So I promised a lovely story retelling the creation of my tote bag. I attended a class at a fabric store that I will not name Joann's with my two best friends. We had a blast. HOWEVER our instructor left something to be desired. :) I was going to retell the story on my own, but Jenn so kindly sent us and email today with the instructions from our class...complete with notations straight from Jenn. So I will allow her to tell the story:
Special instructions appear in italics…)
Supplies & Tools:
·45” Home Décor fabric
o2/3 yd for bag
o1/3 yd for handles
·Basic sewing supplies (RULER. RULER. RULER.) [note from Emily: The instructor pulled out a large "sewing ruler" and kept banging it on the table sternly saying "This. Is. A. Ruler." We couldn't hold ourselves together. We actually laughed out loud. Jenn so suavely responded with, "Yes I see that. Do you mean to say that we do not have sewing rulers???"]
·Optional: 12” x 8.5” cardboard for bottom
1. Cut fabric as follows—two pieces 16” x 12.5” for front and back; one piece 9” x 43.5” for sides and bottom; two pieces 5” x 44” for straps. (If you really enjoy sewing, you might as well cut the front and back pieces out in such a way that you can no longer cut the sides/bottom and straps out in continuous pieces—after all, what is more fun than piecing together your fabrics to end up with a Frankenstein-esque bag?)
2.Fold straps in half lengthwise and press. Open and fold edges in to middle. Refold and press. Place inside edge of strap 3” in from each edge of front. Top stitch both sides of strap to approximately 5” from the top. Repeat with back piece. (Alternate Version: Skip step 2 and first complete step 3. Then seam-rip out all the sewing in step 3, and do step 2. Then go to step 3 again.)
3.Using ¼” seam, stitch front to side/bottom, clipping and pivoting at corners. Repeat with back piece. Press seams toward sides. If desired, seams can be finished with surging, zigzag, or Fray Check.
4.Fold down 1 ½” on top and then under ¼”, press. (Funny, Em, how that is EXACTLY what you were saying to do! So Alternate Version: Do a lot of needless sewing and pinning.) Then edge stitch in place, keeping handles free.
5.Continue top stitching straps to bag and along strap edges, reinforcing with x-stitch at top edge of bag. (Or not—who needs reinforcement? Especially no need to teach this concept/technique to new sewers…)
6.Optional: Cover cardboard with fabric and place in bottom of bag.