'Abstract Jungle' Tote Bag
Project by Gill Rich
You can't have too many tote bags and this one is lovely and roomy. I take it to work and it fits everything in it that I need. You can easily make it in an afternoon.
Approximate size 12” x16 ”
You will need the following to make your bag:
A bundle of fat quarters with five different fabrics. I chose the Abstract Jungle Craft Cotton Co
Cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter.
Erasable marker pen
Coordinating thread, I used Gutterman Thread
Lining fabric (0.5)
Wadding. I used Heritage Premium Quilt Wadding mid-weight by the Craft Cotton Co.
Use a ¼” seam allowance throughout unless otherwise stated.
Firstly, I cut the lining pieces which measured 12.5” x 16.5” I used this to roughly cut the sizes of the strips of fabric. I also drew a diagonal line to opposite corners.
1. To start, cut two strips from each of your five fabrics measuring 2.5 inches wide.
2. Take one of your strips and stitch it to another strip, press your seams open. Using your lining piece as a guide, cut the length to within a couple of inches of the actual size. This allows for trimming when you have finished. Carry on adding your strips until you have completed the top half of the bag front.
3. Next, you need to complete the bottom half. In the same manner, add your first strip along the bottom edge of the first half, ie from top left to bottom right. Carry on adding your strips in the same manner until you have completed the bottom half. I also did some fancy stitching on a couple of the strips in a contrasting colour.
4. Now, repeat this process to make a bag back. Cut two pieces of your wadding the same size as your bag panels and baste one to each bag panel on the wrong side. Stitch the two panels together along the bottom and both sides.
5. To make your bag lining, firstly I put an inside pocket on one lining piece as pockets are always handy! To make your pocket, take one of your abstract print fabrics and cut a piece 8” x 11”. Fold in half right sides together, press and stitch along the three open sides but leave a gap in one side approximately 2” so that you can turn your pocket right side out. Trim off the corners. Turn the right side out and press flat, closing the raw edges inside. Pin to one of the lining pieces and stitch in place. I also stitched from top to bottom about half way across the pocket to make two smaller pockets.
6. Stitch your two lining panels together along the two sides and the bottom. Again you need to leave a turning gap in one of the sides approximately 4”. The top is left open as we will attach it to the bag later.
7. To make the box bottom for both the bag and the lining. With your pieces turned wrong side out, line up the bottom seam with the side seam and lay flat. Measure up from the corner about 4” and draw a line. Stitch along this line then cut off the excess. Repeat for all four corners.
8. To make the handles, cut two pieces of your chosen fabric 4” x 28”. You can make your handles as long or as short as you wish but I found 28” about the right length for me. Fold the pieces in half lengthways and press. Open out then place your raw edges to the centre, on the fold line and press again. Top stitch along both edges on both handles.
9. Measure about 5” in from each side of the bag and pin/baste your handle in place. Make sure that the handle is not twisted when you have sewn both ends on the top of the bag.
10. Turn your lining inside out and your bag right side out. Place the outer bag inside the lining and match up your side seams. Make sure that your handles are tucked down in between the two layers.. Pin your lining to your bag all the way around. Stitch all the way around the top with about ½” seam. Fasten off your ends securely.
11. Turn the bag right side out through the turning gap that was left in the side seam. Roll the seams flat on the top of the bag and pin/press. Top Stitch all the way around.
I added a black tassel to one of the bag handles just to finish it off. Your tote bag is now complete so enjoy and show it off to your friends!
Made by Gill Rich for The Craft Cotton Co 2022.