Thursday, March 29

Expandable Tote Bag pattern

Click on the diagram below to enlarge it. Print a copy along with these written directions. Set your printer for landscape to get it to print on one page.

1 yard - 45" wide heavy weight fabric (like home dec or canvas)
5 yards - 1" wide polypropylene belting for handles

Cut the fabric 31" long. Cut down the middle of the piece to make two 31 x 22½" pieces. Place fabric right sides together. Stitch across the short end (bottom). Turn, press the seam to one side and top stitch for strength. At the top of bag, turn the edge down ¼" and stitch along the edge. Turn it down again and stitch once more.

Lay the piece right side up. Cut two 11" pieces from belting; set aside. Starting just above the bottom seam of the bag, pin the belting to the bag about 5¾"(or 6") from one side (see diagram). When you get to the top edge, measure 14" for the handle and mark with a pin. Pin the second handle 9" from the other one and pin in place. Keep going until you are back to where you started. Leave a little to fold over and cut off the extra. Measure 16-1/2" up from the bottom seam on one handle. Slip the 11" piece of belting under the handle and pin into place. Do this on the other side. You’re ready to sew.

With thread to match your handles, start sewing along one side of the handles. (Do not sew over the pins. Remove as you go.) When you get to the 11" handle piece, you need to reinforce it (see diagram). Do part of this as you sew one way and the rest of it on the return. Sew to the top edge of the bag, pivot and sew back and forth at the top edge to reinforce the top edge. Pivot and sew back to the short handle, finish reinforcing it and continue on in this manner until you have one side of the handle sewn on. Sew the other handle. When you come to where the webbing meets, pivot and stitch carefully over the join, turn and go back and finish sewing the handles into place.

Turn the bag inside out (right sides together) and match the side seams. If you have a serger, use it to sew the side seams. From the top edge, match the side edges and sew to the bottom. (With a sewing machine, sew a seam and then overcast or zigzag the edge to keep if from fraying.) Thread the serger ends at the top edge through a needle. Run through the seam for several inches and pull snugly. Cut off thread ends.

Now box the corners to make the bag sit flat. Turn the bag upside down and lay the bottom flat so that the seam forms points at the end (see diagram). Measure and pin 3" from points along the seam. Stitch across here. Fold the sewn points toward the bottom of the bag and pin in place. Carefully sew the V to the bottom of the bag. Turn right side out and you’re done!

Use full size or fold down so that the shorter handles are at the top of the bag.

You can add a pocket if you like. Cut a piece of fabric 10½" x 8". Sew a hem along the longer top edge. Place between and under the handle webbing when you pin it into place. Sew along the bottom edge of the pocket. Sew handles as directed above to secure the sides.

You can make the top handle longer if you want to carry the bag over your shoulder.


Peggy said...

Cool pattern. And I really think the Bunny Egg Covers are adorable.

Nea said...

That is such a great idea, and perfect for shopping excursions and stash enhancement.