Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Tote-ally Pimpin'

Tote-ally Pimpin' Project

Have you joined our Facebook group, The Sew Quilty Workshop? If so, then you will have seen that we've started a fun new project. If not, I highly recommend you swing on by and join up. There's heaps of fun being planned for 2015 ; )

This week we will all be pimpin' our totes, using the Basic Tote tutorial and pattern from Stitching Rules (a huge thanks to Debra for creating this for us).

How exactly does one pimp one's tote? Well, it's really quite simple. You do whatever the heckity you want. Yup...it's entirely up to you. Perhaps you'll try some applique...

Tote with applique pockets
Applique on the pockets

...maybe a cute scrunchy ruffle...

Tote with ruffle pocket
Seriously cute scrunchy ruffle pocket

...or a nice bow ties (cause bow ties are cool).

Tote with bow on pocket
He's right...bow ties really are cool
Apart from the obvious additions, I also made the following adjustments to suit my tastes:
  • I lined both the bag and pocket.
  • I lengthened the straps. In actual fact, I kept them the same length as the pattern, but I used less of a seam along the top so they appear longer.
  • I changed some pockets to be a single pocket with a magnetic clasp.
Lined Tote
Lined tote
Magnetic clasp pocket
Magnetic clasp pocket

Here's a closer look at some of the changes you may wish to try:

Lined Pocket
This is so easy I probably don't even need to show you...but I will.

Enlarge the pocket piece to be twice the height of the pattern piece.

Double the height of the pocket piece
Double the height of the pocket piece
Fold the pocket in half, wrong sides together.
Pocket piece folded
Pocket piece folded in half

Press and topstitch close to the fold. This will be the top of your pocket.

Pocket topstitched
I topstitch a double line for twice the fancy

You can now attach your pocket piece as per the original instructions.

Pretty easy, right?

Lined Tote
This is pretty much as easy as the lined pocket, though a few more steps. For a different, funky way of lining your tote, check out this post at Stitching Rules.

Cut the pattern pieces as per the original instructions. In addition, cut two lining pieces exactly the same size as your main bag pieces.

Sew the pocket and main bag pieces as per the instructions. Likewise, prepare the straps by pressing and topstitching them.

Tack the straps in the required position, on the main bag pieces. I simply line up the raw edge of the bag with the raw edge of the straps and sew about 1/8'' from the edge. The purpose of this is to hold the straps in place when attaching the lining.

Sew the two lining pieces, right sides together, as you did with the main bag pieces.

Turn the main bag right side out and place it inside the lining. The right sides of the main bag and lining should be touching. Make sure the straps are tucked in neatly too.

Place the main bag in the lining
Place the main bag inside the lining, right sides together

Match the sides seams and align the raw edges. Pin or clip the edges.

Pin or clip the edges together
Pin or clip the edges

Sew about 1/2'' away from the raw edge (or whatever seam takes your fancy). Make sure you leave a gap of a few inches for turning your bag.

Leave a turning gap
Leave a turning gap

Pull the bag through the turning gap until all the pieces are the right way out.

Bag pulled right way
Pull the bag the right way out

Push the lining into the main bag so that it sits flat. Press the top seam so that it sits neatly. Take special care to make sure the turning gap raw edges are hidden.

Press the edges
Press the edges. I have used clips to ensure the open gap stays in place

Topstitch about 1/8'' from the edge, closing the turning gap. Be sure to keep the handles on the inside of your sewing machine so you don't stitch them to your bag.

  Place the handles on the inside of the machine
Place the handles on the inside of the machine
You lined bag is complete!

Lined bag with internal pocket
Lined bag. This time with the pocket on the inside.

The rest of the changes I pretty much just made up as I went. For example, for the scrunchy ruffle pocket, I cut my piece out as per the lined pocket instructions above and sliced a few inches off the bottom, creating two pieces.  I then cut a piece of contrasting fabric a few inches wide and fair bit longer than the pocket. I ruffled that piece to match the width of the pocket. I then continued to sew all three pieces back together. Finally, I folded the pocket in half to check the size against the main bag. I trimmed small amounts from the non-ruffled end of the pocket (i.e. the inside) until it sat exactly where I wanted. It was a bit fiddly and a little more fabric wastage than I like, but it was kinda fun to just freestyle for a change.

Hopefully this has given you some ideas on how to pimp your own tote. I'm really looking forward to seeing some photos over at The Sew Quilty Workshop.

So...which of my pimped totes is your favourite?

1 comment:

  1. Great bags! Looks like you're really enjoying this project. I think my favourite it your appliqué doll bag - I think I need to try this sort of trim on my next bag.