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Decked Out Summer Tote Bag Tutorial

Decked Out Summer Tote Bag Tutorial

I woke up early this morning with a mission to create a quick and easy summer tutorial.  I just wasn't sure what it was going to be....that is until I came across these fun handbag handles I had bought months ago.

Decked Out Summer Tote Bag Tutorial

So I decided to whip up a simple tote and deck it out with these gorgeous handles and some matching hardware I had on hand.
The result?

Decked Out Summer Tote Bag Tutorial

Gorgeous, no?  

And I'm not kidding when I say I "whipped" this up.  This is a simple, basic tote with some fancy hardware.  A beginner can make this....EASY PEASY!  

Interested in learning how?  I'm happy to share...just keep reading (after the jump).
Please read through this entire tutorial BEFORE you start!  

WHAT YOU NEED:
Your favorite tote pattern or tutorial.  This will work best on totes that are at least 15" wide.   Don't have one?  You can use my tutorial for a "Simple Tote".  

Canvas or Home Decor Weight fabric (enough as your tote pattern/tutorial calls for)
Medium Weight Interfacing (enough for the exterior and lining fabric)
1/4 Yard of Heavy Weight Interfacing (Timetex or Peltex work well...it should be stiff)
Bag Hardware
Handles
Gate Rings
Grommets

ABOUT THE HARDWARE:
The type/style of hardware it what really makes this bag.  Have fun with it!  Choose something that fits your personality and make it stand out by splurging on some nice quality bag hardware.   
I used these brushed brass grommets and gate rings.  I just love the look!


Decked Out Summer Tote Bag Tutorial

STEP 1 (Make the Tote)
Follow your tote pattern/tutorial directions for cutting out your main pieces of fabric and lining.  Cut duplicate sizes of medium weight interfacing and iron them to the coordinating pieces.  

* Disregard any instructions for cutting handles....you'll add your store-bought ones after you finish sewing the tote body.  

Cut 2 pieces of the heavy weight interfacing 2.5" wide by X" long.  

If your tote top measures less than 16", X=10"
If your tote top measures MORE than 16", X=12"

Your Peltex will measure approximately 6-8" shorter than your tote width.  Got It?
Take a look at this diagram:

Decked Out Summer Tote Bag Tutorial

Note that if your tote width is less than 16", X would be 10" and the distance from the edge of the Peltex to the sides  will be different.  This Peltex is serving as a reinforcement for the handles, so you want it to be wide/long enough to cover the areas where you will be placing the grommets.  It also adds a nice stiff edge to the tote opening.

 Sew the Peltex to the top/center BACK of each Main tote fabric panel with a basting stitch.  This is done on BOTH pieces!

Decked Out Summer Tote Bag Tutorial

Now you can assemble your tote as your pattern instructs you to.

Decked Out Summer Tote Bag Tutorial

If you wish, you may want to take some extra Peltex and reinforce the bottom of the tote too....this is up to you!  If you do decide to do this, make sure you do it BEFORE you sew up the sides!  You can also make a reinforcement insert later which can be removed if you don't want to take the time to do this now.

Decked Out Summer Tote Bag Tutorial

Congratulations, you have a tote without handles!

Decked Out Summer Tote Bag Tutorial

STEP 2 (Install the Grommets)

Decide and mark where you want to install your grommets.  For this tote I found the center of the opening and marked the holes 8" apart (or 4" to the right and left of the center point) about 1 1/4" down from the top.  

Create a hole at that mark.  You can use a seam-ripper, eyelet tool, or a leather/fabric punch.  This hole will go through the outer layer of fabric, the Peltex and the lining of the bag.

Using your grommet as a guide, mark the inner circle diameter that you will need to cut.


Now, with a sharp pair of scissors, slowly and carefully cut out this circle.  Only cut to the mark.

Decked Out Summer Tote Bag Tutorial

Once done, try to fit your grommet - it probably will not fit, so you will need to cut more, but do only a tiny, tiny bit at a time because if you cut the hole to large, you are out of luck and will need to remake the tote!

Once you can slide the grommet through the hole, place the other side on and close it (with grommet tool or screws.

Decked Out Summer Tote Bag Tutorial

Decked Out Summer Tote Bag Tutorial

Install the other four grommets. Once again, I cannot tell you how important it is to take your time when doing this!  For me, it took longer to install the grommets than to sew the tote!

STEP 3 (Finish)
Once the grommets are in place, simply add your Gate Rings and your Handles!

Decked Out Summer Tote Bag Tutorial

Decked Out Summer Tote Bag Tutorial

Now go show off your bag!

Decked Out Summer Tote Bag Tutorial

Enjoy!

Decked Out Summer Tote Bag Tutorial


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