Quilted Shopping Tote

Hello friends! I finally got around to making myself a better shopping tote. My old one was a bag from Joann’s. And truth be told, it was sturdy, but upon closer inspection the corners were not sealed. And everything was sewn wonky. And oddly enough becuase this bag was commercially made, I did not even notice until yesterday.

Yesterday I reverse engineered the shopping tote. Got my seam ripper out and tore all the components apart to use as a pattern. You are probably wondering, why would you do this? Two reasons, I needed a pattern and patterns cost more than the bag did, and secondly, I carry this bag everyday with all my odds and ends to work. The former bag with handes was not a perfect fit in my desk drawer.

I have failed to snap very many photos during it’s making. I did load the whole making of the tote onto youtube. If you are here from youtube, here are the cutting instructions.

Fabric requirements:

  • Outer bag
    • 9 by 31 qty 1
    • 7 1/2 by 12 1/4 qty 2
  • Bag lining
    • 9 by 13 qty 1
    • 7 1/2 by 12 1/4 qty 2
  • Batting or bosal (optional)
    • 8 1/4 by 30 3/4 qty 1
    • 7 1/4 by 12 qty 2
  • Fabric handles
    • 2 1/2 by 24 qty 2 (make comfortable adjustments for you to carry I ended up trimming my fabric to 23 inches)
  • craftex
    • 1 1/2 by 21 qty 2
  • Bag binding
    • top of bag can be reg binding
      • 2 1/2 by 35
    • bias binding
      • 17 inch square (to make continuous bias binding) at 2 1/2 strips

After cutting out all your pieces, make a quilt sandwich of your batting lining and outer fabrics. Quilt accordingly if you plan to wash your tote. (My cotton batting states to quilt every 3 inches. I did a simple grid or lines)

Bag assembly

Take your long piece of bag fabric with one of the smaller pieces of fabric and match raw edges taking caar that the 9 inch side is the top and the 7 1/2 inch side is the top. Wonderclip and sew 1/8 inch seam allowance. Make your corners by continuing 1/8 seam for the bag bottom and opposite side. Repeat for other piece.

Your bag now has shape.

Using the continuous bias binding method and the 17 inch square, make bias binding at 2 1/2 inch strips. Press this in half. Matching raw edges to bag sides with a little overhang at the top of the bag, stitch bias binding to bag structure, taking care to stop a 1/4 inch away from bottom corners of bag, with needle left down and through the layers, flip the bag to bottom side up and lower presser foot and continue to sew matching raw edges. Make one more corner of the bag in the same method of stopping 1/4 inch from corner with needle down through all the layers, rotate bag to continue sewing. That portion of the video you want want to slow down and watch carefully. I really had no problems keeping all the fabrics true at the corners, and because you are using bias binding, the fabric will stretch and allow all this to happen. You will then hand stitch your binding down. Repeat this for both sides of bag.

Trim the top edge of your bag ensuring the bias binding and all raw edges are flush. I did have some triming to do on the bag lining vs the bag front. I snipped mine off with scissors. Now the top of the bag is ready to bind with your reg bias binding. Place binding on as if it were a quilt and join ends. When stitching binding down, make sure to flatten and center the bias binding that make the edges of the outer bag. You now have a sack with no raw edges.

Using the craftex, center this on your bag handle fabric. Adjust handles for length at this time. Press in 1/4 inch on each short end of fabric and press fabric around craftex. There will be a small gap in fabric around the craftex in the middle. Fold the craftex in half and stitch down both sides of handle.

My bag handle measurements were coming in 2 1/2 inches from middle of bias bound edge and 1 inch down from top binding. Pin handles in place and stitch across handle parralell to top binding, back stitch to starting place, with needle down pivot to sew to opposite corner diagonally, Leaving needle down in the corner, pivot bag to stitch very bottom of handle, I chose to reverse stitch back into the opposite corner. Now make the remaining X to the other corner, backstitch to the previous corner. You have just stitched an hourglass into your bag handle. Repeat for the remaining handles.

I can’t wait to go somewhere and use this bag!


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