Monday, April 25, 2011

Summer Tote Tutorial

I love a good knock off.  I would have to say that 80% of my ideas start from seeing another product and trying to figure out how to make it myself.

As Summer is just around the corner I have been getting in the mood for a new pool/beach bag.  During the summer I find I tote around 3 times as many things (which is saying a lot since I am the mother of 3 boys) then I do any other time of the year.  Which means...I need a good big cute bag. 

Where did I find my inspiration to knock off today...
(Actually, this bag is from last year's Pottery Barn collection)
I love of pockets.  I love all the room.  I love the simplicity. 

Here is my knock off version
I made mine a little larger then Pottery Barns and added a little bit of added "Tasha" Ruffle.

Do you want to make your own?
Lets get started

Fabric (Decorators Fabric or something pretty sturdy)
Sewing Machine
Serger (if you have one)
Rotary Cutter and Mat
Iron and Ironing Board

I did not line my Summer Tote. I choose to use decorator fabric so it would already be stiff and hold up better.  If you decide to use cotton fabric you may want to line it and use iron-on interfacing. 

First up is cutting out all the pieces:
I used my rotary cutter and mat to do it all.

You are going to cut:
2 Main Body Pieces 20 inches (length) x 18 inches (height)
2 Strap Pieces 26 inches x 5 inches
2 Side Pieces 5 inches x 18 inches
1 Bottom Piece 5 inches x 20 inches
1 Large Pocket Piece 20 inches x 11 inches
1 Ruffle Piece 6 inches x 32 inches

I choose to use two different fabrics to add contrast to my bag.  You could use all of one fabric or you could change which pieces you want out of which fabric.

Ruffle Side of the Bag:
After all your pieces are cut grab your ruffle piece because we are going to start with the Ruffle Side of the bag.
1. Take the ruffle piece and turn it right side down.  Fold and iron down about a 1/4 - 1/2 inch on both the top and bottom.   Go to your sewing machine and turn the stitch length to the highest you can and sew along the top and bottom. 
2. Take one thread at both ends and start pulling to gather the fabric.
3. Your fabric should look ruffled something like this.  Ruffle the fabric until it is 20 inches in length.  (The same length as the main body fabric pieces.)
4. Then grab your iron and iron the ruffle flat. 
5.  Get one of your main body fabric pieces and lay it out right side up.  Take the ironed ruffle and place it on the main body piece where you want it. Pin it in place.
6. Set your stitch length back to normal and sew the ruffle down.  The ruffle side of the bag is done for now.  Set it aside.

Pocket Side of Bag:
7. Grab your pocket piece of fabric. Fold it down about an inch and iron it flat. 
8. Sew it down.
9. It should look like this when you are done.
10. Grab your second Main Body piece of fabric.  Line the pocket so the bottom (non-sewn part) meets at the bottom of the main body piece. 
11. I wanted 3 pockets in the back of the bag.  So, now we are going to measure out where we will sew down the pockets at.  I decided to go in 7 1/2 inches from both sides of the fabric.
12. Pin down the line you are going to sew.  There should be two pinned down lines.
13. Sew the two lines down.
14. It should look something like this when you are done.  (Now your pocket fabric is secure on the main body piece.  The side of the pockets are still open though.)

Sewing the bottom of the bag on:
15. Grab the Main Body Piece with the Ruffle sewn on and the Bottom Fabric Piece.  Place the Ruffle Main Body Piece right side up.  Take the Bottom piece and pin it right side down (so both right sides are facing each other) to the main body fabric piece.
16. (I am serging all my inside sewing so I do not have any raw edges.) Sew the piece together and follow up with serging it.  (If you do not have a serger just sew the pieces together.  You can pinking shear the edges at the end so they are not as raw if you want to.)
17.  Once you have done that iron the fabric open.  Then grab your Pocket Main Body fabric piece.  Pin the other side of the bottom piece to the bottom of the pocket main body piece.
18. It should be where your raw edge of the pocket fabric is.  Sew/Serge it together.  Iron this piece open as well.  Now, you should have 1 big long main body piece.

Sewing on the sides of the bag:

19.  Open your 1 Main Big Body Piece up.  Lay it right side up.  Take one of the side pieces.  (This part can be pretty tricky.  Do not get too frustrated.  You may have to unpick a little, but that is okay.  Read carefully.) Lay the side piece right side down ON TOP of the bottom piece (that is now sewn to the two main body piece.).  It should be directly over the bottom piece. 
20. Pin it in place at the top.
21. Sew along where you have pinned it BUT only where the bottom piece is at.  Do not sew the whole length. Cut out two small squares in the top corners.  This is going to help you sew the sides.
22.  Now turn the side and pin it to the Ruffle main body side. 
23. Sew that side down.
24.  Now it is even trickier.  Turn the bottom piece to the last side you have not sewn. (On this same side of the bag) Can you see how one side of your bag is forming?
25. Pin it down
26. Sew/Serge it down. (Do not serge until you are done and are sure all 3 sides are sewn right and you like how they all meet.) 

NOW DO IT TO THE OTHER SIDE!  (Repeat steps 19-26 with the other side piece of fabric)  When you are done BOTH sides will be in place and your bag should be formed! 

If you are anything like me your will let out a happy sigh of relief because you are almost done!

Finishing the Top of the Bag:
27.  Now that the bag is basically formed we are going to finish off the top and then add the handles.  First, finishing the top. Grab your iron and the top of your bag.  Turn down the top towards the inside of the bag about a 1/4 of an inch.
28. Then turn it down again so there is no raw edge.  Pin it in place.
29.  Sew down all the way around the bag.  Somehow I forgot to take a picture of this step, but you can see how it should look like in this picture.

Making the Handles:
30. Take your two handle pieces of fabric. 
31. Fold each of them in half.  Iron them down.
32. Open them up.  Using the ironed middle crease as a guide fold the bottom up to the middle crease and iron it down.
33. Turn the fabric and do the same to the other side.  Iron them down.
34. Fold it back up along the crease.  Iron it down.
35. It should look like this.
36. Open up all 4 ends and fold down about a 1/4- 1/2 of an inch and iron it down. Fold it all back up and iron flat.

37. Sew along all the edges.  Do this to both handles.

Sewing the Handles Down:

38. Mark the middle of each side with a pin.  Then place your handles where you would like to stitch them down.
39. Place a pin in them and sew the handles down on both sides.
40. and 41. You are now done!!!  Happiness!

It should look something like this!
Now, you have a fun Summer Tote to haul all your towels, sunscreen, snacks, shovels, etc. in
I am loving mine already!

This was originally posted at Kojo Designs during their Knock Off Series. 
I am linking this up to THESE Link Parties


Sonja said...

Awesome! Your timing is perfect. I have a brand new nephew and his mommy would love to have a bag like this for a diaper bag. Buying fabrics today!!!!

kristen said...

I know I already told you this, but I LOVE it!

Jaime said...

Holy Cow Tasha. That is one big tutorial!! Thanks for being so generous to explain it soooo thoroughly!!

Debbie @ OtRD said...

Love that bag!! Great tutorial.

Rowdy Family said...

Love it! thanks for sharing all the details

Anonymous said...

I love this! If I were to make it, I would try to hunt down the same material and everything--so cute! I've done a few things with a sewing machine, but the past items I've attempted making have not gone well. Maybe I'll use this project as a chance to start fresh. ;)

Julie said...

Yep, I definitely love this summer tote! So handy. Your fabrics are great together too. I will have to try this out. I think it would be a great gift too for some of those summer birthdays coming up!

Andrea . Charcoal and crayons said...

I love big tote bags! Lately, I've been thinking of making my own so thank you for the great tutorial. I think yours looks better than the Pottery Barn version!

Katie said...

This is so genius! Thanks for sharing!


colorchic said...

Love the colors you used! I think I will have to make one... I'll have to add a bit of ribbon though ;)

Lindy@Itsy Bitsy Paper said...

This is fantastic! I love it and the large size is perfect for everything that you have to carry around!

Fabric Bows and More said...

Great Job! Come and join our party:

Cara said...

This is adorable! I've been saving up Capri Sun pouches to make one of those totes you see around for the pool this summer, but I like this even better :0) I also have three kids and I LOVE the size. Thanks for the tutorial!

Maridith @ Strictly Homemade said...

This is a fabulous tutorial!! I remember seeing this on Kojo, right? I know you will love this bag this summer!

Thanks for linking up to my Strictly Homemade Tuesday Linky Party!!

Gwen @ Gwenny Penny said...

I love this bag, Tasha. It's the perfect size. Great tutorial!

Maggie said...

Thanks for the great tutorial!! This will be a perfect tote for the pool this summer :)

Mandy said...

i am in the market for a new summer tote too! thanks for sharing the tutorial....can't wait to give it a try!

Melissa said...

I love it and will be saving it for when I have time to make myself a diaper bag!!

Rachel said...

Great Bag! Your directions were fantastic clear to understand Thank you
Sincerely Rachel

MomLaur83 said...

I made the bag! Thanks for the tutorial!

Brittanie said...

This is a wonderful tutorial! I can't wait to make this bag!! Thank you so much for sharing!!

Our Pinteresting Family said...

Great tutorial. I'm definitely going to have to try this. :) ~ Megan

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