Appliquéd Linen Tote Bag
This tote bag is easy to sew, and you can try some free embroidery or leave the appliquéd circles plain. It features handles padded with thick piping cord. Make it in linen or a heavy duty stable fabric such as denim or twill. Here’s how:
- 1 metre x 140cm-wide linen fabric
- Batik scraps for appliqué
- Fusible webbing
- Hand embroidery thread of your choice and needle
- Sewing thread
- 50cm x 1m piece of Fusible Pellon, lightweight (this is a thin iron on wadding)
- 50cm of 90cm-wide fabric for lining
- 1 metre of thick piping cord
- Fabric glue
Note. Use 1.5cm seam allowances. Press seams open after stitching.
Front and Back. Cut two pieces of linen 47cm x 45cm (width x height of bag).
Place the Front and Back bag pieces right sides together and machine stitch side seams and bottom seam. Open out the two corners and fold the bottom seam together with the side seam to align it and fold the fullness out of the corner to create a flat base. Pin an 8cm seam at a 90 degree angle to remove this fullness at the corner then stitch it. Repeat on the other side of the bottom edge, then trim 0.5cm from the seam.
Fold down the top edge 3cm towards the inside, press it then open out the fold.
Handles. Cut two 70cm x 9cm bias strips of linen fabric. Fold right sides together lengthwise. Machine stitch 0.5cm seam along the long edge. Turn right side out using a safety pin or loop turner; press with the seam centred on one side.
Cut two 40cm lengths of piping cord. Run a line of glue along the seam line of each fabric strip, in the centre of the length for 40cm. Glue the cord in place.
Fold the fabric strip in half over the cord, stitch along the edge next to the cord. Repeat for each strip.
Pin the right side of one end of one handle to the top edge of the bag, with the centre of the handle strip 14cm in from the side seam and aligning the top raw edge of the bag with the raw edge of the handle. Repeat with the other end.
Repeat for the handle on the back. Stitch each handle end in place as shown in Image 4.
Lining. Cut two pieces of lining fabric 47cm x 45cm. Stitch the side seams. Stitch the bottom edge seam leaving a 20cm opening in the centre. Stitch across the corners to create a base as for the bag. Press under 3.5cm around the top edge of the lining (refer to Image 5) then open out. Trim 2cm from the top raw edge (this creates a shorter lining than the bag as the edge of the bag drops down into the bag to create a self-facing).
With the lining turned inside out, and the bag right side out, place the bag inside the lining; pin the raw edges of the top of the bag and lining together; stitch around the top edge.
Turn the bag through the opening in the bottom edge of the lining. See Image 7. Top stitch or hand sew the opening in the base closed.
Press and topstitch next to the top edge of the bag, and topstitch again about 6mm from the first line.
By Judy Newman