October 3, 2011

Super Simple Initial Tiny Tote

IMG_4781One of my favorite things about sewing is creating something special for someone and their reaction when I give it too them.  Even if I don’t I have a lot of time, I am still able to create a one of a kind gift and the recipient is usually very happy to receive it.  My niece’s 6th birthday was coming up, and as usual, I was being wishy-washy about what I wanted to make.  I had so many ideas that I couldn’t decide.  I was running out of time!!!  Finally I decided that I couldn’t go wrong with a personalized tote bag.  It’s simple, easily customized, and very practical for a girl that has many things she needs to take on the go!  Now, my niece is very stylin’ so now that I had decided what to make, I had to pick out the fabric!!!  I ‘d get so much more done if I didn’t have all these decisions to make!!!

On to the tutorial part of this post!!  I know that there are many different variations of the simple tote bag all over blog land, but I thought I would share with you this cute and fun tote that I came up with based on different bags I have made in the past.  Let’s get started!

Here’s what you need:
  • 2 @ 11”x15” pieces of a heavier weight fabric for the main part of tote (I used corduroy)
  • 2 @ 11”x 13” pieces of quilting cotton or other medium/lightweight fabric for lining
  • a printout of the letter you want to use in your desired font and size. 
  • scraps of fabric big enough to fit your stencil.  I used a piece of blue felt, a piece of pink flannel and some batting for added dimension.  
  • 2 @ 1 1/2 inch grosgrain ribbon that is 22 inches long (not pictured)
Here we go!
First, create your super cute initial.  You can used whatever applique technique you prefer to create your super cute initial.  You can use an iron on adhesive, but I didn’t feel like doing that today, so here is what I did: 

Trace and cut out your letter in 2 different fabrics.  When cutting your letters out be sure to trace them out backwards if your fabric has a right/wrong side!  After cutting out the letter “c”in the felt and the flannel, I placed the flannel right side down on a piece of batting I had in my stash.  Then I stitched it to the batting using a 1/4” seam allowance and trimmed away the excess fabric.  Stitch ALL the way around!   Do not leave an opening for turning!!  I love how sneaky this part is!  Oh, be sure to notch and corners if your letter has any.  Next I flipped it over and cut a hole in the batting (did you see that coming?):

(I had to cut the hole bigger than shown because the top part was really skinny….)
I turned the letter right side out through this hole.   Press it with an iron to make it pretty.  Place it on top of the felt letter and hand stich it on with a fun green running stitch.  Then decide where you want it on the bag, keeping enough room for a seam allowance if you place it close to the edge.  I attached using a blanket stitch:
(not perfect, but that is part of the charm…right? right?!?)
Ok, now let’s start sewing the tote bag!  This is very simple, just place the fabrics right sides together of the main fabric and the lining fabric and sew the sides and bottoms.  Don’t stitch the tops!!
Turn the lining right side out and slip it over the outer fabric.  Wrong sides will be facing each other.
Fold down and press the top edge of the outer fabric 1/4 inch and again 1 3/4 inches:

Top stitch close to the edges of this band:

Turn bag right side out.  Attach straps.  All I did for this was fold up the raw edge of the ribbon and attached it in inch in from the sides using in the familiar boxed in x stich that you often see on bags.  And your super cute tote is done!! 

Looks good inside out too!!  This was not planned, just a happy little bonus!!
Fill it with with goodies and give it to the birthday girl!!

Thanks for looking!

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