I've just finished making a batch of these super-quick tote bags for a wonderful group of ladies who've asked me to organise a knitting group get-away in deepest, darkest Devon. The idea is to hand out their knitting kits in custom-made tote bags that they can then carry them around in, and which will also help (super myopic) me to spot all my gorgeous ladies in a crowded bar. Brilliant idea: win/ win for all concerned!
We're staying down by the Exe estuary, so I thought I'd go with a jaunty nautical theme.
Just read on for the pattern and instructions.
For one bag you'll need :
1. an off-cut of about 40 cm of cotton canvas fabric - preferably a mercerised cotton;
2. 1 metre of 25 mm canvas webbing in a matching/ contrasting colour for the handles; and
3. Sewing thread - matching or contrasting.
Cut two rectangles measuring 32 cm x 37 cm so that the long side of the rectangle runs parallel to the grain of the fabric.
My idea (see diagram above) was to use a 1 cm seam allowance with a rolled seam of 2 cm along the top edge of each rectangle, which would sew up to give me a finished bag that measured 30 cm x 34 cm.
To make the rolled seam along the top, fold the material over to a depth of 2 cm on the wrong side of the fabric. You can measure it with one of those transparent rulers to make sure that you get it straight. Pin it down once you've got it measured and iron along the top to press it in place. Un-pin, and simply fold the loose end of the fabric underneath to form the rolled seam with the pressed top edge in place. Pin, tack and sew.
Sew along the side and bottom seams, matching right side to right side and using a 1 cm seam allowance matching right side to right side, so that your seam will be on the wrong side.
Snip the corners at an angle so that they don't bulk up.
Finish off the raw edges with an overlock stitch, and turn the bag the right way out. Press.
Now we need to attach the cotton webbing handles.
Cut the webbing so that you have two 50 cm lengths. Finish off each cut edge with some over-stitching so that it won't fray.
Fold back 2cm of the webbing and pin to the side of the bag, 6cm from the edge and 3 cm from the top. Repeat with the other end of the webbing on the other end of that side of the bag. The top edge of the folded under webbing should align with the bottom edge of the rolled down seam along the top of the bag.
Pin, and tack. Then sew the handle in place using a square box stitch pattern along the edges of the webbing with sewn crosses from corner to corner of the square for reinforcement.
Cut off your loose ends, and you're in business!
All the best for now,