Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Instructions for Reusable tote

As promised a step by step instructions for these tote/grocery bags.
First I cut 2-20" squares of medium weight cotton twill fabric. I use the heavier cotton because it stands up to more use than the quilting weight cotton. Sometimes I just cut a piece of fabric 20X40 so that I can eliminaste one of the seams.

Second I cut 2 straps of twill strapping. I get mine from www.countrybrookdesign.com they have a variety of colors and designs.

Then the sewing starts. I start by folding over 1/4th inch of the bag top and stitching that down.
Now fold that over to seal the raw edges and stitch across again.
Now you are going to attach the straps. I make my straps 2 yards long because I like to be able to hang the bags on the back of my wheelchair. You can always tie a knot to make them shorter but it is impossible to make short straps long! I fold the bag so I can measure where I want to attach the straps. I divide the width into thirds and mark with pins or a marker.
Then I open the fabric again and start sewing a strap centered over my markers. I sew up one side and then sew back and forth a few times across the top of the strap and then sew down the other side of the strap.
Now you want to make sure your strap doesn't have any twists in it then center the other end on your second mark and sew this strap just like the first side. Now turn the bag over and repeat that with the second strap. I always mark both straps while the fabric is folded because I want the straps to be in the same position on both sides.

Now you want to close up any open side seams and then sew up the bottom too.

Now you can leave it this way or you can pinch a pleat into the bottom. I center the seams on the side and sew a pleat up 3" across to make a 3" bottom in the tote. This is not necessary but it makes it much easier to carry bulky items in the totes. Now turn it right side out and you have a great gift for anyone who likes to be green!
And yes I do 99% of my sewing on a machine that is older than me! It is a 1942 Singer that I bought from the estate of a seamstress and I truly love it. It is set into a cabinet that is blonde which I don't like but I am never not sewing something so no time to refinish the cabinet in something more to my taste.
Happy stitching! Next I will post photos of my bowtie blocks.