Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer Tote Tutorial!

Welcome to summer! We're celebrating this glorious, sunny season with the Bella Casa Summer Tote tutorial, made with none other than the Bella Casa fabric collection. We hope you enjoy the tutorial! Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win some Bella Casa prints for yourself (see details at the bottom of the post).

The tote has exposed boxed out corners just for fun--cover the tips with a button if you like!

These fresh red and blue fabrics really put you in the mood for berry picking--strawberries and blueberries! We used the chevron for the main print on the tote, though the circle print would be equally fun. Two great prints--one for the outer bag, and one for the lining!

2/3 yard red chevron print
1 yard blue tonal print
2/3 yard blue/white circle print
1/3 yard red tonal print
Pellon Decor Bond
Pellon 987F Fusible Fleece

Red chevron:
Two 18" x 21" pieces for outer bag

Blue tonal:
Three 8" x 42" strips for handles
Two 10-1/2" x 21" pieces for outer bag bottom

Blue/white circle:
Two 20" x 21" pieces for lining

Red tonal:
One 10-1/2" x 21" piece for inner pocket

Decor Bond:
Two 18" x 21" pieces

Fusible Fleece:
Two 20" x 21" pieces
Three 2" x 36" strips

Step 1 Cut one 8" x 42" blue tonal strip in half. Sew each half strip to the short end of a full strip. Press each strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Unfold and fold each long raw edge to the center fold line. Position a 2" wide strip of fusible fleece on the blue strip as shown, and then half of a second fusible fleece strip (Note: This makes a handle approximately 54" long. The straps on this bag each measure 44-1/2" long. You can adjust the length as desired, adding more fusible fleece to fill out the length of the blue fabric handle pieces if you like.) Following manufacturer's instructions, press to fuse in place. Repeat for second handle.

Step 2 Fold the fabric in to create a handle approximately 2" wide, with raw edges sandwiched inside. Topstitch 1/4" from both long edges and then again two to three times in the handle center as you like. 

Step 3 Following manufacturer's directions, fuse each 18" x 21" Decor Bond piece to the wrong side of an 18" x 21" red chevron piece. Measure 10-1/2" up from the bottom edge of the chevron piece and mark a horizontal line. Position one handle so the ends extend 1/2" below the marked line and pin in place, 5" in from the left and right sides of chevron piece. Test handle over your shoulder to decide on length. (Ours measured 44-1/2", but you may prefer yours longer or shorter.)

Step 4 Position the 10-1/2" x 21" blue piece right sides together on the top of the chevron piece, aligning the bottom edge of the blue with the marked line. (See how the handle ends peek out?). Stitch along the bottom edge of the blue using a 1/4" seam allowance. Flip blue down, press, and topstitch 1/4" from where the blue meets the red chevron in the middle of the bag. Trim blue piece at bag bottom to align with red chevron piece if needed. Repeat handle and blue fabric addition on second red chevron outer bag piece. 

Step 5 Stitch a box and X on the handle to secure it to the outer bag chevron piece approximately 2-1/2" from the top edge. Repeat on all four handle pieces.

Step 6  Position the two outer bag pieces right sides together and sew along sides and bottom. Turn right side out.
Step 7 Manipulate bag so a side seam and bottom seam are aligned, creating a pointed corner as shown.  Measure 3" in from the corner and draw a horizontal line. 

Step 8 Fold the corner up on the marked line (line will be inside what you see here) and pin tip in place. 

Step 9 Stitch across the tip to secure, making sure that you are not sewing through all layers of the bag--just the tip and the side of the bag the tip is pinned to. Stitch back and forth a few times to secure. Repeat on opposite side. Note: If you're prefer a more traditional hidden corner, turn the bag right side out, skip steps 7-9, and follow Steps 14 and 15 that explain how to box the lining corner.

Step 10 Fold the 10-1/2" x 21" red tonal piece in half wrong sides together to measure 10-1/2" square. Sew around 3 sides, leaving an opening for turning. Turn right side out and press, including pressing the raw edges in on the opening. Topstitch along the folded edge for the pocket top.

Step 11 Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse each 20" x 21" fusible fleece piece to the wrong side of a 20" x 21" blue/white circles piece. 
Step 12 Position the pocket (topstitched edge up) on one 21" x 20" blue/white circle piece (21" dimension should be the width; 20" the height). Center pocket from left to right and pin 6" up fro bottom edge. Topstitch along sides and bottom to secure (this also closes the opening in the pocket).

Step 13 Layer lining pieces right sides together and stitch along sides and bottom using a 1/4" seam allowance. Leave an opening for turning along the bottom. 

Step 14 Cut 2-1/2" squares out of both bottom corners. 

Step 15 Fold lining so side and bottom seams align, matching raw edges, and stitch along raw edges to box the corner. Repeat on opposite corner. 

Step 16 Slide the outer bag (right side out) inside the lining (still wrong side out) and pin along the top edge, matching raw edges and side seams. Make sure handles are tucked inside! Stitch around the top edge of the bag to secure.

Step 17 Turn bag right side out through opening in lining. Handstitch opening closed. Tuck lining inside the bag. 
Step 18 The lining is taller than the bag, creating a strip of lining that peeks out of the bag top. Align outer bag and lining bottoms to determine how much lining will be exposed at top. Pin in place and topstitch on outer bag just below the lining edge.

A peek into the inside of the bag:

This bag looks and feels like summer!

Perfect for beach or lake house trips, or just for errands around town.

How would you like some of the Bella Casa prints to play with? Simply leave a comment sharing your favorite summer activity for a chance to win a fat quarter bundle of Bella Casa. This giveaway is open through Monday, June 30 at 11:59 pm EST. We'll randomly draw a winner on Tuesday. 


  1. This bag is cute! I do love the circle print. Want to go canoeing with me? I live near a beautiful lake, and it's fun to just relax and be out on the water.

  2. What a cool Tote!! Thank you for sharing the Tutorial too!! :)

    Wow...Favorite thing to do in the Summer???? ONE thing? Arrrrgh!! Love soooo many things! lol How about havin the NC daughter come up here...and the other Kiddo's comin' over...and a fun cookout & games, and sittin by a fire & chattin' til the wee hours? But also, THIS Summer.. am teaching my Grangirlie how to sew! We are going to make her Daddy a Throw! a Surprise! giggle....

  3. What a nice bag!
    My favorite summer thing to do is laying on the sun, reading a book or meet some good friends to do bbq.

  4. Having a summer birthday, there are so many things I love to do. Love the sun, going barefoot, having coffee on the deck, all the fresh fruit.... so many I can't name them all. And I could learn to live with this tote in those fabrics. And it gives me an idea for some chevrons that have been patiently waiting. Gotta go....

  5. Looks like a great tutorial and I surely love those fabrics! I just enjoy an open window with fresh air. Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  6. I love laying in the pool reading a good book and listening to the radio. Love that bag

  7. My favorite summer activity would be camping and sitting around the campfire at night with my family and friends.

  8. Grilling with friends, if we can keep the mosquitos away!

  9. Can never have too many totes. I love to lounge by the pool or on the beach with a good book. So relaxing.

  10. Watching my youngest participate in swim team. I like to take a dip in the pool, too. ;) Thanks for the chance. The bag is gorgeous.

  11. Thanks for the great tutorial. Even though my husband doesn't think I need another bag, I think(know) that I need one of these.

  12. Such a great tote - thanks!
    I love to go beach combing !

  13. Hi!!!! Very pretty tote!!!! I love to go swimming and camping!!!!!

  14. This is such pretty fabric and made a great summer tote. Summer for me anymore means opening my windows and getting fresh air into my sewing room. Health problems won't let me go out much to enjoy all the fun summer things I used to do. But, hubby and I do go for day trips to look for new things we can find, usually fruit/veggie stands and new places to stop to eat that we've never been before.

  15. Great tote and tutorial! I love floating the river! :)

  16. Traveling but that may not count because I love to travel any time. thanks.

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  18. I love the colors and fabrics you used for the tote. I love to travel and to pick fresh fruits and vegetables in the summer. Here in Georgia we have quite a few pick your own farms. Thanks for the great tute and giveaway.

  19. This tote would be very handy for my trip to Europe. I have some light-weight denim and patriotic reds, whites, and blues that would look great for this tote bag.

  20. i am so in love with that Chevron stripe! Looks perfect for the summer and, of course, I'd love to have some of my own fabric! Red, White, and Blue, is always a winner in my world, too. My favorite thing to do in the summer is visit family that works in the academic world and can't travel during the rest of the year.