Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Summer Tote Tutorial

Today we've got another red, white and blue tutorial for you!
This summer tote is made with the Marblehead A Star is Born collection by Ro Gregg and uses Pellon 100 Vinyl Fuse to create a shiny, water-repellant finish for on-the-go fun.

We love how the Vinyl Fuse adds sturdiness and wet protection to the bag--perfect for beach and pool fun! And the red, white and blue prints make this tote ideal for 4th of July picnics or all summer long! Plus, since the seams are all hidden within double-fold binding (so easy to make!), there are no exposed raw edges and no lining to deal with. What could be better?!?!

You'll Need:
7/8 yard of the Marblehead mosaic print
1 yard coordinating light blue dot
2 yards Pellon 100 Vinyl Fuse
Basic sewing supplies

From the Marblehead mosaic print, cut one 18" x 42" piece and two 8-1/2" x 16" pieces.

From the light blue dot, cut three 6" x 42" strips and four 3" x 42" strips.

From the Vinyl Fuse cut one 17" x 41" piece and two 8" x 17" pieces, leaving the backing in place.

Making the Bag:
Following manufacturer's directions, adhere the larger piece of Vinyl-Fuse to the 18" x 42" mosaic print piece and the smaller pieces to the 8-1/2" x 16" mosaic print pieces.

Trim the larger piece to measure 16-1/2" x 40" and the two smaller pieces to measure 7" x 16".

Fold each 3" x 42" light blue dot strip in half lengthwise and press. Open the fold up and press each raw edge in to the center crease, and then refold on center line. This creates the double-fold binding. Set aside. 

To make the handle straps, sew the three 6" x 42" light blue dot strips short ends together into a long strip and fold and press it just like you did with the previous strips. Join the ends to create a large loop and press seam open. Topstitch 1/4" in on each side of the entire loop. 

Lay out the 16-1/2" x 40" laminated piece right side up. Find and mark the center point (20" mark).  Hold the seam of the loop in one hand and stretch the loop to find the exact opposite end. Mark this spot with a pin. Position the loop/straps on the laminated piece as shown, aligning the seam and the marked opposite end on the marked center line. The straps should be 2-1/2" in from each of the long edges. Pin in place. Note: To avoid making visible pinholes in the laminated fabric, position pins within the strap. 

Topstitch on existing stitching on both sides of the strap to secure it in place, stopping 4" from the ends of the laminated piece. Where you stop, stitch a box and an "X" to further secure.

Lay the laminated piece wrong side up. Mark 3-1/2" on either side of the center point.

Pin the 7" x 16" laminated piece wrong sides together, matching the short edges of the small piece with the marked dots. Keep pins in the seam allowance as much as possible. Begin sewing at the center point. When you reach the corner of the smaller piece, with needle down, pivot and continue matching raw edges of fabric. Stitch to the top edge and back stitch. Return to the center point and stitch the other side. At this point, your bag should look like the photo below, with seams facing out (it's okay--we'll be covering them with double-fold binding!). Repeat on the opposite side of the bag using the other small laminated piece. 

Now your bag looks like a bag, even though it's one with all the seams showing! 

Pull out the double-fold binding tape you made out of the light blue dot fabric. Unfold, match raw edges with a side seam of the bag, and stitch using a 1/4" seam allowance. You'll be adding this binding strip down the side of the bag, across the side bottom, and back up the other side--just follow your earlier seam line. Trim excess.

Fold the double-fold binding around the seam allowance so it looks like this: 
(So basically the center fold is touching the bag seam allowance.) Pin in place (again, pinning within the binding fabric), and then topstitch to secure all layers. Fold fabric to miter corners as needed. 

Repeat on the opposite side of the bag. 

The last step: adding a piece of double-fold binding to the top of the bag. One strip isn't quite enough, so piece the remaining two folded strips together and add in the same manner. 

And you're done! A perfect bag for summer fun!


  1. Hello:
    I own the blog Layers of Hope- Quilting 911 and right now we need quilts for the families of the 19 firefighters who perished in Arizona. We have many spoken for but many more to be adopted. If you can make a quilt for a family please let me now and if not I would appreciate you posting the need on your blog!

  2. Very nice! What is the finished size of this bag?

    1. Hi Sue, It measures approximately 16" x 16" x 7".

  3. Very nice looking tote. Thank you for the great tutorial.