47. Tartan Tote Bag

I’ve finished even closer to the wire with this week’s make.  Well, in truth, it has taken me 2 weeks as I have had to wait while ebay delivered me some brown canvas.

This make came about when I saw the price of some very trendy tote bags in one of the most popular stores for teenagers in the UK. Almost £50 is way too much for a fabric bag in my book so I set about making one.

The tartan in this bag was a remnant that had made its way into my fabric stash after my mum made herself a skirt in the early 70s. Yes, I keep fabric that long! I’m very pleased to find a good use for it at last.

I started by cutting a rectangle of tartan and a similar sized rectangle of lining then sewing them together along what would be the top edge of the bag.

I then cut another piece of tartan and matching piece of lining to make a front pocket.  I attached it at the top of the pocket and then folded it down about 1 cm so that the tartan folds over slightly.  I then sewed almost all the way round the remaining 3 sides, leaving a small gap to turn it right side out.  After turning and pressing, I attached it to the front of the bag with a row of top stitching.

And this is where I had to stop until the brown canvas arrived.

It also gave me some time to figure out how to finish the bag.

I cut two long, rectangular strips of canvas and folded and pressed the long sides in to make the handles.

I then folded them in half and started to topstitch along the edge.

And this is where the fun began…just after I took the photograph above, my trusty Singer sewing machine, that I bought in 1978, decided to quit.  Smoke billowed from its motor but luckily I was able to turn it off before any flames engulfed my precious bag handles.

My mum came to the rescue and has given me her machine to finish it off.  Thank you, mum!

After a bit of bobbin shenanigans and some oiling, the machine worked well (and is much smoother and quieter than mine ever was, I guess sewing machine technology has improved somewhat since 1978).

I attached the canvas to the bottom of the bag.

Sewed the handles on, added a small rectangle of canvas to the front pocket and closed the side seams.

Here it is.

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December 2, 2011. Tags: , , , , , . Fabric.

2 Comments

  1. Lorraine replied:

    Wow Pat it looks FANTASTIC! But what a tricky job and so sorry to hear about your old machine. Will you be keeping your mum’s? Love L x

    • madebypin replied:

      Only tricky, Lorraine, because I made it up as I went along – which I think is the fun way to make things 🙂
      Yes, my lovely, kind, generous mum has given me her machine – thank goodness as I’m making a lot of this year’s Christmas presents.

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