To make a tote with braided handles and a regular pocket you will need the following pieces~
To make a tote with regular handles and a crayon pocket you will need the following pieces~
The first step is the fun part: embellishing your tote. Anything you want to put on the bag needs to be done at this point.
You can add flowers, trim, appliques, monograms, whatever you like.
To add a some lace trim to the top edge of the bag simple place a straight edge ruler along the top of the bag (about an inch to and inch in a half from the top), pin lace in place and sew onto the fabric. Repeat these steps to the other side of the outer material.
The next step in the process is to make the pockets for the totes.
First up is the crayon pocket. Take your crayon pocket piece and fold it in half (right sides together). Iron it in place.
Stitch around the edges using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
Next we need to make the markings for the crayon holders.
Using a light colored pencil or chalk mark 3/4 of an inch in from side seam. Lightly draw a line. Keep making 3/4 of an inch marks down the pocket until you get to the other edge.
Stitch along each marking being sure to back-stitch when you start and stop. It should look like this~
Now we move onto the handles.
To make the braided handles, take three strips of fabric and stitch them together along the top side.
Once they are sewn at the top, braid the pieces together. If you have a hook or coat rack, I found it was easiest to braid the pieces when you placed the end of the braid over a hook. You can also have someone else hold one end while you braid. You just need a little tension on the fabric strips in order to get even and tidy braids.
You want your braids to end up being 16 inches long. If they are longer than that, simply un-braid them until they are the right length.
Sew the bottom edge of the braid together with your machine.
Next we will sew the lining and the outer part of the tote. Take the two outer
pieces, right sides together and pin them in place.
Using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, sew all the way around the outer
Next, you are going to place the lining of the bag inside the outer bag. Make sure that the lining is inside out
and the outer bag is wrong side out
(in other words, the lining and the outer bag need to be right sides together).
Using a ruler mark 2 inches in from the edge of the bag. Do this on both sides of the bag. Repeat this step on the other side of the bag as well (these markings will indicate where your handles will go).
In this picture I am using the regular handles but you do the same steps for the braided handles also.
Using a 1/2 an inch seam allowance, sew all the way around the top edge of the tote.
Stitch up the hole in the lining. Push the lining down inside the tote,
Iron the top edge smooth.
For the last step you will topstich the top edge of the tote.
There you have it! You now hold the keys to tote-making-heaven. You can adjust the dimensions to make the bag bigger or smaller, you can use more sophisticated or funky prints to give to a girlfriend. Or you can cut up an old pair of jeans and make one for your son. The sky is the limit my friend
Have a great time making your own Sunday-go-to-meetin' totes! I'd love to see what you all come up with!
Also, if there is any part of this tutorial that seems unclear to you, please feel free to send me a private message and I will do my very best to walk you through the step. I am usually pretty prompt about answering any questions regarding tutorials.
Thanks again, April