Monday, June 13, 2011

Travel Tote Tutorial

Sara here and this is my first official tutorial so bare with me!

This summer on Kojo Designs and Delia Creates they had a series called Color My Summer on their blogs as well as a contest.  After Crafty Mama Jennifer (who made an awesome wall hanging to enter into the contest) told me I should enter something and with some help from my hubby I made the Travel Tote for DJ Ark.  I ended up in the top 11 and was so excited!!!  I also entered it into the Prudent Baby "Use Your Words" Contest, but unfortunately didn't win.

So here are the steps to make your very own Travel Tote!!

I found a tote tutorial that I loved and couldn't figure out how to embellish the tote to make it my own. My husband came up with the idea to make a travel tote with the United States on it so that every time we went to a different state we could color in the state with fabric markers.

Gather your supplies:
  -Exterior fabric (I used a home decor weight fabric to give the tote some stability): 2-15" x 15"
  -Lining fabric (I used a travel themed cotton fabric): 2-15" x 15"
  -Handle fabric (same as out exterior): 2-4" x 21"
   -Embellishment:  For this I simply printed an image of the United States on fabric.  I read somewhere that you just need to add something to stabilize the fabric (I ironed on freezer paper, but Heat 'n Bond would have been a better choice since I ended up using it later) and you can send it through your printer with no problems.  I was slightly nervous, but I thought I would give it a try before I went out to buy transfer paper.  Let me tell you, it worked like a charm!

Now how to assemble the tote, which is reversible!!!

For the handles of the bag, fold each strip of fabric in half and iron a crease down the middle.

Then unfold and turn each side so it lines up with the middle crease you just created.

Once both sides are ironed towards the middle, fold it in half again and iron.  You should have something that looks like this:

Sew each along the open side to create the handle.  Set the handles aside while you work on embellishing the tote.

For this bag, I wanted to add a personal touch.  This way I will be able to make a bag for each of my kids so each one can color in the states they travel to.  I wrote the words in a white fabric marker so it would show up well for when I was stitching away!

Now the time consuming part (or at least it was for me!).  Get a needle and thread and turn on your favorite show.

Once the words were on, I laid out where I wanted the image to be and ironed it on with Heat 'n Bond.  For added strength, I sewed along the edge (which I also used pinking shears to cut of the excess because I liked the look of that).

 To add the handles, fold the top of the exterior fabric down 1" and iron.  Pin the handles 3' for each edge.

Sew each handle on with two rows of stitching for added strength.

I forgot to take a picture of this next step, but it's an easy one so don't panic.  Take the two exterior pieces that you have attached the handles to and sew them right sides together (I used a 1/4" seam allowance, but you could use more).  For the lining fold the top of each piece down 1" (like you did with the exterior pieces).  Again sew these pieces with right sides together. Iron the seams flat for a more finished look once you are done sewing.

Now to create a flat bottom for the tote.  Mark a line 2.5" from each corner (created when folding the side of the tote to match up with the bottom of the tote) and sewing along the line.  Cut off the excess material.

Once you have the exterior and the interior all you had to do is sew them together.  Slip the lining tote inside the exterior tote and pin along the top.  Sew about 1/8" from the top to finish your tote.

You now have a great tote for all your future trips.  Each time you travel to a new state remember to color in that state.  Once DJ Ark is older I thought it would be good to use to learn where all the states are too!  I hope you enjoyed my first tutorial!