Friday, November 08, 2013

A Little Tote Bag Project

This summer, I found out about a ministry that provides some basic diaper bag-type items for new moms in a foreign ministry. (I'll post more on that when I show the finished bags the girls did).

We just finished a unit on sanctity of life in the high school girls' ministry class, and I thought it would be fun to make the little tote bags that we are to put the goodies in.

They just asked for the cheap poly bags from the dollar store...sort of like this one ---->

3/4 yd of 45" decent quality cotton fabric is plenty; that leaves enough to square the ends up, assuming it wasn't cut wildly off grain.

So..for the straps, tear two 4" strips across the entire length (they will be 4" x 45"); if the selvedges are an issue, just trim them off.

For the bag body, cut two rectangles 15 x 13, with the longest dimension running along the grainline.

Step 1: make the straps.
Fold the strap pieces in half lengthwise, with the wrong side out, and stitch the length of the long seam with a 1/2" seam allowance.

Tip:  Press the seams open, one side at a time, but be careful not to press the fold.

  Turn strap; press flat with the seam centered on one side.

Step 2: Pre-press top hem:

Fold top edge under 1" (use a cardstock template, if you can)  on each body piece; press.  Turn under a second time and press. Do not stitch yet.

Step 3: Apply straps

Matching one raw edge of strap to bottom raw edge, place strap so that the center seam is towards the bag and lies 3.5 inches away from the side edge..  Then carefully, without twisting strap, bend it back  so that the opposite end is aligned with the bottom raw edge again, with the strap parallel to the other vertical edge, 3.5 inches from the vertical raw edge (I did have a photo of that, but somehow it has gotten misfiled.).

Mark the strap 2" below top folded edge of bag.

Edge stitch strap from bottom raw edge, up to pinned mark, across strap at the pin, and back down to the bottom raw edge.  Repeat for other end of the strap, and repeat entire process for other bag body piece.

Step 4: bottom seam

Lay both body pieces right sides together.

Spend a little time entertaining the sewing assistant, who is obviously feeling neglected.

Stitch bottom seam w/a 1/2" Seam allowance.  Zig-zag edges of seam together, press to one side and topstitch down to give a little more reinforcement to the bottom seam.

 Step 5: Side seams

Fold body pieces right sides together again; open out pressed hem edges and stitch from lower seam to top raw edge w/a 1/2" seam allowance.  Finish edges together; don't press them just yet.

Step 7: bottom corners

This is the trickiest part of the whole bag.

Turn bag wrong side out and pull out one corner to a point.  Match side seam and bottom seam as they go away from the point (you should have a right angle, with the seams lined up running right up the middle).  Lay a flat ruler so that the 2" mark is right on the seams, slide 2" mark along seam until the 'zero' of the ruler is at one edge and the 4" mark is at the other.  Draw a light pencil mark along ruler and remove the ruler, being careful not to disturb the bag.  Pin across pencil mark to secure, then machine stitch on top of pencil mark, securing stitches at either end.

Trim corner off, leaving 1/2" seam allowance; finish edge of seam allowance.

Repeat for other corner.


Step 8: Top hem  

 Press side seams to the side they were stitched down on the corner seam.  Re fold and re-press top edges at the seams.  Turn bag right side out and, with right side against feed dogs, edge stitch hem at inner fold, being careful not to catch straps.

Bad picture of a nice little bag, eh? ;-)

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