These days I've been trying hard to work through my fabric stash, mostly to justify buying more fabric! With the end of the school year coming, I decided to figure out a cute teacher gift that would help with my de-stash goal. Here's what I came up with.
I'm a big proponent of reusable bags. But, you don't always want to whip out your smelly grocery bag when you're at the mall or library. So why not make a cute little tote with some beautiful fabric.
Here's what you'll need:
main body of the bag: 2 fabric pieces 15 x 10 inches
contrasting top of bag: 2 fabric pieces 15 x 6 inches
handles: 2 fabric pieces 4 x 16 inches
6 inches of thin elastic
Fold your piece of elastic in half and baste at the center of one of the 15 inch sides of the main body fabric.
Lay a contrasting panel on top of the main panel, sandwiching the elastic in between, and sew a 1/4 seam. Finish seam with either a zig-zag stitch or serge. Do the same for the other main body and contrasting panels.
Press seam allowance towards the upper contrasting panel and top-stitch.
Since this bag isn't lined, I decided to do french seams on the sides. To do this, lay the front and back panels with WRONG sides together, so right sides facing out, and sew a 1/4 inch seam down each side only.
Turn the bag so that RIGHT sides are facing in and WRONG sides are facing out. Press well. Then sew a 1/2 inch seam down one side, across the bottom and up the other side. It's very important that this seam be wider than the previous seams so that the previous seam will be enclosed.
Serge or zig-zag to finish the bottom seam and turn bag right side out. Press.
Now set the bag aside and let's work on the straps. First, fold strap in half lengthwise, open the fold up and fold edges again towards the center fold. You should end up with a 1 inch x 16 inch strap. Sew along both edges.
Now that the straps are ready, take the main body of the bag and serge or zig-zag around the top. Then fold the top towards the wrong side of the bag 1/2 inch to finish off the top.
Take each strap and fold the raw edge in about 1/2 inch. Then pin 3 inches in from the edge of the bag.
Sew 2 seams across the top to secure the straps in place.
Sew your button about 3 inches above the elastic and you're done!
Fold your bag up and throw it in your purse.