Thursday, May 6, 2010

Linen Tote Bag Tutorial

Materials needed:

16 bricks of fabric from a jelly roll, or 16 pieces of fabric 2.5" x 5" (called bricks)
1/2 yard material for lining
3/4 yard linen
To make the bag:
1. Cut linen into 2 pieces sized 6.5" x 20" and 2 pieces sized 9" x 20". Set aside.
2. Sew 5 bricks together along the 2.5" edges. I used 1/4" seams. Do this again. You're making the insert for the front and back of the bag. Press seams open.
3. Take a 6.5" x 20" piece of linen and center the brick strip along the 20" length. Pin in place. Your strip will be longer than the linen. Center it (or off center it - it's your bag, do what you like) and sew along the edge.

Do this step again. You need a front and back piece for your bag.4. Cut off the excess piece at each end, trimming evenly with linen edge.

5. Sew remaining raw edge of brick strip to the 9" x 20" linen piece. Repeat with the second piece. Press seams open. You should now have two pieces - front and back of bag - measuring 17" x 20".6. Sew the 2 bag pieces together, RS facing, leaving the top edge open. Sew along a 17" edge, continuing along the bottom 20" edge, and up the other 17" edge. You're sewing a big "U", see pic above. Make sure you line up the brick inserts so they match at the seams. Set aside.

To make the lining:7. Cut two pieces measuring 17" x 20" from lining material. Sew together as shown above.

You are sewing along the 17" edge and along the 20" edge for about 6". Repeat on the other side, forming an "L" and a backward "L". The 8" opening between the two L's is where you will flip the bag right side out later. Flip lining inside out and set aside. RS of lining should be on outside.
For bag and lining:
8. Using a square post-it note, about 3 inches square, trace a square into each corner of the lining and bag. Line it up along the seams and trace both sides of each piece. You end up tracing 8 squares. If you don't have a post-it note, you can make a square template.
9. Open the corners by grabbing the points not on a seam (click on pic above step 8 to see where to pull points) and pulling flat, like above. You are making a box bottom for the lining and bag.
10. Flatten the points out, forming a triangle, and sew along the line.
11. Cut off point, about 1/2" from the seam. Repeat for all four corners, bag and lining. Set aside.
To make handles:
12. Sew 6 bricks together, 2.5" edges together, making a brick strip. Line up brick strip along leftover piece of linen. Pin in place. Sew along the long edge and trim the linen to the same size as the brick strip. Press open seam.

Do this step again. You need 2 handles.
13. Fold the linen edge into the center, lining the edge up along the seam. Press flat.

14. Fold the brick edge into the center, lining the edge up along the seam. Press flat.
15. Fold in half, lining up edges, and pin in place. The top of the handle is the brick strip, the bottom of the handle is linen. Topstitch along the open edge.

Repeat steps 13-15 for the second handle.
16. Now comes the tricky part. You have to attach your handles to the RS of the lining pieces, front and back of bag.

When using the bag, if you want the linen part of the handle on the top, pin it with the brick side facing up. If you want the brick side on top, pin it with the linen side facing up (see pic above) .

I like my handles about 7" apart so I measured in 5" from the side of a lining piece, pinned a handle end, measured 7" from that, pinned the other handle end. Make sure the handle isn't twisted. Sew in place. I went back and forth a couple times to make sure it was firmly attached. This is a weight bearing seam!

I did this backward the first time. The picture above shows the handle pinned to the WS of the lining fabric. THIS IS WRONG! Pin it to the RS of the handle fabric. But it's still a good picture to show you how to assemble the bag for the final seam.

(I forgot to take a picture of it pinned to the RS of the fabric. I was a wee bit upset that I had to rip it out and do it again. Aaaargh.)

Do this again for the other side of the bag, making sure you lay the pieces on top of each other so you can line up the handles. You don't want unevenly stitched handles or your bag will hang crooked.

17. Once the handles are attached, assemble the bag. Keeping the bag WS facing out, place the lining into the bag with the RS of lining facing the RS of bag. Make sure the handles are tucked between the two layers. Pin in place.

The picture above shows the RS of the lining on the inside of the bag. REMEMBER...this is wrong! The WS of the lining should be on the inside of the bag and the RS of the lining should be facing out.

Sorry, no pics again. I was still upset at this point and not thinking about pictures but about the stinking seams I had to rip out.
18. Sew a 1/2" seam along the top edge of the bag and lining.

19. Using the 8" opening in the lining, flip the bag inside out.

20. Sew the opening of the lining closed, close to the edge of the fabric. Tuck the lining back into the bag, pushing the box corners into each other. I pressed the top edge of the bag and then topstitched it to keep the lining in place.
C'est bien! Oui?

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