Introduction: Quilted Tote Bag

Picture of Quilted Tote Bag

Are you constantly fumbling over your things?  That small purse no longer big enough? Then look no further!  Here's a cute bag that you can make in just one day.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

You will need:

3 different fabric quarters

Fabric for the lining (at least 40''x25'')

Thread

A sewing machine

Scissors

Tape measure

Pins

Rotary board/cutter (optional)

Step 2: Cutting the Squares

Picture of Cutting the Squares

The squares you will need to cut will be 5'' by 5''.  Using the 3 fabrics you got, cut nine 5'' by 5'' squares out of each one.  That's three for the front, three for the back, and one each for the 2 sides and bottom.  After you cut your squares, arrange them in a pattern you like. 

Step 3: Sewing the Squares Together

Picture of Sewing the Squares Together

Your bag will have 9 squares on the front and back, and 3 squares on the bottom and sides.  To start, take the first row of three squares and sew them together. Then, sew the next row of three squares together.  Repeat with the last row, so you have 3 strips of squares that ARE NOT connected. Take the top strip and sew it to the bottom strip. Now you should have two rows of 3 squares, 6 in all.  Then, take the last strip and sew it to the 2 row of the main piece.  You should now have a 3 by 3 piece for the front of you back.  Repeat this same process for the back of the bag.  For the sides, sew three squares in your desired pattern together as shown in the picture.  For the bottom, sew three squares together just like you would to make a strip as shown in the first picture.
*THERE WILL BE A 1/2 INCH SEAM FOR THIS PART*

Step 4: The Lining of the Bag

Picture of The Lining of the Bag

Lay out your lining fabric.  Place your front, back, and side pieces on top of it to measure out how much you will need.  Cut out your lining pieces.  Next, pin the good sides together, and sew around the entire piece, leaving the whole top open for turning.  Repeat with the back, side, and bottom pieces.  After you finish sewing it, I recommend ironing it to flatten it out a bit.  Here's where it starts to get tricky.  Take the front piece, turned right side out, with the unfinished top.  You are going to take the quilted fabric, and fold the unfinished edge over about 1/2 an inch.  Then do the same with the lining. the folds need to be towards each other.  See the pictures for help.  Then you will sew a straight stitch over the folds, to give the top edge of your bag a finished look.  Do the same with the back, sides, and bottom pieces.  You should now have 5 lined pieces to your bag.
*ALSO A 1/2'' SEAM*

Step 5: Assembling Your Bag

Picture of Assembling Your Bag

It's now time to put the pieces together!  Take the front piece and pin one of the side pieces to it, right sides on the inside.  For this, you want to sew as close to the edge of the seam as you can.  After that is done, sew the other side on.  See the pictures for more details.  Then, sew the bottom on.  You now have the front of the bag with 2 sides and a bottom piece sticking out.  With the bag inside out, take the 5'' side of the bottom that is closest to the 5'' part of one of the side pieces and sew them together. Repeat on the other 5'' side of the bottom.  Your bag should look almost like half a box now.  Then, take the back piece and sew it to one of the sides. Then sew it to the bottom piece, and then the other side piece.  Remember that it should be inside out.  Sew over any corners that have small gaps when turned right side out.  You can now turn it right side out.  You will see your beautiful bag....... Just without handles!

Step 6: Adding the Straps

Picture of Adding the Straps

You have made it to the last step...CONGRATULATIONS!  Now I believe that the strap should be comfortable, so I don't have a specific length it should be.  To find your perfect strap length, take your tape measure and drape it over your shoulder.  Put the beginning of it where you think your bag will be most comfortable, and then find the number of inches on the other side of your shoulder.  My perfect strap length is 34'' by 5", (keeping in mind the width will be folded in half) so you can use that if you want.  Now, cut 2 pieces from your lining fabric for the straps.  What ever your preferred strap WIDTH is, double it.  Your strap will be folded in half, sewn, then turned right side out for a neat finish.  So pin your strap in half or iron it if you wish, then sew it.  I have some tips on turning it since it's probably only big enough to stick your thumb in it, so check the pictures for those.  Once you've sewn and turned both your straps, you can hem the edges of the straps to make it look more finished.  To sew them on, I brought the strap edge about 1 1/2 " down from the top edge of the bag and sewed them there.  You can place the straps wherever you want, though.  I recommend stiching the straps on thoroughly so they won't ever fall off.  I sewed a little rectangle with an "x" through it to secure the strap.  See the pictures.

Step 7: That's It!

Picture of That's It!

I hope you've enjoyed making your beautiful bag!  Show it off or give one as a gift, try new colors, and have fun!  Happy sewing :)

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