Since i made this tote, a couple of weeks ago now, it has become a very permanent addition to my bag collection! It is a great size, especially for carrying things like a laptop or books. Although, it is totally up to you how big or small you make this bag. Its plastic covering would also make it a great beach bag as you can simple wash the sand straight out of it when you are done!
To complete this project you need:
-tissue paper or newspaper to make template
- 1.1m of transparent plastic sheeting
-1.1m of fabric of your choice ( i have used gold Japanese tissue fabric)
Of course you can easily draft a template for this bag in any size you wish, however I find that the project will have the best chance of being successful if you use a bag you already own to get the correct dimensions. I had been using this tote a fair bit lately, so I decided that another one in gold sparkly fabric would be perfect!
Once you have your measurements draw them up on either tissue paper or newspaper remembering to add a seam allowance of 1.5 cm. You should end up with three templates:
-base of the bag
-side of the bag
-handle of the bag
Cut out the pieces you will need to make the tote in both the plastic and fabric
- 4 x side of bag in plastic
- 4 x side of bag in fabric
-2 x bottom of bag in plastic
-2 x bottom of bag in fabric
-4 x handle of bag in plastic
-2 x handle of bag in fabric
tip: it is best to hold the template in place on the plastic using bluetac or something similar.
To make the tote, you essentially make the 'outside layer' and the 'inside layer' then join the two together before finally attaching the handles. The construction of the outside and inside layer follow the exact same process so this step will need to be completed twice.
First you create the sides of the bag. This is done by creating a stack of four in the following order:
1. side of bag fabric piece
2. side of bag plastic piece
3. side of bag plastic piece
4. side of bag fabric piece
Then sew down the correct edge on both sides (for me it was the shorter sides) with a 1.5 cm seam allowance. This will create the side seams of the bag.
Once you have sewn down both sides, the next step is to create the bottom of the bag. This is done by placing one of the plastic bottom pieces of the bag on top of one of the fabric bottom pieces. Then with the fabric side facing out, pin both layers of the bottom to the base of the bag (the sides of the bag should also have the fabric sides facing out), ensuring the side seams are located in the middle of the shorter side of the rectangle. Then sew around the entire base. I know this sounds a bit confusing so see the picture below!
This step involves creating the body of the bag. Do this by placing the 'inside' layer of the bag within the 'outside' layer of the bag, i.e. so the fabric sides of each layer are touching.
Then, fold over and sew the top of the bag twice, approximately 2cm each time to create the top edge of the bag.
To create the two handles of the bag, make a stack in the following order using the handle pieces:
Once these stacks are created for both handles, sew down one side of each as seen in the picture below.
Then, fold over the plastic so there is a layer of plastic on either side of the fabric and top stitch the folded edge to keep it down.
To complete the handle, carefully fold in the other side, which has not yet been sewn, a few millimetres and top stitch that side as well to secure it.
On the inside of the bag, mark the position where the handle should be attached. This can be done using a small dot with a permanent marker.
Then attach each end of the handle to the bag by sewing a rectangle and a cross as seen below. This will ensure that your bag handles are strong enough to carry heavy loads.
The tote bag is now complete! I must admit this project was slightly more time consuming than I first imagined it to be. However, I still managed to complete it in an afternoon making it a great last minute Christmas gift idea!
Here is a photo of the final product. Enjoy!
The Bridge Crosser x