This has to be the fastest tote bag I’ve ever made. No interfacing, just a simple rectangle and lots of gathers using my ruffler foot for the pink version. Or you can skip the ruffles as I did on the beige linen version. The pink is a 5oz linen and the beige is 7oz—both nice sturdy heavier linens for tote bags purchased at www.fabrics-store.com. I love that website—they ship fast too and the prices are amazing.
This tutorial isn’t very detailed, but if all you need are a little whipper-snapper and can figure things out on your own then all you need are the measurements anyway. If you need more details I suggest buying my “weekday tote bag” pattern for TONS of photos and directions to basic bag making.
First, draw up a pattern using these measurements:
For the ruffled version, cut 2 of the lining using the full pattern, then fold on the 6.5” line and using just the upper piece, cut 2 out of the pink linen. For the ruffled bottom cut 2 strips 6.5 tall by approximately double the length, or 32”. (To eliminate the ruffles use the full pattern piece to cut 2 of the exterior, two of the lining.) For the straps, cut 2 pieces 3”x 23” or whatever your desired length would be.
To embroider a border, hoop some stabilizer and spray with temporary adhesive spray. Place your upper bag piece so that the border will stitch 1/2”-1” above bottom raw edge. It doesn’t matter if the border stitches off of the fabric on the sides—in fact that’s preferable because you want the border to go all the way to the edge. I think stitching this design took 8 minutes. Nice and fast. I stitched in a pale pink.
Now you’ll make the ruffle part using your ruffler foot. If you don’t have a ruffler foot, my apologies, you’ll have to gather with two long basting stitches and pull to form gathers. The ruffle on the bottom is what it will look like before ironing. The ruffle on top is after I ironed the ruffles/pleats in place with lots of steam. This is why using linen is soooo great for this project—holds creases really well.
The ruffler foot is the best invention for sewers. Ever. I’d rather put a hot poker through my eyeball than gather ruffles with basting stitches.
Attach ruffle to your embroidered top piece. Place your pattern back over and trim excess ruffled fabric away.
Use the excess ruffle to make a cut pocket on the lining.
To make the straps, pretend you’re making double-fold bias tape—you’ll fold in the raw edges on the long side towards the middle, then fold in again, iron in place, stitch to bag front and back. You’re finished straps will be approximately 3/4” inch wide. Linen is sturdy enough that you don’t need any interfacing for straps this skinny. (Wider straps would need interfacing.) Attach straps to your bag exterior in a pleasing manner, baste in place:
Assemble the lining in same manner, leaving the bottom with 8” opening. Sew the bag to the lining, right sides together around top, pull lining through, topstitch the top of bag and don’t forget to sew the lining shut. I opted to have some pockets inside but you don’t have to:
Yummy, ain’t it?
The beige linen version is even faster without ruffles: