Hello, Lovely People of the World!
I know that school has recently ended and we’re now in full summer swing. We’re all busy thinking of beach vacations and cool drinks…who wants some more lemonade, aside from me!?
However, now’s the perfect time to get a few projects ready before next school year begins, because it will pop back around before we know it!
So with that in mind, I’ve teamed up with Quilter Steff to bring you this sweet little tutorial for a S-U-P-E-R C-U-T-E Note Tote (you know, because it looks like a giant piece of notebook paper, red margin and all!)
Suuuuuure, you can make one for your little school-goer, but you know you’re going to want one of these for yourself too! (In that case, consider adding some extra bells and whistles like an inside pocket, a small pen compartment or even a handy key loop!)
Let’s get started!
Cut 2 pieces of “Handwriting” fabric 13″ x 15.5″
The handwriting should be running along the 13″ cut so it is running across the bag like it would on a page. From these two pieces cut a strip off of the left side of each piece that is 3″ wide.
Cut 2 pieces of red Sketch fabric for straps 4″ x 22″ (or longer depending on preference).
Cut 2 pieces of black polka dot (Sketch Dot) for bag lining 13.25″ x 15.5″
All seams are sewn with a scant 1/4 inch.
1.Start by piecing the outside panels of the bag. Begin by laying out the three pieces that make up each side of the tote. From left to right, you’ll have the 3″ strip of “handwriting” fabric followed by the piece of red “margin” fabric and then the wider piece of handwriting fabric. Sew the two narrow pieces (the 3″ hand writing fabric to the 1.5″ red strip) together first, and press the seams towards the handwriting fabric.
2. Sew these two pieces to the large handwriting fabric, pairing the red “margin” fabric to the large piece of handwriting fabric, and press those seams towards the handwriting fabric. By pressing the seams towards the handwriting fabric you make a natural depression in the margin fabric that provides space for the handle to settle when attaching it to the bag. These three pieces complete the side panel of the bag. You will need to sew together the panels for both sides of the tote.
4. Unfold the long strip of fabric and use the center line (created from ironing) as a guide for folding the fabric in towards the center of the strip. The fabric will be folded in approximately one inch from each edge of the fabric towards the mid-line. You will now have the raw edges of the fabric meeting in the middle of the strip along the folded line. Be sure to iron so the shape of the straps is nice and crisp. Fold and press the fabric along the center line once more to create a handle that is 4 layers thick.
5. Take the freshly pressed strap to the sewing machine. Sew along the long edges of the strap approximately 1/8 of an inch in from the edges. You do not have to sew across the skinny ends as those will be tucked into the inside of the bag. This stitching will help provide durability to the handle.
6. Now you will want to determine how long you would like the handles to be. Ours on our bag are about 22″ long. If you’d like a longer drop, you can make them longer, or if the bag is for a small child, you can make them shorter.
7. Now you will sew the handles into the top of the bag, and at the same time sew the inside lining to the top edge of the outside panel. You will place the outside panel of the tote right-side up on the table with the margin on the left-hand side. Lay the outside panel with right side facing down, being sure to accurately line-up the top edge and sides of the two pieces. Pin the pieces together in the middle of the upper seam.
8. Once pinned into place you will take the three layers (side panel, handle and lining) to the sewing machine to sew along the top seam of the bag. You will want to sew 1/4 inch in from the top of the bag, and back stitch over where the handles go through the seam.
You will repeat this process for the second side of the bag.
9. Once both sides have been sewn along the top seams, you will press one top seam toward the lining, and the second toward the outside panel. This will allow the seams to nicely “lock” together when you sew the sides of the tote together. After they have been pressed, lay the two pieces on top of one another with the lining fabric paired up, and the outside panels lined up. You will want to pin the pieces into place, especially at the side seams where the two panels come together (the seams you just pressed).
Ta-daa! You’ve just made your very own Note Tote!
Now when the end of summer rolls around, you’ll have the perfect bag to to take all those shiny new school supplies to the first day of class in.
Enjoy…and, as always, study hard!