"Sew a bag or tote bag out of pretty fabric to swap, white elephant style, at the February meeting. The bag should be either made of quilting weight fabric and lined, or home dec. weight fabric with finished seams (either bias tape or flat felled seams). Pockets are optional, but encouraged. Try to challenge yourself!"
If you are new to sewing bags or just need a little inspiration, I've come up with a few tutorials that will hopefully get you pointed in the right direction and in the mood for bag making.
Lined Tote Bags
|Photo by of Dana Willard of MADE*|
Dana Willard's Reversible, Lined, Color-Blocked Tote Bag Tutorial is a great starting place for a simple, stylish tote with straightforward and well written assembly instructions. An even simpler bag is the Simple Reversible Tote Bag from Skip to My Lou (simpler because it has no color blocking)- though if you are new to boxed bottoms, be sure to read Dana's tutorial- she does a particularly thorough job of explaining that part of the process.
Tote Bags with Finished Seams
|Photo by Rikka J. of Ricochet and Away!*|
As an alternative to a formal lining for your tote bag, you can also use a heavier weight home decor fabric or quilted fabric to create a sturdy tote. If you go this route, however, you'll need to do a little extra seam finishing to make the inside as pretty as the outside. Rikka J.'s DIY Quilted Tote Bag Tutorial is a fantastic example of how to finish seams with bias tape- plus she gives you a few unique ideas for quilting that are sure to inspire you.
Another approach to finishing inside seams when using heavier fabric is the flat felled seam and Sarai Mitnik from Collette Patterns does an excellent job of explaining how to execute this technique in her tutorial How to Sew a Flat Felled Seam Without a Specialty Foot.
Fancy Extra Touches
While zippers, pockets and other details aren't required, per se, it never hurts to have extras on your bag to help make sure it gets stolen each turn at the swap. Here are some tutorials for a few types of these embellishments:
- Outer Pockets: Six Pocket Tote Bag from Better Homes and Gardens
- Interior Pockets (No Zipper): Basic Pocket Tote from MADE
- Interior Pockets (Zippered): Zippered Inner Bag Pocket from U-Handbag
*All photos used with permission