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Roomy Tote Bag

with inside pockets

tote bag pattern

14" high x 17" wide x 4" deep

nicely finished inside and out

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tote bag pattern

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Easy Pattern For Beautiful Bag

This is a fabulous beginner's project. No zippers or buttons. Learn straight stitching, top stitching and binding trim. Tote includes roomy, divided inside pocket. Top edge and inside seams are covered nicely in binding. Beautifully finished inside and out!

I absolutely love this tote. I take it on vacations and day trips. The inside pockets provide a place for papers, snacks, sunscreen and other items.

Prequilted Fabric

prequilted fabric This pattern calls for double-sided prequilted fabric. That removes the need for adding batting or other stiffeners. It gives a nice body to the bag. Because it is double sided, it provides the outer shell as well as the inside lining.

Prequilted fabric seems to come and go in stores. If you cannot find it, it's easy to make. For complete directions, go to: Prequilted Fabric Tutorial.

Finished Tote Size

bag itself: 14" high x 17" wide x 4" deep

handles: I cut mine so the finished length was 21". About 1" on each end was inside the bag.

Supplies - if using prequilted fabric

Fabric 1.5 yard of 45" double-sided pre-quilted fabric will make one bag with straps. 2 yards of double-sided prequilted fabric will make 2 bags with straps.

Binding: ready-made binding in contrast color for pocket top edge, two side seams and top edge of tote. OR, make your own binding: cut strips 1/5" wide. You will need one 1.5" x 22" strip for pocket top edge, two 1.5" x 16" strips for side seams, and one 1.5" x 44" strip for top edge of bag. If you are purchasing fabric for the binding, purchase 1/4 yard (this is about twice what you will need but allows for extra - assuming fabric is 45" wide).

Supplies - if making your own prequilted fabric

Interfacing: for handles; I used Pellon Craft Fuse #808. I made my handles from my outer shell fabric (not prequilted) so I needed to add some body to the handles. I used two layers for each handle of Pellon Craft Fuse #808 for each handle. Cut four 1" x 21.5" strips. NOTE: Any interfacing stiff enough to create a good stiffness for handles will do.

Fabric for one bag: 1.5 yard of outer bag fabric (45" width) and 1.5 yard of inside bag fabric (45" width). This is enough to prequilt a piece that measures 22" x 33" for the main bag, plus have enough left over for making bag handles and binding.

Fabric for handles: Cut two 3" x 22" strips

Fusible fleece or batting for creating prequilted fabric. Cut a piece approximately 24" x 36" - your finished, prequilted bag piece should measure approximately 22" x 33".

General Sewing Supplies

thread to match background of fabric
large sewing ruler
rotary cutter with cutting mat (or scissors)
seam ripper (optional but nice to have)

I Used Two Fabric Layers & Fusible Fleece

I made my own "prequilted fabric" using two layers of fabric and a layer of fusible fleece. The fusible fleece worked well, giving the bag a nice amount of body. I used fabric and interfacing to make my handles (see supplies list above). Rather than follow the directions referenced above for making prequilted fabric, I fused the fusible fleece to the WRONG side of my top fabric (see below left), then pinned the combined layers to my contrast fabric. I then used machine embroidery stitches, following the design lines in the fabric, to stitch my layers together.

Because I only used the prequilted fabric for the main bag (not the handles) I only quilted one 22" x 33" piece and the pocket piece (done separately). I used the remaining fabric to create handles and binding.

When layering fabric, cut the batting or fleece LARGER than your top layer. When all three layers are stitched together, trim off the excess batting or fleece.

By the time I was done stitching my layers together and trimming all edges straignt my main bag piece measured 22" x 32" rather than the 33" long. That was fine.

For my full tutorial on making prequilted fabric, using batting and a quilting bar, go to: Prequilted Fabric Tutorial.

fused fleece

fused fleece

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