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Archive for February, 2013

Two years ago, I got a sewing machine for my birthday. It was great!! I used it 3 times to make 3 cushions, and then I got engaged (not because of the cushions… or was it?!!?) and forgot about it for a while.

Fast forward a year or so and catastrophe strikes! A horrible accident involving a pot of olives with a leaky lid, and a trust oil cloth tote bag, means I am now without tote, and anyone who knows me KNOWS this isn’t good news. I’m a girl who’s always cold and can’t travel light. I need  tote. So… you know what I did? I decided to make one.

A quick glance online told me that it wouldn’t be that hard, so I bought some polka dot cloth (I might have outgrown the colour pink, but I’m still a fan of dots…) and started sewing.

John Lewis, Cath Kidston, Sewing, Home Made tote bag

Dotty fabric, and a twee measuring tape. Sewing Threesmallapples-style(!).

To add some strength and to make it less flimsy, I lined the bag using some heavy white linen fabric, which were the handy off cuts from some IKEA curtains.

John Lewis, Cath Kidston, Sewing, Home Made tote bag

“Measure twice, cut once” that’s the phrase, isn’t it? (I might be a bit of a nerd).

John Lewis, Cath Kidston, Sewing, Home Made tote bag

John Lewis, Cath Kidston, Sewing, Home Made tote bag

To make the body of the bag, I sewed the two pieces of fabric back to back, before turning the material inside out, so the seam was now on the inside.

John Lewis, Cath Kidston, Sewing, Home Made tote bag

John Lewis, Cath Kidston, Sewing, Home Made tote bag

For the straps, take a piece of fabric 4 inches thick, fold it in half to create a crease in the middle. Then fold each half of the fabric into the middle crease, before folding the crease closed. This way, all of the edges are ‘inside’ the strap, meaning the strap is stronger and has no loose edge to fray.  Pin the strap to hold it together, before sewing along the open edge to hold it closed.

John Lewis, Home Made, tote bag, sewing tutorial, polka dot

I attached the straps to the body of the bag before sewing the side edges of the bag together.  I still need to figure out a neat way to attach the straps… A bit more practise needed, I think.

John Lewis, Home Made, tote bag, sewing tutorial, polka dot

Almost there…

John Lewis, Home Made, tote bag, sewing tutorial, polka dot

The old “sewing on the inside” trick again…

John Lewis, Home Made, tote bag, sewing tutorial, polka dot

Once it was all sewn firmly together, all there is left to do is turn it the right way out…

John Lewis, Home Made, tote bag, sewing tutorial, polka dot

And “Ta-da!!”, the finished article. I was so (sew?) pleased that I’ve actually already made another one as a gift and after 2 weeks of daily use, carrying a lunch box and a hard back, it hasn’t fallen apart yet. As you can imagine, I’m as pleased as punch.

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