This is a great project for gifts—all straight lines, little cutting, and simple to stitch up. To make your very own quilted tote bag, you will need (based on a fabric width of at least 35”) ½ yard for lining; ¼ yard for backing and quilter’s batting; ¼ yard and 1/5 yard coordinating fabric for the front and pocket; 1 yard strap.
Step 1: Cut the fabric to size:
Pocket: 6.5 x 6
Lining: 33 x 13.75
Each, Back and Batting: 17 x 14
Strap: two pieces 18” long
Front: one piece 9 x 17; and from alternate fabric 7 x 17
(If you would like to make the front one piece, or more than two pieces, be sure the final piece measures 15” x 17”)
Step 2: Place two front pieces right sides together, so that the 17” sides are aligned. Pin in place. (You may want to open up the right sides of the fabric to make sure the face is appearing as you wish before sewing.) Sew from the top of the 17” seam to the bottom, back stitching at each end.
Step 3: Place seamed face of the tote on top of the batting. Sew a straight line one inch from the edge of the 17” length. Use your quilting foot to continue stitching one inch from each finished line until the face and batting of the tote have been quilted.
(note: if you do not have a quilter’s foot for your machine, use a ruler and a disappearing pen to mark lines across the face of the tote spaced one inch from each other, beginning one inch from the length of the tote)
Step 4: Take the pocket piece and fold in the fabric about a ¼”, then fold again to make a finished edge. Iron it flat. Repeat on each side until all four sides are folded in to make a finished edge.
Step 5: Locate the top edge of the pocket and stitch across it, backstitching at each end. (The other three sides will be stitched later.)
Step 6: Take the lining and place so that the length is running north-south, right side up. Measure six inches from the top and mark. Center the pocket, right side up, with the top of the pocket 6” from the top of the lining. Pin in place. Stitch along remaining three sides of the pocket. Be sure not to stitch the top of the pocket closed!
Step 7: Take the backing fabric and the quilted top piece and place them right sides together, making sure that the directions of each piece align. Stitch along the outside edge and bottom in a U-shape (again, be sure not to sew the top closed), backstitching at each end. Reinforce the stitching by zig-zag stitching along outside edge. Turn right side out.
Step 8: Take the lining fabric and fold in half right sides together so that the length now measures 16.5”. Be sure that the pocket opening is facing up. Stitch along the outside edge and bottom in a U-shape (again, be sure not to sew the top closed), backstitching at each end. Reinforce the stitching by zig-zag stitching along outside edge. Leave it inside out.
Step 9: With the outside tote piece, cuff the top, so that an inch hangs on the inside, leaving a finished edge. Iron flat. Do the same with the lining, leaving it inside out. Place the lining inside the tote, making sure that the top cuffed edges match up. Pin in place so that the lining is ¼” below the outside tote.
Step 10: Measure 3” in from where the backing meets the front and place at least one inch of strap in between the lining and the front piece. Pin in place. Repeat with remaining strap unfinished edges. Stitch a ¼” seam along the circular rim of the top of the tote to secure lining, outside tote, and strap edges. Stitch again ¼” from newly stitched seam to reinforce.
*All seams use ½” seams