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Monday, August 17, 2009

Library Lined Tote Bag Tutorial

This is showing up again on Friday as part of project progress, because I've been meaning to do this forever!

We have a lot of bags. I have a thing for bags. However, most of our bags are either A. ugly B. boring or C. in use. Whenever I go to the library, I wish I had a bigger tote or a tote just for the library. I don't read so much as devour books--my mom used to ground me from books as a child, as that was the most painful thing to loose and no chance of it turning me against reading. I can easily read a book a day if I don't control myself. I hate running out of books, so that means we need a lot of room in a library tote.

Ok, first off, a list of what you need:--About 1 1/4 yd of fabric for exterior and lining. Can be same or different, but about 1 1/4 yards total.
--Scraps to decorate front
--Ribbon to match
--Fusible interfacing if you have a lightweight fabric (same yardage as fabric)
--Fusible webbing if you're doing appliques like I did

Step 1:
Cut out four panels the same size. I did mine 19.5x19.5". Mark centers on each side to help with alignment later. Cut out two strips of fabric, about 4x25". Apply fusible interfacing to back of all pieces if you're using it. Fuse webbing to back of scraps. Iron front exterior in half from top to bottom for next step.
Step 2:
Lay out appliques. Remember to keep about three inches from the sides and same from the bottom. I used ribbon and fabric circles to make flowers on mine, plus letters I cut out by hand. Once you have a design you like, start with the bottom layer and fuse and sew. I sewed about 1/8" inside the appliques so the ends will start to fray.
Step 3:
Finish sewing on appliques and trim all the threads.
Step 4:
Make handles. Fold your strip in half and iron, then fold outside edges to meet the center fold. Iron, then fold in half and topstitch about 1/8" from edges. I used black thread for added interest.
Step 5:
Baste your handles on top of front and back exterior panels. Measure from the outside. I did my handles at about 5 1/2" from the outside. Make sure your handles don't twist. Should look like so:
Step 6:
Put right sides of exterior together and sew around edges as shown, matching centers, with 1/2" seam allowance. Do the same for lining, except be sure to leave a gap (5-6") in the bottom for turning.
Step 7:
Iron seams open. Pull sides so that the side seam and the bottom seam meet. They should form a right angle. Press.
Step 8:
Draw a line at a right angle to the seam 4" long. Mark, then sew. Repeat for each corner, two on exterior and two on the lining.
Step 9:
With right sides together, put lining into exterior. Match up seams and centers. Pin. Make sure the handles are out of the way and between the layers.
Step 10:
Sew around top.
Step 11:
Pull out lining. It will look like this:
Step 12:
Put your hand through the gap to the bottom of the exterior of the bag. Pull it out through the hole, turning the bag. It's going to look like this:
Step 13: Iron gap so that it lies flat. Sew up gap.
Step 13:
Last step! Put lining down into bag and topstitch around top of bag.

My finished bag:

A close-up of the appliques:
I'm so pleased with how it turned out. It's the perfect size and I'm not going to be tempted to use it for something other than library books.
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