Velvet Gypsy Tote Bag Tutorial

velvet-gypsy-bag, craft, tote bag, sewing

 

This bag is made from recycled velvet. We visited the local op-shop and picked up some old velvet skirts and tops that were just ideal for this bag and it was economical as well.

What you need:

  • 8 strips of velvet fabric measuring 20″ w x 5″h.
  • 2 pieces of lining fabric 16″w x 18″h.
  • Piece of cord.

Method:

  • Sew 4 of the strips together with a ¼” seam allowance. This is for the front of the bag.
  • Sew the other 4 strips together with a ¼” seam allowance. This is for the back of the bag.

velvet-gypsy-bag,sewing,craft,tote bag,

  • Cut each piece so that it measures 16″ x 18″.
  • I had all sorts of problems with this fabric as it slipped and moved constantly. That is why I started out cutting it at 20″ in width to start with. It gave me plenty of fabric to allow for mishaps.

velvet-gypsy-bag,tote bag, craft, sewing

  • Lay one of the lining pieces on the table – right side facing up.
  • Lay the velvet piece on top – right side facing down.

velvet-gypsy-bag, tote bag, slouch bag, craft, sewing

  • Pop a pin in the lining piece only. Place this to match the seam line of the velvet piece.
  • Alternatively you can measure your bottom piece of velvet fabric and place the pin the same distance from the bottom.
  • Fold the velvet piece back out of the way.

velvet-gypsy-bag,slouch bag, tote bag, craft, sewing

velvet-gypsy-bag,slouch bag, tote bag, craft, sewing

  • Place some A4 (or other) paper just covering the pin and just having the seam line amount of fabric exposed.

velvet-gypsy-bag,slouch bag, tote bag, craft, sewing

  • Spray with adhesive spray. We found we needed a heavy spray.

velvet-gypsy-bag,slouch bag,tote bag, craft, sewing

  • Place the velvet piece back onto the lining, matching the side edges and press firmly in place over the adhesive.
  • Leave to dry.
  • Repeat this process along the bottom edge
  • Repeat this process on the other side edge.

velvet-gypsy-bag,slouch bag, tote bag, craft, sewing

  • Lay  one velvet piece on top of one piece of lining and place right sides together.
  • Starting with a backstitch sew from the seam line of the bottom piece of velvet, across the bottom of the bag and up to the seam line of the bottom piece of velvet on the other side.
  • Sew with a ½”seam.
  • End with a backstitch.

velvet-gypsy-bag,slouch bag, tote bag, craft, sewing

velvet-gypsy-bag,slouch bag, tote bag, craft, sewing

  • Lay the pieces on the mat with the velvet fabric facing up.

velvet-gypsy-bag.tote bag, slouch bag, craft, sewing

  • Take one piece and fold the velvet fabric back as far as the previously sewn seam.
  • Do this with each bag piece.

velvet-gypsy-bag,slouch bag, tote bag, craft, sewing

  • Lay one piece on top of the other, right sides together.

velvet-gypsy-bag.slouch bag, tote bag, craft, sewing

  • Smooth out the pieces and make sure the edges of the lining line up.

velvet-gypsy-bag,tote bag, slouch bag, craft, sewing

  • Pin the two lining pieces together.
  • Make sure the velvet pieces are out of the way. You don’t want to sew over them.
  • Pin down one side and when you are pinning along the bottom edge, leave a gap of about 4-5″. This gap will be used to turn the bag through later on.

velvet-gypsy-bag

  • Sew with a ½” seam.
  • Start with a backstitch, sew down one side, pivot your needle at the corner and sew along the bottom until you come to the first pin where your gap is going to be. Backstitch.
  • Move your needle to the pin on the other side of the gap. Remove the pin and backstitch.
  • Continue sewing along the bottom edge and up the side.
  • When you reach the pin at the base of the velvet fabric, backstitch.

velvet-gypsy-bag,slouch bag, tote bag, craft, sewing

  • So here is the lining sewn with a ½” seam and showing the opening in the bottom edge.

velvet-gypsy-bag,slouch bag, tote bag, craft, sewing

  • Now its time to sew the velvet pieces together.
  • Spray the seam lines with basting spray as shown previously.
  • Start sewing from the seam line that was sewn when we started constructing the bag.
  • Sew around the edge with a ½” seam.
  • Start and end with a backstitch
  • Do Not leave an opening in the bottom edge. We only need one opening and we have that in the lining piece.

velvet-gypsy-bag,slouch bat, tote bag, craft, sewing

  • Here are the velvet pieces sewn together.

velvet-gypsy-bag,slouch bag, tote bag, craft, sewing

If you want to box the corners you can check out our tutorial on how to do that here.

  • Turn the bag through the gap in the bottom of the lining.
  • Push the lining into the bag.
  • Push out the corners.
  • Top stitch down the opening edge, across the bottom of the opening and up the other side.
  • Start and end with a backstitch.

velvet-gypsy-bag,slouch bag, tote bag, craft, sewing

  • Sew up the opening in the bottom of the lining.
  • You can hand stitch this together or topstitch it on your machine.

velvet-gypsy-bag,slouch bag, tote bag, craft, sewing

  • As you can see here, I have machine stitched the opening together.

velvet-gypsy-bag.slouch bag, tote bag, craft, sewing

  • Turn over approx 1″ on the top edge. This will vary depending  on how wide your cord is.
  • Pin in place.
  • Do this on both sides of the bag.
  • Stitch along the pinned edge.

velvet-gypsy-bag,slouch bag, tote bag, craft, sewing

  • Thread your cord through the opening.

velvet-gypsy-bag.tote bag, slouch bag, craft, sewing

  • You can see how to join the cord in the video.

 
 

Patchwork Tote Bag with Couching – Tutorial

patchworktote-thumb

I love using 5″ squares to make bags. Everything is precut and you don’t have to think to hard about matching fabrics as it’s all done for you. That is of course, if you are using Moda Charm Squares or another brand of precut squares. However, for this tutorial you could cut also your own. I have used Suzani by  Michelle Marvig for George Parsons. I just love the colours.

So what do you need:

  • 16 x  5″ squares
  • 1 piece for the backing – ours is 18½” by 18½”
  • 2 pieces of batting or fusible fleece – depending on the look you want – our two pieces each measure 18½” by 18½”
  • 2 pieces of fabric measuring 18½” by 18½” for the lining
  • 2 pieces of fabric measuring 5″ x  22″ or the length you want for your handles.
  • 2 pieces of batting 2½” wide by the length of your handle
  • 1 ball of thick wool (you don’t need much so you may have some in your wool stash)

Please Note: This is just a basic outline, for full instructions check out the video below.

Method:

Step 1:

  • Lay out your squares

lay-out-the-charm-squares

Step 2:

  • Sew the squares together in rows

join-squares-in-row

Press the seams in opposite directions for each row, as pictured above.

Step 3: 

  • Sew rows together

sew-rows-together

Step 4: 

  • Add batting to back of main piece and wrong side of back piece. Put backing piece aside.

attach-batting

 

Step 5: Couching

  • On a piece of scrap material test the size of your zig-zag stitch. You want it to go right across the yarn and not split it.

add=yarn-do-test

  • When you are happy with the width of your zig-zag then you are ready to attach the thread to the seam lines of your squares.  We sew the thread across all three rows then turn the bag and couch down the other three rows, just running the thread over top of the thread you have laid down previously.add-yarn-attach
  • Trim off the threads

trim-threads

Step 6: Sew Main Piece to Backing Piece

  • Place the main piece and the backing right sides together and sew around 3 sides with a ¼” seam.
  • Leave the top end open.
  • Pivot at the corners.
  • Backstitch at the start and the end.

sew-pieces-together

  • Turn bag to right side. Put aside for now.

turn-through

Step 7: Lining

  • Take your two lining pieces and join them on 3 sides using a ¼” seam allowance.
  • Leave the top end open.
  • Pivot at the corners.
  • Backstitch at the start and the end.

lining

Step 8: Box the Corner

I wanted a four inch base on this bag so I measured down 2″ from the base of the ‘V ‘at the corner  where the bottom and the side seam meet.  Make sure the bottom and side seams line up perfectly as you want to have a continuous look to your seam line when you finish.

We have a tutorial on “How to Box Bag Corners” where you can see this process in detail.

You need to box all four corners – 2 on the lining and 2 on the main piece of the bag.

box-corners-1

box-corners

Trim the excess fabric  from the boxed corner when you are happy that the seams line up. Leave about a ¼” seam.

trim-seam-allowance

Put all the pieces aside and make your handles.

Step 9: Handles

  • Fold your handle pieces right sides together and press down the length of the fabric

handles

  • Open out and fold each edge to the middle – the fold line that you have just made down the middle – and press

fold-in-edges-to-middle

Open out and lay your batting down the middle.

batting-in-handle

  • Fold the edges back into the middle over the batting.

fold-fabric-over-batting

  • Topstitch down both sides of handle ⅛”  from the edge.

top-stitch-handles

  • Measure in 4″ from each side seam and draw a small line with a water erasable or Frixion pen.

place-handles

  • Pin the handles in place, with one side on the mark you have just drawn. Make sure they are not twisted and pin with the bulk of the handle out towards the side seam.
  • I like to stitch them in place before adding the lining so that they don’t move and I know that they are sitting correctly.

pin-handles-in-place

Step 10: Putting the Bag Together

  • Turn the lining inside out and place the bag inside the lining so that the right sides are facing. Make sure the handles are pushed down towards the bottom of the bag.  We don’t want to catch them up in the seam we are going to sew around the top.

put-bag-in-lining

  • Line up the sides seams from the lining piece and the main bag piece and pin

match-side-seams

  •  Give the bag a bit of a shake (hold on to the top edge), you want the whole thing to lay relatively flat.
  • Pin the two pieces together and join with a ¼” seam. Make sure you leave about a 4″ to 5″  opening on the back side of the bag so that you can turn the bag through once you have sewn it together.

leave-opening

  • Turn bag through. Push lining to the inside of the bag. Make sure it’s nice and neat by giving it a bit of a press.
  • Topstitch around the top of the bag about ⅛” from the edge.

topstitch-top-of-bag

And here we have it – our finished bag.  Don’t forget to check out the video for the full instructions.

finished-bag

Tote Bag Tutorial – How to Box a Corner

Adding a boxed corner to a tote bag gives it some stability  so that it will stand up on its own and it just gives a nice finishing touch to a bag.

In our video we show you how to box a corner. It’s not difficult and it’s well worth getting the hang of.

We don’t box the corners on all our bags and you may not want to either, but this just such  is a handy technique to know for those times when you do.

DIY Canvas Tote Bag Tutorial

DIY Canvas Tote Bag Tutorial

We’ve been meaning to create a tutorial for a canvas tote bag for some time now, so when we found some lovely teal canvas fabric from our local craft store, we took that as a sign.

This is a really simple bag to make because it doesn’t have any lining. For our bag, we used a canvas fabric with a design on the outside but you can use a plain fabric for this if you prefer.

What You Will Need:

  • 1 piece of canvas fabric measuring 34 ½” x 15 ½”
  • 2 pieces canvas fabric measuring 5″ x 55″ for the handles – Note that the finished length of the handles will be 104″ so this is why we cut two pieces as the width of our fabric off the roll was about 55″ in length. We sewed those two pieces together to make 110″ and then cut it back to 104″.

The trick with this bag is that we sew it together with the wrong sides facing. So our first seam is on the right side of the fabric. But that’s okay, there’s no need to panic.  We are going to tidy up the seams by turning the bag inside out and sewing a seam line that encompasses our previous seam and hides the raw edges. This is known as a French Seam, and it is generally used on lingerie and fine fabrics. But  hey, there are no seam police so we are going to use it on our canvas bag.

I left my first seam at ¼” but you can trim it down to 1/8″ and make a smaller final seam if you wish.

Checkerboard (Bargello) Tote Bag Tutorial.

We love making tote bags and we also love the Bargello method of creating quilts so we had to combine the two and design a bag. I just love this technique. It is sooooo easy to do and makes a great checkerboard effect.

What you Need:

  • 8 Jelly Roll strips or  alternatively cut your own at 8 x 2½” strips measuring around  40″- 42″ in length (width of fabric).

For our Pink Bag: we used alternating strips using white as the main and 2 contrasting pink strips
For our Blue Bag: we used alternating strips using blue as the main and 4 different colour co-ordinated strips

  • Batting or fusible fleece.
  • Backing

Method :

  • Cut off the selvages from each end of the strips.
  • Lay the strips on your table side by side, starting with the main colour.laying-out-the-strips
  • Place the first two strips on top of each other with right sides together.

strips

  • Sew the long edges together with a ¼” seam.
  • Pick up the 3rd strip and place on top of the second strip, right sides together and sew with a ¼” seam. Continue in this manner until the strips are all sewn together.
  • Press the seams flat.

ironing-the-seams-flat

  • Trim across the short ends to straighten up.

trim-the-short-ends

  • Join the first and last strip together lengthwise and sew with a ¼” seam to form a tube.

make-tube

  • Lay the tube on your table and cut 8 x  2½” strips from the tube.
  • Lay the tubes next to each other making sure the co-ordinating squares line up.

unpick-the-tubes

  • Unpick the top row of stitching on the first tube
  • Unpick the second row of stitching on the second tube
  • Unpick the third row of stitching on the third tube
  • Unpick the fourth row of stitching on the fourth tube
  • Unpick the bottom row of stitching on the fifth tube
  • Unpick the top row of stitching on the sixth tube
  • Unpick the second row of stitching on the seventh tube
  • Unpick the third row of stitching on the eighth tube.
  • Open the tubes and you will find that they alternate in design – 1 main, 1 contrast, until you get to the sixth tube, simple turn this one and the next three around so that the design is consistent.

open-the-strips

  • Sew the strips together with a ¼” seam.

Note:  Make sure you sew the seams in the same position as when we ironed them, so that they stay flat. And your joins will be perfect.front-piece-of-bag

  • Press your piece and put aside.  We are now going to work on the back.
  • Decide whether you want to have a main strip on the bottom of the bag or a contrasting strip.  I went with a main colour.
  • Open one seam line so that you have a flat piece of striped fabric.

the-back-of-bag

  • You can now choose if you want the stripes on your bag to run horizontally or vertically across the back of your bag.
  • Trim your bag pieces to the size you want, my bag is 16¼” x 16¼”.
  • Cut your fusible fleece to the size of your bag. Making sure you iron the rough side of the fleece, this is the side that has the glue on, to the wrong side of your bag pieces. Do Not Use Steam.

fusible-fleece

  • Once you have added your fusible fleece to both the front and the back bag pieces, its time to sew the bag together.

iron-on-fusible-fleece

  • Place the pieces right sides together and sew around 3 sides only with a ¼” seam.
  • Start and end with a back stitch.
  • Stop a ¼” from the corners and pivot.
  • Cut 2 pieces of lining 16¼” wide to match your bag BUT cut the height 16¾”. This is to create the trim at the top. If you don’t want to have the trim then cut your lining pieces to match your bag pieces, in my case 16¼” x 16¼”.
  • Sew around three sides as you did before, leaving the top end open on the longer ends.

To see how to construct the bag its time to Watch the Video below.

  • How to box the corners
  • How to make and add the handles
  • How to make the trim
  • How to finish the bag