the side seam to the center of the bottom seam of each corner and sewing straight across. I didn't take a picture of this, but the Pink October Tote tutorial does a good job showing how to do this.

Step 7:  Sew the straps. Place contrasting strap pieces right sides together (stripes against dots in my case.) Stitch up both long sides, then turn right side out using a safety pin. (See second picture below.) Press.

Step 8:  Sew the straps to the "Hers" side of the tote body. Make sure they aren't twisted! You can just baste them on about 1/4" from the edge.

Step 9:  Almost done!! Insert the one body shell ("His" side), right side out, into the other body shell ("Her" side), inside out. Be sure the straps are tucked down well inside. Pin top edges together, matching side seams. Stitch around the top of the bag and finish the seam to prevent fraying.

Pull the bag through the opening in the side to turn it right side out. Press the bag and handstitch the opening in the side closed. Finish by topstitching 1/4" from the edge all around the top of the tote.

And... TA-DA!!! You're done!

I had fun finding things to put in it to give as a wedding gift. Here are a few things I added:
  • A jar of our own homegrown raw honey
  • Some raw artisan cheese made locally by a friend from our milk
  • A jar of home-canned Dilly Beans
  • A bar of locally made Huckleberry soap
  • A box of Huckleberry tea (mmm...)

My finished bag ended up smaller than I was picturing, more of a handbag size. So if you're wanting hubby to actually USE this bag, I'd recommend making it bigger so it looks less like a purse. :)

And, as promised, here's how I made the flower clip...

Fabric Flower Clip Tutorial
You will need:
  • Fabric, scissors, sewing machine, thread
  • Matching button
  • Alligator clip
  • Small felt scrap - cut into about a 1 inch circle
  • Hot glue gun
Step 1:  Cut out five or six ovals from your choice of fabric. There's no exact science to this. Just make them about twice as long and a little bit wider than the size you want your final petals to be. I made mine about 5 inches long and three inches wide. I only made five pedals and my final flower ended up being just over 4 inches across.

 Step 2:  Cut each oval in half and place the two halves right side together. Sew about a quarter inch from the edge on the rounded edges only. Turn each petal right side out. You can press them if you'd like, but I prefer them a little more "puffy."

Step 3:  Set your machine to the longest stitch and baste along the straight edge of each petal in a continuous seam adding each petal one right next to the other. (See picture below.)

Step 4:  Pull on the top thread of the basted seam to gather the petals together. Adjust petals to your liking and tie the end threads together.

Step 5:  Handstitch the hole in the middle of the flower together just by passing the needle back and forth across it multiple times and pulling tight. It doesn't have to be perfect since it will be covered.

Step 6:  Sew a button to the middle of the flower. At this point you can just use a safety pin to pin it on your tote, but if you want to make it a hair clip, you will need an alligator clip and a small circle cut from felt. You can get a package of 50 clips off Ebay for about 4 bucks. I'm guessing you could find them at a craft store too.

Step 7:  Cut two parallel slits in the felt circle and slip the top side of the alligator clip through both slits. (Sorry for the fuzzy photo.)

Step 8:  Hot glue the clip to the back of the flower, being careful not to glue the two sides of the alligator clip together.

And you're done!!


Feel free to shoot me an email if you're having trouble understanding my clear-as-mud instructions. :)

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