Sometimes simplicity is enough. Take a great fabric, add some cool webbing, and make a straight-up conventional tote bag, just for fun. Not bad for a Saturday afternoon watching a little college basketball and enjoying some rare winter sunshine coming through my sewing room window.
So here’s how simple it is. Just a few materials and about two hours.
Finished Bag Dimensions:
14” wide x 14 1/2” high x 5” deep (bottom side), 4” deep (top side)
1 yd. Outer fabric
Cut 2 pieces 15” wide x 15 1/2” high - Front and Back
Cut 2 pieces 15” wide x 11 1/2” high - Exterior Pockets
Cut 2 pieces 6” wide (bottom), 4” wide (top) x 15 1/2” high - Sides
Cut 1 piece 15” wide x 6” high - Bottom
Cut 1 piece 11” wide x 7” high - Interior Pocket
2/3 yd. Lining fabric
Cut 2 - Front and Back
Cut 2 pieces - Sides
Cut 1 piece - Bottom
Underlining (optional) - Cotton flannel, batiste, muslin, or interfacing
Cut a front and back, sides, and bottom
Bottom support - Soft & Stable or fusible Pellon One-sided Peltex
Cut 1 piece 14” wide x 5” high
Cut 2 pieces 24 1/2” each
Order of Construction
1/2” seam allowances
1. Baste, pin, or fuse underlining to Front, Back, Sides and bottom (optional)..
2. Serge finish the top edges of the exterior pockets. Turn the top under 1/2” and topstitch.
3. Pin the pockets in place with the bottom edges even. Chalk mark a vertical center line and stitch, creating two pocket opening on the Front and two on the Back.
4. Center bottom support on wrong side of Bottom. Stitch a large zigzag pattern through both layers to hold them together.
5. With right sides together, sew the wide ends of the Sides to the ends of the Bottom. Press seam open.
6. With right sides together, sew one long Side to the side of the Front ending at the bottom seam. Insert the needle, raise the presser foot, and clip the seam allowance open. Pivot the work and sew the long edge of the Bottom to the bottom of the Front. Repeat the pivot and clip process at next corner. Sew the final Side to the Front.
7. Repeat step 4 to sew Sides and Bottom to the Back. Trim corners. Press seams open.
8. Mark a point 3” in from each Front and Back side seam. Pin the ends of the webbing to the right side of the Front and Back, aligning the outer edge of the webbing with the pin mark and extending the webbing 1/4” above the top.
9. Serge finish the top edge of the Interior Pocket. Turn 1/2” under and topstitch. Press the remaining three edges 1/2” to the wrong side.
10. Center the pocket on one lining piece, pinning it 3” below the top. Edgestitch the three edges. Stitch another line 4” from one end.
11. Repeat steps 5 through 7 to construct the lining, leaving an opening along one bottom edge.
12, Turn the Outer Bag to the right side. Leave the Lining with the wrong side out. Insert the Outer Bag into the Lining matching the top edges, making sure the straps are sandwiched between the Outer Bag and the Lining.
13. Stitch the Outer Bag and Lining together at the top.
14. Pull the Outer Bag to the outside through the opening in the Lining.
15. Turn the seam allowances to the inside at the Lining opening. Edgestitch the opening closed.
16. Place the Lining into the Outer Bag. Finger press the top edge.
17. Topstitch the top edge through all layers.