Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Carry-It-All Bag - DIY Reinforced Tote Bag Tutorial

This DIY Reinforced Tote Bag is perfect for all sorts of heavy lifting.  Quilted with Support foam inside the tote as well as inside the extra wide handles, this tote makes the perfect carry-all for everything from rocks to books and everything in between.  Many thanks to Fairfield World for supplying me with product and compensating me for this post all ideas, opinions, and enthusiasm are 100% my own.  This post contains affiliate links to support my blog.

There's been a rock painting and hiding and finding craze sweeping the nation and our family has been swept up in it...
(If you haven't heard of the rock hiding craze, from what I've been able to tell from the internet, the city rock groups originated from Port Angeles, WA with a group called Port Angeles Rocks and the idea spread from there.  There's also a Kindness Rocks Project that encourages the same thing...basically painting and hiding rocks for strangers to find to spread kindness, positivity, and encouragement...which lets face it...we can all use a bit more of.)
...but our regular tote bags don't appreciate all the rock gathering, so I thought it was time to make a dedicated rock bag.

The essential element of any truly good tote bag are good thick, padded straps, and this bag doesn't disappoint.

This same tote also makes for an awesome library bag or for any other use where you may tend to overfill with heavy items.

Here's what you'll need to make your own:

Time: 1-2 Hours

Note: The Books bag uses the Anne of Green Gables fabric line by Penny Rose Fabrics for Riley Blake Designs.  The outer fabric is Anne Silhouette in Blue and the lining fabric is Anne Quotes in Cream.  

Kindness Rocks bag uses Danscapes Architectural from RJR Fabrics for the outside and Lets Go Camping Checkered Plaid by Patrick Lose Fabrics.

Download the Kindness Rocks or Books template here.

Cut out your main bag pieces.  You'll need (2) 18" x 20" rectangles cut from each of the following: Your outer fabric, lining fabric, and support foam stabilizer.  You'll also need to cut a piece of Soften interfacing that is a bit larger than your word.

Trace your words onto the papery side of your interfacing.  If you're branching out and doing your own word, you want to be sure that you're tracing the words IN REVERSE so they'll be going the right direction when we add them to our bag.

Cut out roughly and iron onto the BACK of your accent fabric.

Cut out carefully around your words.  Peal off the paper backing.

Line up on your bag as you want it to appear.  You'll want to center it a bit toward the top of your bag because the lower 2-3 inches will actually become the bottom of your bag.

Iron in place according to manufacturer's directions.  Do not over-iron, but be sure the edges are secure.

Iron the Soften Interfacing to the back of your bag, completely covering the area with the words on the front.  The purpose of the Soften Interfacing is to keep the fabric from bunching up when we stitch around our word applique.
Use a satin stitch or tight zigzag stitch to secure the edges of your applique.  Pull the thread tails through to the back of your fabric and tie a know instead of back-stitching.

Use basting spray to attach your outer bag pieces to the Support Foam Stabilizer.
 Quilt as desired around your applique design.  This will hold your outer fabric to the foam stabilizer permanently.  I chose echo quilting around the "Books" and just a rambling wavy design around the "Kindness Rocks".  This is one place you can really have fun and experiment.

Layer your front and back pieces together with RIGHT sides together.

Stitch with a 1/2 inch seam allowance around the sides and bottom, leaving the top OPEN.  Stitch a second time just inside the seam allowance for extra security.  Clip corners.

Fold your bag so your side seam and bottom seam line up.  Stitch across the resulting triangle approximately 2 1/2 inches from the tip of the triangle.  Stitch a second time, just inside the seam allowance.  Trim extra, leaving about 1/2 seam allowance.

Repeat with the bag lining.  Layer with RIGHT sides together.  Stitch around sides and bottom.

LEAVE AN OPENING at the bottom of the bag.  We will use this to turn the finished bag right side out.

Just as with the outer bag, fold your bag so your side seam and bottom seam line up.  Stitch across the resulting triangle approximately 2 1/2 inches from the tip of the triangle.  Stitch a second time, just inside the seam allowance.  Trim extra, leaving about 1/2 seam allowance.

Set your bag pieces aside so we can work on the strap pieces.

Cut (2)  6" wide strips across the whole width of your fabric.

Fold in half lengthwise and stitch with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Iron the seam open.

Cut 4 strips from your support foam that are each just a hair under 2 1/2 inches.  You want them to fill up the strap, but still slide in easily.  The support foam is not as wide as the fabric, so overlap 2 strips of support form about 1/4 inch and zigzag stitch them securely together.  Your four strips should now be two long strips.

Slide the support foam into your straps.  I found it worked best to sew a tiny pocket that I could slip a ruler into to help guide the support foam through.

Top-stitch 1/8" to 1/4" from each side of the strap to give it a polished look and ensure the foam will hold in place.

Trim strap length to 37".  (This is a good length for an adult.  May daughter pictured with the bag is 5' 2".  If a smaller child will be using the bag, you may want to shorten the straps.  However long you decide you want your straps to be, add an extra 3 inches for seam allowance down inside the bag.)

Now we're ready to finish assembling the bag.  Turn the outer bag INSIDE OUT.  Mark places 3 1/2 inches in from the side seams.  Pin your straps in place with the outer edge of the straps lined up with your marks leave about ONE INCH of extra strap sticking up above the top of the bag.  Make sure the strap seams are facing INTO the bag.  Both ends of one strap will be pinned to the SAME side of your bag.  (Don't let the straps cross sides.)  Your bag lining should be RIGHT SIDE out and placed inside your bag.  Pin around the top edge.

Stitch around the top with a 1/2 seam allowance.  Stitch again within the seam allowance for extra strength.

Using the opening in the bottom of your lining.  Turn the bag right side out.

Iron and top-stitch around the top of the bag 1/8" - 1/4" from the upper edge.  Top-stitch a second time 1 inch from the edge, all the way around the bag.  Stitch a box with an X over the ends of each strap inside the bag to give extra strength and support.

Stitch the hole in the bottom of the lining closed and your bag is ready to use!

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