Man's Tote Bag

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Yay I did it! Here is the last and final tutorial for the month of September. A bit of a mission but possibly the motivation that I needed to get some projects finished.

Well, I finished the project but my camera memory card is dead so I can't take any more photos of it - cry!

I am linking to La Maison Reid's blog again as I used the basis of her tutorial to get me started, changing a few things on the way to make it a bit more manly and practical.

I started off with two rectangles of fabric for the outer layer (45x40cm) and three for the inner layer (2 at 45x40cm, and the other one for the pocket will be 50cm wide at the top, 45cm wide at the bottom and then 35cm high-isosceles triangle shape). Omit the third layer of the inner fabric if you are not wanting a pocket put in or if you are wanting a real simple project to start off with.

To cut out the inner layer fabric, I used a ruler, protractor and fabric marker but feel free to use another method to cut out your fabric! The outer layer was easy as it had lines in the pattern.

To make the tote have a flat bottom, rather than going straight down we are going to square the corners.

Cut a square 5cm by 5cm out of the bottom right and left corners of all layers.

Next step was to make the pocket.
Take the shorter piece of the fabric for the inner layer, fold down and hem just a bit bigger than what your elastic is to make a casing for it.

Thread one end of the elastic through the casing hole using a safety pin. Pin one end and sew it in place. Now with the end still attached to the roll of elastic, stretch it out so that your pocket is now the same width as the other piece of inner fabric and stitch in place.

Fold both sides of your pocket under and sew to your other layer of fabric.

Now sew a line through all of the single layers of fabric before you sew them together and finish off squaring your corners (with the exception of the layer of the pocket, which you will have already sewn together. For the pocket layer, sew the line through both layers.

Also, if you are wanting two pockets on the inside instead of just one massive one, sew a line down the middle of your pocket (through both layers).

Pin all three inner layers together so that the pocket is facing the inside.

Sew sides and bottom.

Do the same for the outer layers.

I didn't have photos for the part where you square the corners because my camera had died so I have borrowed ones from La Maison Reid's blog.

Take the corners and open them up.

Match the side and bottom seams together and then stitch across.

This will form the bottom of your tote. I popped a bit of cardboard in between the lining and the outer fabric for a bit more sturdiness in the bottom. Turn right sides out.

Now onto the straps. My finished straps were about 145cm long and 5cm wide to fit a man (going over the head and shoulder rather than just hanging off one shoulder). In most other cases you wouldn't need to make them this long. So it's completely up to you.

I simply take two pieces of material the same size - at least 4 or 5cm wider than the finished width. I stitch one side together and press it open. then I press the other sides under with right sides facing out and simply top stitch down either side. Probably not the proper way but works for me. Or you can always just stitch them together with the right sides together and turn inside out. Then topstitch for durability.

Pin your straps (here is a tutorial for proper ones) between the lining and the outer fabric. My straps attached to both ends of the tote. Pin the hem of the lining and outer fabric. If you can, (it's quite tricky) stitch through the lining and the outside fabric from top to bottom in each corner then sew the top hem.

You're done!

Hopefully I can put up the rest of the pictures once my camera is up and running again.


La Maison Reid said...

Wow...never thought of making a man's tote before...but I guess they need to carry stuff around, too! Would love to see your finished project. Let me know when your camera is back in action and you have some pictures!


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