I’m taking a short break from sewing clothes. I’ve been sewing like a fiend for months and I want a little respite before I burn out! I’m doing easy projects that don’t require much thought or fitting. One of my favorite projects is my Ultimate Tote Bag. I need a large, colorful tote bag to carry toys and materials when I work with children in their homes. I was walking through IKEA and spotted the canvas fabric used in this tote. Before cutting, the fabric had really huge (about 20” diameter) polka dots and semi-circles. I placed and cut my pieces to take full advantage of the colorful shapes.
Here are some of the features:
1. I wanted the sides to be stiff enough to almost stand on their own, so I fused craft-weight interfacing to muslin, then basted the muslin to the fabric as an interlining. The big roomy front pocket is not interfaced or lined.
2. To make the bottom stiff, I made a “sandwich” with two pieces of Peltex (or Timtex) and a piece of plastic needlepoint canvas. The plastic canvas is sewn between two pieces of Peltex. I placed the sandwich between the bottom fabric and lining. My intention was to use materials that would retain their stiffness after washing. When I make another tote bag, I’ll round the corners.
3. I added a separate piece for the zipper closure. I can pull it up if I need more room. The zipper closure piece is sewn to the body using a French seam so that the top will fold into the bag when the extra space is not needed.
5. Inside pocket for small items.
I won’t divulge how many of these tote bags I’ve made. Every time I think of ways to improve the design, I make another bag. But, that’s okay because my motto is “You can never have enough tote bags.”