These Tote Bags are not only useful but really easy to make too! For a neat and professional finish we've used french seams, these might sound complicated but they're actually really straightforward.
You will need:
- 50cm of a medium-weight fabric, for ours we used Robert Kaufman's Railroad Denim, Nani Iro for Kokka's Water Window and Echino's Samber in Natural
- 25mm Cotton Webbing Tape, we've used a 100cm length, cut in half to create 2 X 50cm lengths
- Matching Cotton Thread, we've used Organic Cotton Thread in Beige
- Dressmakers Scissors
- Tape Measure
- Sewing Pins
- Sewing Gauge (not essential, but it makes turning a hem so much easier and quicker!)
- Bamboo Point Turner
Pre-wash your fabric before starting.
Cut two rectangles 40cm X 50cm, this is for a finished bag which measures approximately 36cm wide and 42cm high. Feel free to adapt this as required.
As we mentioned in the introduction we're using french seams for this project to create a neat interior, so firstly you need to pin the two wrong sides of the two rectangular panels together. This will seem strange as you'd normally pin the "right" sides together!
Stitch the two sides and the base together with a 1cm seam allowance.
Trim the seam to 3mm. Press the fabric with the seam allowance to one side.
Next turn your bag out so that the wrong side is now on the outside. Press on the wrong side to ensure that the seam is flat.
Then pin the layers together along the three pressed edges and stitch with a 5mm seam allowance. And there you have it, that's all there is to sewing a french seam!
Next press the seams.
For the top edge of the bag, turn a 2cm hem, still on the wrong side of the bag, as above, and press.
Then turn the hem again, this time by 2.5cm pinning as you go. Press again. Insert the webbing handles 10.5cm in from the side seams, taking care to ensure that the straps aren't twisted.
On the right side of the bag, stitch 2.3mm in from the top edge of the bag.
Next, turn the handle up towards the top of the bag and pin in position within the top fold.
Box stitch the strap into place, as shown above.
Turn your bag right side out, give it one final press and there you have it, your very own handmade Tote Bag!