Size: Approx 23cm wide x 18cm tall (9″ x 7″) excluding handles
This is the second in our series on mini totes that use half a mtr or less of fabric to make!
Based on a simple tote with box corners, the clever shaping of the main panel pieces ensures that the sides maintain their square shape when completed.
2 x external bag pieces 25cm x 31cm wide (9 ¾” x 12 ¼”)
2 x internal bag pieces 25cm x 31cm wide (9 ¾” x 12 ¼”)
2 x strap pieces 5cm x 54cm (2″ x 21″)
2 x pieces of low loft fusible fleece (H630) or heavy weight interfacing 22.5cm x 28.5cm wide (8 ¾” x 11 ¼”)
2 x pieces of fusible flexi-firm (S320 or S520) 3.8cm x 31cm wide (1.5″ x 12 ¼”)
Step 1 – The Straps
Iron 12mm (1/2″) seam allowances onto the back of each strap piece, along both long edges.
Place the two strap pieces on top of each other, wrong sides facing each other, and pin together.
Top stitch, 3mm (1/8th”) in from the outside edge, along both long sides. Fold the strap in half and cut into two.
Step 2 – Cutting Your Bag Pieces
Place one main external bag piece in front of you, so you are looking at the back. Measure in 2.5cm (1″) from the top left corner and make a mark. Draw a line between this mark and bottom left corner.
Return to the bottom left corner, measure straight up from the bottom raw edge (NOT along the diagonal line you just drew), you are looking for the point where a line from the raw edge straight up to the diagonal line will hit the diagonal line at 3.8cm (1.5”).
Draw a line straight down from the diagonal line to the raw edge (it will be to the right of diagonal line). Using this line as the left line, draw a square 3.8cm x 3.8cm (1.5” x 1.5”) in size (see images below).
Repeat these steps with the remaining pieces of fabric, internal and external, and interfacing EXCEPT for the flexi-firm interfacing.
Iron the interfacing pieces onto the back of your main external fabric pieces. NOTE: They are smaller than the main fabric pieces (this is to reduce the bulk in the seam allowance), just position them centrally, so you have a border around the outside of approx. 12mm (1/2”) without interfacing.
Now iron the flexi firm interfacing onto the bottom of each internal bag piece, the interfacing pieces should reach the left, right and bottom edges, and line up with the top of the corner cut outs (see image below).
Step 3 – Attaching Your Handles
Pin one of your handle pieces to one of your external fabric pieces. Line the raw edges of the handle up with the top raw edge of the bag piece, right sides facing. Pin the left side approx 7cm (2.75″) in from left outside edge, and the right side approx 7cm (2.75″) in from the right edge.
Baste into place using your longest stitch and a 6mm (1/4″) seam allowance.
Step 4 – Building Your Bag – Part 1
Pin your main external fabric pieces together, right sides facing each other, handles poking out at the top of the bag. Sew down the left and rights sides and across the bottom, using a 1.2cm (1/2”) seam allowance, DO NOT sew the cut out corner sections.
Repeat with your internal fabric pieces.
Step 5 – Box Corners
Holding your main (external) fabric bag, pinch the bottom right corner so that the side and bottom seams are lined up together and the raw, unsewn edges, are lined up with each other.
Pin together and sew across the raw edges using a 1.2cm (1/2”) seam allowance.
Repeat these steps on the left side.
Repeat with your internal fabric bag.
Step 6 – Building Your Bag – Part 2
Place your internal fabric bag inside the external bag, so that the right sides of each bag are facing each other, and you are looking at the reverse of each fabric. The handles should be pointing down into the bag, sandwiched between the layers.
Make sure the raw edges of the bag pieces are lined up at the top and pin together – it’s a good idea to start by pinning the side seams first, then pin half way along each long side, finally fill in the gaps.
Sew together around the top, LEAVING a 5cm (2″) gap on one side (between the handles) for turning out.
Pull your bag out through the gap.
Step 7 – Finishing Touches
Iron the 2 bag pieces, then put the internal fabric bag inside the external bag. Fold the raw edges at the turning point into the gap, iron to set the crease and then pin the fabrics together.
To finish, top stitch all the way round the top of the bag, 3mm (1/8th”) in from the top edge (take care not the sew the whole to closed, you should be sewing through two layers of fabric at a time – one internal piece and one external one).
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