Today I’m sharing with you a new, free bag pattern. It’s called the Sew South Tote in honor of the Sew South Retreat coming up in a few short weeks!
Bags are one of my favorite things to make, and I am really pleased with how this one turned out. It’s the perfect size, nice and sturdy and is really versatile. I think it is the perfect tote.
This bag is part of the Travel Handmade series I’m hosting as part of Sew South prep.
It’s always fun to travel handmade so through this series I’ll showcase some fun patterns and tutorials for all kinds of handmade items, perfect for traveling.
This pattern is great for beginner bag makers as well as seasoned sewists. It’s fun to make but doesn’t have anything tricky or fussy. It’s a straightforward, well-constructed bag.
This pattern will be broken down into three steps/posts. You can sew along with me or gather your supplies and wait until the end when I share the pdf pattern with you.
This tote was inspired by a Trader Joe’s grocery sack. Those paper bags are the perfect size – nice and sturdy and boxy enough to hold a lot. I used those measurements as my inspiration for this tote.
Finished size: 18″ wide x 13.5″ tall x 7″ deep
Today we’ll gather supplies, cut fabrics and apply interfacing. Let’s get started!
Sew South Tote Bag Pattern
1 yard of Linen Blend Fabric or Home Decor Fabric
.5 yard of Accent Fabric
.5 yard of Lining Fabric
2 Fat Quarters of Accent Fabrics for interior pockets
2.5 yards of Fusible Shape Flex 101 Interfacing
.5 yard of Fusible Thermolam TP971 Interfacing (Fusible Fleece)
1/3 yard of Fusible Decor Bond 809 Interfacing
Walking Foot (optional)
*A linen blend such as Essex Linen or a home decor fabric helps give this tote structure and sturdiness.
A (4) 2.75″ x 20″ strips of linen blend fabric
B (2) 10.5″ x 20″ pieces of accent fabric
C (2) 6″ x 20″ pieces linen blend fabric
D (2) 15.75″ x 20″ pieces of lining fabric
E (1) 9.25″ x 10.5″ accent fabric piece for large pocket front
F (1) 10.25″ x 10.5″ accent fabric piece for large pocket lining
G (1) 7.25″ x 11″ accent fabric piece for small pocket front
H (1) 8.25″ x 11″ accent fabric piece for small pocket lining
I (2) 5.5″ x WOF pieces of linen blend fabric for handles
(4) 18″ x 20″ pieces of Shape Flex Interfacing
(1) 8.25″ x 11″ piece of Shape Flex Interfacing
(1) 10.25″ x 10.5″ piece of Shape Flex Interfacing
(2) 18″ x 20″ pieces of Thermolam Interfacing
(1) 9″ x 10″ piece of Decor Bond Interfacing for small pocket
(1) 7″ x 10.5″ piece of Decor Bond Interfacing for large pocket
Alternately, you can make the bag with simple whole cloth panels by cutting outer and lining pieces 18″ x 20″.
*All seam allowances are 1/4″ unless noted otherwise.
1. Begin by making the outer panels. Sew a 2.75″ x 20″ strip to the 10.5″ x 20″ accent piece. Press the seam.
2. Sew the 6″ x 20″ strip to the bottom of the accent panel. Press the seam. Repeat for other outer panel. Your panel should now look like this:
3. To make the lining panels, sew a 2.75″ x 20″ piece to the top of the 15.75″ x 20″ lining panel. Press the seam. Repeat for other lining panel.
4. Increase your stitch length to 3.0 and topstitch along the linen blend seams on both outer panels and lining panels. Backstitch at the beginning and end.
Apply Interfacing: Fuse according to manufacturer directions.
1. Fuse a piece of 18″ x 20″ Thermolam interfacing to the wrong side of each of the outer panels. (If you plan to quilt this bag or add decorative hand stitches, now is the time to do that.)
2. Fuse a piece of 18″ x 20″ Shape Flex to the Thermolam side of both of the outer panels. This adds a bit more body and structure to the bag. Set panels aside.
3. Fuse a piece of 18″ x 20″ Shape Flex to the wrong side of both of the lining panels. Set aside.
4. Fuse the 10.25″ x 10.5″ piece of Shape Flex to the wrong side of the 10.25″ x 10.5″ large pocket lining (F.)
5. Fuse the 8.25″ x 11″ piece of Shape Flex to the wrong side of the 8.25″ x 11″ small pocket lining (H.)
6. Fuse the 9″ x 10″ piece of Decor Bond to the wrong side of the 9.25″ x 10.5″ large pocket front (E.) Be sure to center the Decor Bond and line up the interfacing with the top edge of the pocket fabric. There will not be interfacing in the .25″ seam allowance along the bottom and sides.
7. Fuse the 7″ x 10.5″ piece of Decor Bond to the wrong side of the 7.25″ x 11″ small pocket front (G.) Be sure to center the Decor Bond and line up the interfacing with the top edge of the pocket fabric. There will not be interfacing in the .25″ seam allowance along the bottom and sides.
Super! Now how about a break? Your panels are all set for our next step: pocket assembly. Check back on Thursday for that. 🙂
Be sure to tag #sewsouthtote and @ellisonlane so I can see your progress! 🙂