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Thread: Patchwork Tote Bag Tutorial

  1. #1
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Patchwork Tote Bag Tutorial

    Patchwork Tote Bag Tutorial
    Bonnie Evans aka Sewbizgirl
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    This tutorial is for a roomy tote bag, 34” in diameter and 12” tall. The design and construction method was inspired by the free online pattern, So Sew Easy Schlep Bag. For this bag we use 2.5” mini charm squares, also called “candy” squares.
    Materials needed:
    *132- 2.5” squares of your choice. I used my stash of batik charms.
    *Approx. 1 yard of coordinating yardage for your lining and straps.
    *Approx. 1 yard ( or big scraps) of thin batting or foam interfacing for bags. I used Hobbs 80/20 cotton/poly blend batting for mine.

    **All seams for the bag are ¼”. Seams for the lining are 3/8”.

    I made this bag in an afternoon!



    Step 1: Making the 9 Patches.
    Make 9 patch blocks—12 of them! Nest your seams as you sew. Press the blocks and trim each to 6.5”.


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    Step 2: Making the Angled Ends.
    Following the photo below, sew 6 charm squares together. Make 4 of these units.

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    The seams on the top 3 charms will extend into the next blocks. This is what you want… to be trimmed later with a ¼” seam allowance left on.
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    Now neaten and trim the two long edges of these pieces to 6.5”.

    Step 3: Constructing the Panels.
    Sew two of the 9 patches together, nesting seams again. Then, sew one of the 6 piece units to the left end of the unit, as shown. Press.
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    Now you will trim the angled end of the piece, leaving ¼” seam allowance as shown. To do this, place your ruler’s ¼” line along the top points of the second row of charms, and cut.
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    Repeat step 3, 3 more times to give you 4 units with angled ends. (Set aside the remaining 4 9-patches to use for the bag bottom.)

    Step 4: Cutting The Lining.
    Lay out your lining fabric and, using one bag panel unit as a pattern, cut 4 pieces out of the lining fabric.
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    Next cut 2 pieces for straps, 4.5” x 22” long.
    OPTIONAL: If you want a patch pocket in your bag lining, cut one now and prepare it by pressing in the edges and hemming the top. Set aside until we construct the lining.

    Step 5: Making the bottom.
    Join the remaining 9 patches into one big 36 patch, again nesting seams. Press well and trim to 12.5” square.

    Step 6: Quilting the pieces.
    Lay out your batting and cut one 12.5” square for the bottom. Then using one angled panel as a pattern again, cut 4 batting pieces for the 4 panels.
    Quilt as desired, taking care not to distort the size of the pieces. I merely did Stitch In The Ditch for all of mine.

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  2. #2
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Step 7: Constructing the Outer Bag and Lining.


    Lay out your bag bottom, and then place your 4 panels on each side, EXACTLY AS SHOWN.
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    Here is a diagram of bag construction:


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    Sew your bag panels to the bag bottom, using the placement shown.
    Next you will ‘follow the arrows’ to sew the side seams of the bag. This is where the construction ‘twists’ and becomes ‘on point’… effortlessly! Join the long pointy side of each panel to the shorter side of the adjacent panel. You will want to take care to match your seams here. Take a look in my photo of how I placed a pin at each seam intersection, all along the side. Be sure to do this. It makes a difference in how nice your bag will look! Clip the corner at the bag base if you need to, to make your seam smoother.

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    This is the other side of the same seam:


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    Once all 4 seams are sewn, lightly press them and neaten up the top with your rotary cutter and ruler. Trim off only dog ears and anything uneven, trying not to take any of the bag off if possible.

    Now lay out your lining pieces and join them exactly the same way, except sew using a 3/8” seam. Linings need to be a tad smaller than the outer bag, to fit well.
    When you have your lining together, fold it flat and trim off ¼” from the top edge, so it will be that little bit shorter than the outer bag. If you have made a pocket to sew onto your lining, sew it on now.

    Step 8: Strap Construction and Placement.
    Take the two long lining pieces you cut for straps and press one long edge of each. Press under ½”.
    Cut two strips of batting that are 1 ½” x 22” long. As shown below, place top edge of batting 1” below the pressed edge of fabric, and then fold the bottom edge of fabric up to cover the batting snuggly. Fold the pressed edge down, bringing the pressed edge to the center of the strip, covering the raw edge.
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    Edgestitch down the length of the strip; one line of stitching in the center of the strip.
    Now fold the outer bag flat, as shown, and pin straps in place on each side. I chose to place mine 3.5” in from the sides. Stitch them in place, just shy of ¼” seam. So that the stitching won’t show when you sew your final top seam.
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    Step 9: Final Joining of Bag and Lining.
    Open your lining with the wrong side out. Your outer bag should be RIGHT SIDE out. Slide the outer bag into the lining, as shown. Match up the four corners of the bag base with the 4 corners of the lining base, to align the two pieces properly. Pin the bag and lining together all the way around the top edge. Be careful not to stretch the top edge, as it is on the bias. Sew all the way around with ¼” seam.

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    To turn the bag right-side-out, open a small seam in the bag lining, and gently pull the outer bag through it. Make sure you caught everything in your seaming around the top. If it looks good, close the opening you made in the lining, either by machine topstitch or hand stitching it closed.

    Insert the lining into the bag and press the top edge, pressing the lining towards the inside of the bag. Then topstitch ¼” from the top edge of the bag, all the way around.

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    Enjoy your cute, new tote bag!


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    Last edited by sewbizgirl; 01-09-2017 at 08:14 PM.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks for this tutorial. I'm definitely going to make this.

  4. #4
    Super Member copycat's Avatar
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    Thank you for posting this picture tutorial. I would love to make this for my knitting projects and put my candy squares to good use.

  5. #5
    Senior Member LindaJ's Avatar
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    Thank you for the tutorial.
    Linda J.

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    ​Great tutorial!

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    Love this and now I can get out the Batiks again.
    Pat F

  8. #8
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    thanks for taking the time to post this tutorial
    Nancy in western NY
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  9. #9
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    WOW Thank you for sharing this great tut. It is now on the bucket list.

  10. #10
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Thanks!!!!
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  11. #11
    Super Member onaemtnest's Avatar
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    Wow thank-you for this tutorial your instructions are written so well! Your time and efforts are so appreciated.
    Smiles from Idaho,
    Onalee

    "What if you woke up today with only the things you had thanked God for yesterday?" ~ Michael Hyatt

  12. #12
    Super Member sewingsuz's Avatar
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    Thank You very much. Your tote is great looking. I will be making one soon!
    Suzanne
    Asking a seamstress to mend is like asking Picasso to paint your garage.

  13. #13
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    Love your tote bag - so colorful. And the tutorial is awesome! Thank you

  14. #14
    Super Member WMUTeach's Avatar
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    I do not make totes. I have all I need but.... how about for gifts? Christmas is coming... Shut my mouth! It will come around again in about 11 months. Tee-Hee-Hee

    Thanks for the tutorial. Hope I can find it when I need it!

  15. #15
    Super Member QuiltnLady1's Avatar
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    WMUTEACH you can never have too many totes (we have to pay for bags at stores) . Sewbizgirl -- great tutorial. Thanks a lot!!
    QuiltnLady1

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  16. #16
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone for all the positive comments. I made this tute for my fellow candy collectors in the Birthday Swap group and the 2.5" squares swaps. Then I decided to share it in Tutes for everyone. You are welcome and I hope some will make the bag and show it in pictures when they are done.

    QuiltnLady1, I love your doggie. He/she looks like mine, including the little white chin whiskers. Ghost whiskers! My dog is Marty.
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  17. #17
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    Thank you so much for posting this!!!!

  18. #18
    Super Member sunrise450's Avatar
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    Thank you for the pattern and tute. I also have many bags but can also have use for another. I'm cutting my 2.5" candies for this year's Birthday swap, now I will have new (at lease new to me) candy for my new bag!
    Good Better Best, never let it rest till the good is better and the better best

  19. #19
    Senior Member sJens's Avatar
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    Fantastic tutorial. I am going to try this one for sure.

  20. #20
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    Thanks for posting. Great instructions. I think some of my scrap bins need to be dented with this for a few friends and relatives.

  21. #21
    Senior Member trish b's Avatar
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    I have my bag half made from scraps of red and brown. I'm ready to cut the lining and sew it together. This is most fun and interesting to put together.
    quilting makes our lives go round so sweetly

  22. #22
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    I'd love to see your red and brown version when you get finished, Trish!
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  23. #23
    Power Poster Moonglow's Avatar
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    Many thanks for your fabulous tutorial. So easy to follow.

  24. #24
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    WOW!! this is an amazing tute, thank u sew much, I love the bag and the colors u used
    Mary

  25. #25
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    This is great...so glad I found the tutorial for this bag Bonnie. Thanks for posting it.

    It's on my bucket list!
    "Queen B" of the "2017/18 2.5" Birthday Swap

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