I was in the Sewing Shop admiring the treasures within when I spotted some lovely tote bags hanging up so I bought a bit of fabric to have a go myself as I figured it was all straight lines 🙂 Thanks to Louise’s tuition, I understood the bag construction a lot better so got our sewing machine out for a go.
I took a moment to figure out what I was going to do with the strap. In the shop, the strap was long and on the outside of the bag. I found this tutorial for a placemat tote bag which was like what I wanted to do. I had tried out roughly how long I wanted in a handle at the shop by asking the shop assistant to measure what was on one of the sample bags. I had a long piece of webbing so I carefully cut the piece in half making sure I had to equal length pieces.
A bit of measuring and drawing on the line where I’d cut out the fabric. Not all fat quarters are created equally it would seem 🙂 I saw some measurements of 13.5 x 14 inches for this reversible tote but I thought it seemed a tiny bit small for what I wanted as was planning a 0.5 inch seam allowance.
I ended up with measurements of 15 x 16 inches. Those chalk pencils that Louise recommended came in really handy and I got another set for Christmas. I cut two long pieces of fabric the full length of the bag as I folded the fabric so I only had to cut one side so 15 x 32 inches.
As it was putting the handle on the outside of the bag, I had to incorporate the webbing into the seam at the bottom so I had to create a seam. If I had just put a normal handle on, I would have probably have just left the fold at the bottom but I also wanted to make a flat end for the bottom of the bag so it was more tote-like than magazine-bag-like. So I carefully folded the tube in half and cut along the centre to create two pieces.
I had to call for some technical assistance as I wasn’t too sure about refilling the bobbin and did it by hand. The feed dog (?) wasn’t pulling up the bobbin thread so I had to get pao to take a look. We’ve since decided that the feed dog needed a clean and pao took it apart to give it a good service – he said it was pretty dirty. Don’t do what I do and sew round the notches. I eventually remembered that I was folding the wing bits out and sewing in a diagonal.
Luckily I had a bit of thinking time as my glamorous assistant took at drink out of my glass so I didn’t go mad and cut out a straight seam which I was going to do when I was looking at my strangely notched bag. Luckily, I had only sewed one side up before I ran out of bobbin thread so I had a chance to fiddle about with it and examine the construction before I started sewing again.
Of course, I had to wake Sirius up to take a look at the bag. He wasn’t all that impressed so I’ll have to try harder next time. It’s not perfect but I figured it was good enough to tote some lunch around and it has been a good experiment to see if I could do something by myself.