TOTE BAG TUTORIAL
1) Cut your front and back, lining pieces according to desired size of bag. Here's how to determine that
Width (from side seam to side seam) - desired width plus 1/2 seam allowances
Height (from bottom of bag to top, not counting handles) - desired height plus 1/2 seam allowance for bottom seam and 1/2 inch seam allowance for top seam plus GUSSET ALLOWANCE. The gusset is what makes the purse have width across the bottom when it sits flat. You will fold under some of the height and so will need to allow extra for that. If you want your purse to be four inches deep across the bottom, then you will need to add 2 inches to the overall desired height.
Embellish bag as desired. For this example, I did contemporary folk art flowers using bias strips, suede (cut from vintage elbow patches) and vintage buttons. Reinforce bag pieces with fusible fleece or Decor Bond, depending on how soft or firm you want your bag. I used two layers of Decor Bond on the shell and one layer of fusible fleece on the lining. This bag is extremely stiff.
2) Add any external pocket desired to the shell and any internal pockets desired to the interior.
3) Sew lining front to lining back at the bottom seam. And shell front to shell back at the bottom seam. See photo.
Joining back to front
4) Sew side seams of shell front to back. Sew side seams of lining front to back. You should have a large pocket now. Interfacing should show.
5) Cut out corner piece to create gusset. You will cut a square half the size of your desired finished gusset plus 1/4 seam allowance. If you want your gusset four inches deep, you would cut a square 2.25 x2.25 out of the bottom corner. I you want a gusset two inches deep, you would cut a 1.25x1.25 square. See photo below.
Corner Cut for Gusset
6) Fold seams on bottom and side to match so that you create a box shape to the bottom of the bag. Sew. See photo below.
Match and pin seams to create gusset
7) Turn shell to right side. Leave lining wrong sides out. Slip lining into shell. Push corner down to match shell corners.
8) Make Handles - Cut strip of fabric desired width and length plus seam allowances. Sew right sides together leaving ends open. Turn and press.
9) Make Closure - Make ties to tie the bag shut or make a loop for a button and attach button to the front.
10) Turn raw edges of both shell and lining towards the inside of the bag. I fold and press about 1/2 inch to the inside and pin. Insert handles and closure between shell and lining and pin. Top-stitch top of bag close.
Preparing to Topstitch
Hope this helps! Up next...recipe for my CopyCat OutBack Brown Bread