Making tote bags

totebags1…I shall return to the history of my sewing later.  I now sew on a machine most of the time…

In Los Angeles,you can’t use plastic bags at the grocery store anymore, and we haven’t used them in ages anyway.  In the summer I sewed up the green tote you see above using fabric left over from ages ago, and this wonderful, simple tutorial from Skip To My Lou.

I’ve carried this bag, which is reversible but has no interfacing, all over town, schlepping jackets and groceries and what-not.  Because the bag has no interfacing, it doesn’t keep its shape well when not filled, and that’s purposeful. Until everyone starts shedding their jackets because the cool morning has given way to an endless summer here by about 10 am in L.A. I keep the bag rolled up and in my rather small handbag .

After a walk to the grocery store after which I returned with 10 lbs. of groceries straining the bag, I decided it was time for a couple more.  I used what I had on hand and came up with these lovelies.  I’m very happy with them, and this time used stronger material for the handles.  If you want a bag with shape, I suggest using Pellon SF101 on the liner or both sets of fabric.

As I mentioned in my first post, I hadn’t a clue what interfacing was or how to use it.  It’s really very simple: Cut it out with your fabric, add the moisture the directions explain by spraying it with a water bottle, iron the hell out of it from the center to the edges.  SF101 is woven and gives movement without stiffness, and also irons on pretty easily (without creasing).  It’s a light weight interfacing, but I prefer it even on purses and zip bags.

When cutting fabric in straight lines, I highly recommend using a rotary cutter and mat.  It’s an investment, and I take forever with the cutting, but it really makes things so precise that when you start sewing, it all comes together rather quickly (and beautifully).




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