April 1, 2014

TUTORIAL: Lined Canvas Tote

Tutorial: Lined Canvas Tote | Step by step directions how to sew a fully lined, canvas Tote Bag with an outer pocket and a reinforced bottom, including full cutting dimensions. | The Inspired Wren.

In the midst of sewing along with Project Run & Play, I took a detour to sew up this tote as a gift for a friend. I chose it because it can have big impact and yet it really is a quick project to put together once you have the cutting dimensions figured out. It just so happened I still had my sketch from the Tote of Protection with the numbers already jotted down. As long as I was already sewing the bag again, I thought I’d share the dimensions (and the directions) here.

Craftsy

Tutorial: Lined Canvas Tote | Step by step directions how to sew a fully lined, canvas Tote Bag with an outer pocket and a reinforced bottom, including full cutting dimensions. | The Inspired Wren.


If you’re like me and prefer to print out the tutorials you use, download the free 3-page PDF version here  [you'll need a Craftsy account, but that's also free with an email]. Otherwise, read on for step-by-step directions how to sew a fully lined, canvas Tote Bag with an outer pocket and a reinforced bottom, including full cutting dimensions so there's no guesswork!


MATERIALS

  • Indoor/Outdoor Fabric for Outer Shell, ½ yard 
  • Duck-Cloth (Heavy Canvas) for Bottom Panel and Handles, ½ yard 
  • Coordinating Fabric for Lining
    The indoor/outdoor fabric plus the duck-cloth can get thick, so a lighter-weight option like quilting cotton is a good choice here. 
  • Coordinating thread and heavy-duty needle 
Tutorial: Lined Canvas Tote | Step by step directions how to sew a fully lined, canvas Tote Bag with an outer pocket and a reinforced bottom, including full cutting dimensions. | The Inspired Wren.
This pattern has become my go-to gift.

CUTTING


The dimensions listed here will create a final Tote Bag 8 ½″ wide x 11 ½″ tall x 4″ deep. You can easily change these dimensions to fit your need; keep in mind that the seam-allowance varies in places. 

Indoor/Outdoor Fabric

Outer Shell: 14″ x 15 ½″; cut 2
Pocket: 5 ¾″ x 6 ½″; cut 1 

Duck-Cloth

Bottom Panels: 14″ x 6 ¾″; cut 2 [Edited 5/21/14 to the correct measurements.]
Handles: 3″ x 46″; cut 2 

Coordinating Fabric

Lining: 14″ x 15 ½″; cut 2
Pocket: 5 ¾″ x 6 ½″; cut 1 



CONSTRUCTION


PREPARE HANDLES AND POCKET

1.      Prepare each Handle by folding it in half, wrong sides together and press. Open it up and press each outside edge to the center line. Fold fabric in half again and press. The final width of the Handle will be ¾″ with the raw edges enclosed in the fold. Edge-stitch down each side. Set aside. 

2.      Prepare the Outer Pocket by placing Shell fabric and Lining fabric right sides together. Sew just the top seam with a ¼″ seam-allowance. Turn right sides out and press. 

Tutorial: Lined Canvas Tote | Step by step directions how to sew a fully lined, canvas Tote Bag with an outer pocket and a reinforced bottom, including full cutting dimensions. | The Inspired Wren.
Steps 1 & 2: Prepare the Handles and the Front Pocket


ATTACH POCKET AND HANDLES

3.      Align the prepared Outer Pocket on the center of the Front Outer Shell with the top, sewn edge of the Pocket down 3 ¼″ from the top raw edge of the Outer Shell. Sew the sides of the pocket in place with a scant ¼″ seam-allowance. [Edited 6/8/14 to include missing directions.]

4.      Place one prepared Handle on the Front Outer Shell, centered 5″ apart, aligning the raw ends with the raw bottom edge of the Shell. Be careful not to twist the Handle where it extends over the top of the Shell. The Handle will overlap the side edges of the Outer Pocket. Pin in place. Mark lines on the Handle 1 ½″ from the raw top edge of the Shell, and again 1 ¼″ down from the first lines. Sew the Handle to the Front Outer Shell one side at a time; stop stitching on your marked line, 1 ½″ from the top. Begin at the bottom edge, stitch over previous top-stitching on the Handle, and create X patterns as pictured using your marked lines as guides.

Tutorial: Lined Canvas Tote | Step by step directions how to sew a fully lined, canvas Tote Bag with an outer pocket and a reinforced bottom, including full cutting dimensions. | The Inspired Wren.
Steps 4 & 5: Attach the Handle and mark the stitch locations.


5.      Repeat Step 4 to attach the second Handle to the Back Outer Shell.

Tutorial: Lined Canvas Tote | Step by step directions how to sew a fully lined, canvas Tote Bag with an outer pocket and a reinforced bottom, including full cutting dimensions. | The Inspired Wren.
Steps 4 & 5: You should sew this from the front of the bag, but here's a view of the stitch pattern from the wrong side of the Back Outer Shell--easier to see than on the dark front.


ATTACH BOTTOM PANELS

6.      With right sides together and with one Bottom Panel oriented seemingly upside down (the bottom edge lying towards the top raw edge of one Outer Shell), align the top raw edge of the Bottom Panel 6 ¼″ from the bottom raw edge of the Outer Shell. Sew along top edge of the Bottom Panel with a ¼″ seam allowance. On the Front Shell this will overlap the Pocket, closing the bottom edge. Flip the Bottom Panel into place. Press. Top-stitch along edge. [Edited 6/8/14 to the correct measurements.]

Tutorial: Lined Canvas Tote | Step by step directions how to sew a fully lined, canvas Tote Bag with an outer pocket and a reinforced bottom, including full cutting dimensions. | The Inspired Wren.
Steps 6 &7: Sew, flip & press, then top-stitch the Bottom Panels in place.

7.      Repeat Step 6 with the second Bottom Panel and Outer Shell. 

CONSTRUCT OUTER SHELL & LINING

8.      With right sides together, place the Front Outer Shell and the Back Outer Shell together being sure to align the Handles and the tops of the Bottom Panels. Sew along the side seams and the bottom seam using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Reinforce the bottom seam by sewing it a second time. Press seams open.

9.      Pinch one bottom corner together so that the side seam and the bottom seam touch. Mark up 2″ from the corner point and draw a 4″-wide line perpendicular to the seams. Stitch on the line. Stitch again to reinforce the seam. Trim the seam allowance to 1/2″. Repeat on the second bottom corner. Set aside.

Tutorial: Lined Canvas Tote | Step by step directions how to sew a fully lined, canvas Tote Bag with an outer pocket and a reinforced bottom, including full cutting dimensions. | The Inspired Wren.
Step 9: Pinch, mark, sew, and trim to create the bottom corner.

10.   Repeat Steps 8 & 9 with the Lining Fabric. 

JOIN OUTER SHELL & LINING

11.  Pin the Handles down onto the Outer Shell so they are out of the way. With the Outer Shell right side out, and the Lining right side in, place the Outer Shell into the Lining so that right sides are together and the top, raw edges align. Pin in place matching the side seams and avoiding the Handles. Sew together with a 1″ seam-allowance, but leave a 4–5″ opening for turning.

Tutorial: Lined Canvas Tote | Step by step directions how to sew a fully lined, canvas Tote Bag with an outer pocket and a reinforced bottom, including full cutting dimensions. | The Inspired Wren.
Step 11: Join the Lining and the Outer Shell. | Helpful Tip: When leaving an opening, I use two pins to indicate where I plan to start and stop stitching so that I don't accidentally keep going round. 

12.   Reach into the opening and turn the bag right side out. Position the Lining in place and press. 

13.   Edge-stitch the top-seam, closing the opening for turning as you do so. Then top-stitch a generous ¼″ down from the edge-stitching.

Tutorial: Lined Canvas Tote | Step by step directions how to sew a fully lined, canvas Tote Bag with an outer pocket and a reinforced bottom, including full cutting dimensions. | The Inspired Wren.
Step 13: Top-stitch the top edge, avoiding the Handles so they fall open easily.

YOU'RE DONE! 


Because the Handles wrap to the bottom this is a tough tote that can withstand a lot of weight. It also maintains its structure nicely (and can take a lot of abuse) thanks to the indoor/outdoor fabric and duck-cloth. There are so many fabulous fabric options in the décor fabrics department. And remember it doesn’t require a lot of fabric, so don’t forget to also check the remnant bin at your local fabric store.

Great sewing tutorial for a classic lined canvas tote. | The Inspired Wren


This is a quick sew, but if you want to go even faster skip the Pocket and the Lining. I would suggest adding an inch to the top and creating a 1″ rolled hem (fold over 1″, fold over 1″ again, then top-stitch); be sure to adjust all measurements made from the top raw edge of the Outer Shell by adding 1″ as you measure down. I would also suggest using bias tape, or your preferred method, to finish the seams. My preschool-age daughter carries (or should I say, drags) an unlined version of this tote to school daily and it’s holding up well.

If you use this tutorial, I’d love to see and hear about your results. Come share your projects on The Inspired Wren Share page.

Tutorial: Lined Canvas Tote | Step by step directions how to sew a fully lined, canvas Tote Bag with an outer pocket and a reinforced bottom, including full cutting dimensions. | The Inspired Wren.
The fabric combinations are endless.


Ren Murphy writes for The Inspired Wren.

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You should really see all that goes into each project!
From my model preferring to wear washi tape on her belly button instead of the clothes I've sewn for her, to the ingenious way that I’ve re-purposed my favorite sewing tool, a chopstick, into a spool pin for double needle sewing on my machine. Daily updates on Instagram (and Flickr) of works-in-progress will give you that behind the scenes view you’re looking for, and sneak peeks of First Tuesday Tutorials, too.
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The Inspired Wren is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.


Great sewing tutorial for a classic lined canvas tote. | The Inspired Wren

103 comments:

  1. Thanks for the Tut! It looks easy peasy lemon squeezy!

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    1. Thanks. I think this is definitely an easy one.

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  2. Fabulous bag! Love how you pulled it all together and make it look so simple! Will have to give this a try.

    And hey, where is your project run and play this week?

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    1. Thanks!

      PRP is tomorrow. First Tuesday is always Tutorial, no exceptions. I was hoping to have PRP up yesterday but weekend snow killed our photo session.

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  3. love the bag!!! great tutorial :)

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  4. Love the tutorial, I'm bookmarking! This looks like a perfect summer tote for me!

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    1. Excellent! If you sew it up I'd love to hear about and see your results.

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  5. Nice tutorial! I like the reinforced bottom and your fabric choices - looks very classy and functional.

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  6. Love it Ren! So professional looking :)

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  7. Thanks for the tutorial! I love the fabric you chose, and I love the fact that you made it durable for lots of use.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! There are so many options in the home decor section -- from funky to chic to classic to basic neutral. I'm sure I'll make more myself!

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  8. Beautiful, practical bag and a fantastic tutorial, thank you so much. I've not made a bag for a while, I'm tempted!

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    1. DO IT! One can never have enough totes.

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  9. I adore making bags and I've never done one out of heavy fabric. I can't wait to try out this pattern!

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    1. DO IT! It would work out of lighter fabrics, too -- like quilting cotton -- but then it won't maintain the same stand-on-its-own structure.

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  10. Thank you for this, I was planning a very similar bag and you've saved me a lot of work! I'm going to use leftover wool plaid and pleather for the bottom.

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    1. You'll have to share it when it's done. I'd love to see it!

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  11. Can't wait to make one for myself! Great tutorial!

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  12. LOVELY! Youve really made this look easy! Thanks

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    1. That's because it IS easy! It's all straight line cutting and straight line sewing. The hardest part is choosing your fabrics!

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  13. Beautiful tore bag!!! Thanks for sharing this tutorial! Would love to have you visit my blog sometime :)
    Hope you have a wonderful day and weekend!
    Hugs from Portugal,

    Ana Love Craft
    www.lovecraft2012.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. I love that bunny rabbit pillow currently on your blog, too.

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  14. Beautiful bag! Thank you for the tutorial.

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  15. I think you did fantastic on this beautiful bag. I would love it if you joined and contribute your awesome posts at my link party at City of Creative Dreams on Fridays :D Hope to see you there at City of Creative Dreams Link Party

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    1. Thank you. I'll check it out! If you have any sewing, knit, crochet, or stitch projects be sure to check out Inspire Us Thursdays, too.

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  16. Just what I've been looking for! Love the two tone look and how the straps go underneath for support! On my to-do list! Thanks!

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    1. YAY! I'd love to see what fabrics you choose.

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  17. Love these nice bright photos in your tutorial - makes it so much easier to see what's going on for sewing projects! ~ Erika @ http://www.yayforhandmade.com

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    1. Thanks! I was shooting in the late afternoon and racing the setting sun. I'm glad it paid off.

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  18. Thanks for the wonderfully clear tute - I reckon even I could make one, following these. You've made me such a happy bunny, as I've wanted to have a go for ages! They would make ideal Easter pressies for my girls (ssh! don't tell them LOL) Have a great week, and thanks again xx

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    1. I'm so glad you find it to be clear! If (when) you make it, I'd love to see and hear about your results.

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  19. Thanks for this tutorial. I really love this bag!

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  20. It is beautiful. Thanks for sharing the dimensions and how-to.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. It's such an easy project, it's fun to share.

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  21. hi renee this is me renee too, great tutorial showing how too -bag-, which will make thanx its clear an can understand the process yeah

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    1. I'm so glad it's clear! Thanks.

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  22. Wow you made that look so easy!! I will have to try it out. Thanks for linking it up to Snickerdoodle sunday.

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    Replies
    1. That's because it really is easy!

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  23. Love the eye catching fabric you have used. Combined with the black, it makes a great looking bag!!!

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    1. Thanks! I made it as a gift and I was trying very hard to match the impeccable style of the recipient.

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  24. Love this DIY. Thanks for sharing and linking up with us at the #WWDParty. Have a wonderful week.

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  25. Absolutely love the bag AND what a brilliant tutorial! Thanks so much for sharing at #EmptyYourArchive - Alice @ Mums Make Lists

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  26. Love the bag. Thank you for the tutorial, especially the part about joining the lining to the outer shell. I've struggled with how best to do this and your method has worked out the best for me so far.

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    1. YAY! I'm so glad it works for you.

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  27. Great bag! I can see this being a "go to" bag for just about everything.

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    1. It is! The one that I made for preschool has already become a "go to" bag for school, for library, for weekend adventures. I need to make another one for me (since I gave this one away as a gift).

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  28. WOW! What a FAB bag!!! And you've made it look so easy!!! I'm going to HAVE to give this a go!!!

    Thank you! :oD

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    1. Everyone keeps saying that, but I swear it really is an easy bag. It's the fabric that makes it look so special.

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  29. Gorgeous!
    Thanks so much for sharing this great tutorial on Tutorial Thursdays this month.
    I look forward to seeing you again in May.
    x
    Natalie
    Marigolds' Loft

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    1. Thanks! I love your link parties, thanks for hosting them.

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  30. Your bag looks awesome and it's one I definitely want to try! I actually pinned it a while back. Once we move...it's at the top of my sewing list. :)

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    1. YAY! When you get to it, I'd love to see it. Someone has to be the first to link-up one of my tutorials to Inspire Us Thursday or to the Flickr group...might as well be you. :)

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  31. Thanks for the tutorial. I just started sewing and this looks fabulous.
    The colors are so rich and it looks very timeless.
    I also love your baby blanket which I will make for a friend's baby and the kindle tutorial which I might make without the cardboard as a sleeve.
    Mona

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    1. YAY! I'm thrilled you found so much here! This is a great project for a new sewist: all straight line cutting and sewing. Just be sure you have the correct needle for you fabric and you should be good to go!

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  32. Wow! I love that this is so quick and easy. I can't wait to make one.

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    1. Let me know if you do! You could be the first to share a pic of your results with me!

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  33. This is so classy, On my list for sure. new follower on bloglovin. crystalbluern at onlineok dot com

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  34. So cute! Will definitely try!! What are the finished dimensions of the bag?? Thx!!

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    1. Never mind! Just saw them! :)

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    2. Excellent. I'm glad you found them!

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  35. Thank you for this pattern and tutorial, I made a snazzy little number out of heavy weight denim and blue striped ticking, looks great, next time I'll make one a bit bigger with a little stiffening in for support, I love this one though, it's great.

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    1. Ooh! Those are great choices! I'd love to see a pic if you have one to share.

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    2. I have a pic, don't know how to post it on here?

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    3. I put it on my blog if you'd like to see.
      http://sue-griffiths.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/a-bag-i-made-from-pattern-from-inspired.html

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    4. Thanks so much for posting that for me! It looks fabulous.

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  36. I made a few changes with the dimensions and pockets, but here's my version!

    http://sarahdudik.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/secret-tote-swap-round-4-sent/

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  37. Good morning! I am writing about your wonderful Tote Bag Tutorial today at my place! I hope you have time to stop by! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

    Here is the link: http://www.stonecottageadventures.com/2014/06/tote-bag-for-summer.html

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    1. WOO HOO! This is my favorite part of putting tutorials out into the wide world -- seeing all the various versions come back! I'm going now...

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  38. Thank you for the brilliant tutorial , this will make a great present

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  39. Thank you for the tutorial for this lovely tote, you made it very clear and concise. However, for those that don't sew much or for beginner sewers you might need to explain how to match the fabric design with the front pocket, otherwise they will end up with a bag that will not look as nice as yours. I do hope you don't mind my comment, but I felt it would help for those that would not consider matching the fabric design before cutting the fabric for the pocket. Thank you again or a great tutorial and a lovely little bag.

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    1. That's a very good point. Lining up that pocket is not easy, and the difficulty will depend on the fabric's pattern. Teaching that, or explaining that, is almost an entire tutorial of it's own, I think. I may have to one, thanks for the suggestion.

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  40. I am damm sure womens will like your collection of totes products. They are looking elegant I will make sure to calculate them for my new products once I'm updating with my current store. So that I can earn more business with the help of these tote bag.

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  41. Thank you for the great Tut! I especially like the use of a Contrasting fabric pocket! Thank you!

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  42. Please tell me how to print out the pattern and directions without the 89 comments that I DO NOT want. The tote is great but I'm not going to waste paper and ink on the comments?? ghall781@comcast.net

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    1. I've sent the PDF file to the email you included in your comments. For future reference, there is a link at the top of this post (and all my tutorials) that will take you to the PDF file; OR you could do a print preview and only print the pages that include the directions. Hope that helps!

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  43. This was such an easy tutorial to follow! The dimensions were just perfect for using leftover material and I still have more leftovers to play with. Being a beginner sewer, you can tell where I didn't quite manage to overlap stitches on the handles but it still looks great. I used leftover curtain material the outer shell and handles and it's so sturdy! No more worrying that my bag will break when I'm on a book run!

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    1. YAY! I'm so glad it worked for you.

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  44. Your tutorial is fantastic. I uploaded a spreadsheet on my web site that let's you enter in the dimensions of the bag you want to sew and it calculates what size to cut all of the pieces. It makes sewing a bag using your tutorial even easier. http://bennettplanet.com/archives/109

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    1. I LOVE IT! That came out fantastic. And I love the look of the wider handles even though you think slightly narrower might work better -- since I'm not the one carrying it, I'll take your word for it.

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  45. Hi. Can you clarify something for me on step 4. You wrote "Sew the Handle to the Front Outer Shell one side at a time; stop stitching on your marked line, 1 ½″ from the top. Begin at the bottom edge, stitch over previous top-stitching on the Handle, and create X patterns as pictured". So do you mean that in the end, the handle portions along the body of the bag will have 3 lines of stitching on top of one another (1st line sewn when preparing the handles themselves, and then 2nd line and 3rd line sewn in step 4)? In other words, does step 4 mean to stitch the handles along the length of the bag body and then repeat it again for strength?

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    1. There will be just two lines of stitching on the handles -- one made when preparing the handles, the second made when attaching the handles to the body of the bag. The direction "Begin at the bottom edge, stitch over previous top-stitching on the Handle, and create X patterns as pictured" clarifies HOW exactly to stitch the handles onto the bag.

      Does that answer your question?

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  46. Don't know if my original question/comment made it through to be posted, so here's the shorter version:

    How long are the straps from finished edge to finished edge of the top of the tote?

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    1. I did not know, so I just took out my tape measure and checked: 18 inches. I've got large upper arms, so for me it's definitely more hook-over-my-elbow, not swing-onto-my-shoulder length. Hope that helps!

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  47. Hi! Any chance this could be made with inner pockets? I'm in need of organization :) Thanks!

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    1. I am making a boat-load of these as Christmas gifts - I've made 2 out of 6 so far - my sewing machine is breaking out in a sweat!!
      Anyway, I totally put pockets on the inside - way cute made with a piece of outer fabric and a piece of the inner lining.
      I used the same measurements for the pocket size and location - except, of course, the pocket was placed on one of the lining pieces of fabric. Also, I placed the inner pocket 'horizontal'.
      I used Pellon extra-firm fusible stabilizer on the outer fabric because I wanted the tote to stand up on its own. I reinforced side and bottom seams, but for me, it was worth the time. Turning it right side out was a challenge, but it worked with my 5" opening.
      This tutorial is one of the best out there.
      Good luck

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    2. Thanks so much for your detailed response! I'm sure everyone will love their Christmas gift that you are making.

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    3. Thanks for sharing, Deborah! I haven't made any with inner pockets (yet) but I think Deborah shared a fantastic solution here.

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