Introduction: Dog Walking Cross Body Tote Bag
During the warmer months I take my dog on a daily walk. I wanted a bag that conveniently held all that I need for the walks...plastic bags, water bottle, dog bowl, cell phone, driver's license, debit card or cash, etc. The bag is also big enough to carry dog treats or even food if you are going on an extended trip. The bottle pocket holds a 20oz water bottle. I also wanted a separate place to put the used bags. I looked all over and couldn't find the bag that I wanted, so I decided to make one with all my desired features.
The bag has a divided front pocket, one side for cell phone and one for DL, cash, etc. I used 100% cotton canvas for the front pocket so I could print a picture of my dog and iron it on the pocket to personalize the tote.
I used hemp backing for the straps for strength and closely woven poplin for the bag, pockets and the lining. This is a sturdy bag that will last a long time! And what a great gift idea...just snap a picture of your friend's pooch and sew away. Your friend will have a wonderful one of a kind personalized bag for dog walking!
Step 1: Supplies for Dog Walking Tote Bag
2 10" X 8" pieces of 100% cotton fabric for the front pocket and lining in a light color. Use firmly woven fabric.
1 1/3 yds heavy cotton or cotton blend duck, poplin or denim fabric 52" wide (the fabric store can convert for you if your fabric is a different width)
thread to match your bag
2 1/3 yds hemp webbing for the strap back
T Shirt transfer paper for light fabrics, computer and laser jet printer
ruler (I like the clear quilter's rulers 3" wide)
iron and ironing board
permanent black fabric marker
Step 2: Print and Transfer the Photo and Add the Name
Take a head shot of your dog with as little background as possible. Place a sheet of the T shirt transfer paper in your printer. Print an 11 x 8 full sized sheet of your photo. Use a paper scissor (not your sewing scissors) to trim around the photo and remove the background so you have just a head shot of the dog. Trim it to fit the pocket piece. Tips: make sure the photo is completely dry before you print it, and don't touch the iron to the picture again after you have printed it and peeled off the paper, it will ruin it. (Been there, done that!). Follow the directions on the package and iron the photo onto your pocket face down. Keep in mind that the transfer will be a mirror image, if you are adding lettering on the picture on the computer, it should be mirrored before you print it onto the paper. If your directions say to let the image cool completely before peeling off the paper, make sure you do, or it won't transfer correctly. After the picture has been successfully transferred, use the fabric marker to add the dog's name to the picture.
Step 3: Step 3: Cut Out the Bag
This bag is actually constructed as 2 bags and then the 2 bags are sewn together across the top to make one double sided bag. The back of the bag will be used to keep the used bags separate from the rest of your supplies. You will need 8 pieces of 13" x 15" fabric for the bag fronts and backs and the lining. I used the fashion fabric for the lining as well to make the whole bag really strong. You will also need to cut 2 42" x 2 1/4" strips of fabric for the straps and 2 41" pieces of 1" wide hemp for the strap backs. Cut 2 pieces of fabric 11" L x 9 1/2" W for the bottle pocket and lining.
Step 4: Sew the Front Pocket to the Tote Front
To line the front pocket, place the pocket and pocket lining right sides together and pin along the sides. Sew the pocket lining to the pocket front in a 1/4" seam, leaving about a 5" opening across the top for turning the pocket right side out. Trim the corners diagonally to remove excess seam allowance. Turn the pocket right side out. Use the scissor points to carefully poke out the corners to make them square. Don't poke too hard or you will tear the fabric. Turn and press under 1/4" on the opening and close the opening by stitching 1/8" from the edge across the entire pocket top.
Center the pocket and lining on the right side of one piece of the bag body. Place the pocket 4 1/4" from the bottom of the bag and center it 2" from each side. Using a matching thread, sew the pocket to the bag front 1/8" from the edge, back stitching several times at the seam beginning and end to secure the seams. Stitch again 1/4" from the first stitching line.
To divide the pocket into 2 pockets, stitch down the center of the pocket, it should be about 5" from each edge. Use a thread color that matches the part of the picture that you are sewing over. Make sure to back stitch to secure the seam, especially at the top where there will be stress on the seam when you use the pocket.
Step 5: Construct the Bottle Pocket
Now you will be adding the bottle pocket. Take another piece of the 15" x 13" fabric. This will be a lining piece if you are using a lining that is different from the bag fabric. First you will sew the bottle pocket to the lining just like you did for the front pocket. Pin the bottle pocket and lining right sides together and pin. Sew along the sides, bottom and top in a 1/4" seam. Leave a 4" opening at the top for turning the pocket. Trim the corners diagonally and turn the pocket right side out. Press the seams and turn under 1/4" on the opening. Stitch across the top from edge to edge with matching thread 1/8" from edge.
Center the pocket on the lining, placing it 3" from the bag bottom and 3 1/2" from the sides. The pocket will not be flat. You will be constructing it so that a pleat forms at the bottom to give extra room for the round bottle. The sides of the pocket will be sewn to the bag lining about 5" apart. Pin the sides only to the lining front. Sew down each side back stitching especially at the top to secure the pocket. You will have a loop of fabric. Pleat the bottom of the pocket to make it flat, the pleat line will be 2" from the edges of the pockets. Sew across the bottom of the pocket and across the pleats. See photos.
Step 6: Sew the Bag Fronts, Backs, and Lining Together
Now you will be constructing the two bags. First you will need the bag front with the pocket, and a back. Place the bag front and back right sides together and pin. Sew down the sides and across the bottom in a 1/4" seam. Leave the top of the bag open. To make a bottom for the bag, pinch one bottom corner of the bag bottom and bag side and fold them with the seam allowances matching, on top of each other, to create a point. Use your ruler to draw a 3" long seam across the point. Pin Repeat for the other side of the bag. Sew across the 3" seam and then trim the seam allowance to 1/4". Turn bag right side out. See photos.
Repeat this process for the bag back. For the bag front lining and the bag back lining, the process is the same with one exception. Leave an opening about 7" across on the bottom seam of the linings for turning the linings right side out once they have been sewn in.
Step 7: Sew the Straps
To construct the straps, take both pieces of strap fabric to the ironing board. Fold under 5/8" on each long edge and press. The folded edges should meet in the center. See photo. Take the folded straps to the sewing machine. Center the hemp backing on the wrong side of the strap, over the folded edges, and sew it down, 1/8" from the edges of the hemp. Repeat for the other side of the strap. Repeat for the second strap.
Step 8: Add the Straps and Sew the Bag Fronts and Backs to the Lining
To add the straps to the bag front, pin one strap end right sides together on the bag front with the edge of the strap against the side seam. The bulk of the strap will be on the front of the bag. The hemp will be the bottom of the strap. Bring the strap around, making sure it is not twisted, and pin the other end to the other side of the bag front in the same manner. Sew the straps down several times to secure. Repeat for the bag back. The bulk of the second strap will be on the bag back. This keeps the back of the bag front, and the front of the bag back, free so that the two bags can be sewn together.
Place the bag front right sides together inside the bag front lining pieces (the pieces that have the bottle pocket sewn to them.) I placed the bottle pocket on the front inside of the bag lining. You can place it on the back side if you wish. Pin the top of the bag and bag lining together. Sew around the top in a 1/4" seam. Sew several times over the strap ends to make sure they are secure and won't come out of the bag when you are carrying it.
Turn the bag and bag lining right side out through the opening in the bag lining. Press under 1/4" on the opening and placing the opening edges together, sew across the entire bag bottom lining in a 1/8" seam to close the opening. Tuck the lining into the bag. Top stitch 1/8" all around the top of the bag, keeping straps free, to secure the lining inside the bag.
Repeat for the bag back and bag back lining to make the second bag.
Step 9: Sew the Bag Front and Back Together to Finish the Bag
To make the two tote bags into one, pin the back top of the bag front to the front top of the bag back. Pin together all the way to the straps. Sew in a 1/4" seam. Sew just to the straps so they are not caught in the seam.
Hey guess what, you are done! Enjoy the health benefits for you and your dog as you walk with your new cross body personalized tote bag!