Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Welcome to the final day of my 14 Days of Love special. Today I am going to be sharing a tutorial with you on how to make this sweet tote bag. Ombre seems to be everywhere these days. I have always wanted to try dip dying for an ombre effect, but have never gotten around to it. You can still get a fun, fast, and easy ombre effect with paint. The best part about this craft is that you can whip up one of these totes in just a few hours.
Here’s What You Need:
*5/8 yard Linen, Canvas, or other medium to heavy weight fabric in white
*1/2 yard Lining fabric- I used a basic quilting cotton heart print
*Leather for the straps- I bought mine from a leather place at the flea market for a little over a dollar. It is thick and a little over a half inch wide. I am not sure what it is called, but it looks like it was mad for straps, cording, etc…
*A leather tool to punch the leather and fabric or an awl and hammer
*A hammer for the rivets
*Craft Paint in your base color and a tube of white, and another accent like a pink or red
*Sewing Machine and thread
The first thing you need to do is cut out your fabric. For my tote I marked and drew my pieces as follows: 17″ tall with 21″ at the bottom and 15″ at the top. You can mark the 17″ high and 21″ across. Find the center of the width which is 11.5″ and then measure out 7.5″(to make 15″) from the center on each side. Draw the sides of the bag holding your ruler at the top mark and the bottom mark to give you a sloped line. Cut two of this shape for the outside of the bag from your white fabric and two for the lining of the bag from your lining cotton. Cut a rectangular pocket piece from either fabric that measures 7″x11″ . Now you are ready to paint. Cut out your stencil with an exacto or fine scissors. Lay out your white fabric front piece of your tote on a piece of wax paper or cellophane. Tape your stencil to the center of the fabric. Now squeeze out a good amount of paint onto a paper plate of your base color. I used a nice deep aqua. Dab a little paint onto your stencil brush and dab onto the bottom row of your heart stencil with a tapping motion instead of a brushing motion like you would do with a regular brush. Once you have painted your first row, add some white to your base color on your plate and thoroughly mix it in. Now stencil the second row with your lighter shade. For the third and top row add a little more white to the base with each row to create your ombre effect. I left one of my hearts on my third row blank and ended up accenting it with some pink glitter paint. Once you have painted all your hearts, carefully remove your stencil and let your paint dry. Once your paint is thoroughly dry you are ready to sew. I always back stitch when I start and stop a seam. All seams are 1/2″. The first thing you want to do is add your pocket. Heat up your iron. Fold under a 1/4″ of your fabric on the top of your pocket piece and press down, then fold over again a half to 3/4″ and press down again. Stitch the fold down close to the edge. Now fold in the sides and bottom 1/2″ and press. Pin your pocket in place on your lining back piece. Start at the top edge on one side of your pocket and stitch down, around the bottom, and then back up to the other side, back stitch at the beginning and the end of the pocket. You can now topstitch a few straight lines down from the top of the pocket to the bottom to create the sections. Next, with right sides facing together, stitch the front and back pieces of the outer main fabric, starting at one side and finishing at the other leaving the top open. Do the same thing with the lining pieces. Now press open the seams. Take the bottom corner and fold the bag so that the side seam and bottom seam are touching and make a triangle with the bottom. This will make the bottom gussets of the bag. Measure up the seam 2.5″ and draw a line across making a triangle at the bottom, and pin. Do this with all corners on both the outer and lining. Stitch down along the lines and then cut the triangles off leaving 1/2″ seam allowance. Now turn your outer bag right side out and insert it into your lining so that the right sides of the lining and the main fabric are touching. Make sure your pocket is on the opposite side as your bag front main fabric. Pin the tops together around the top edges. Now stitch around the top of the bag leaving a gap of a few inches for turning. Now turn your bag right side out through the gap in the top. Press the top of the bag flat and straight. Now top stitch around the top of the bag stitching down the open gap. Clip excess and stray threads. Iron your bag again. Now you are ready to add the handles. Cut your leather straps to the length you like. I think I made mine around 19″ per strap. Cut one for the front and one for the back. Mark where you want your rivets on the bottom of the strap. I made mine 1/2″ from the bottom and 1″ from the first mark. Punch your holes in the straps. Mark where you want your straps on your bag. I made mine 3″ in from the side seam. Now mark and punch your holes in the fabric. To add the rivets, insert the rivet front into your strap and through the fabric layers. Push the back onto the rivet and then hammer the rivet down flat. I hammered mine onto a piece of leather to help keep my rivets smoother. Repeat with the other rivets until you have riveted down all four edges of your two straps. Iron your bag once more. And now you are ready to enjoy!
I LOVE this little tote! It would make a great gift, and is perfect for any time of year, not just Valentine’s Day. You can customize the bag by changing the fabrics and paint colors. It is a great size for an everyday bag, but it would be a nice shopper too. I hope some of you will try this one out, it is really simple to make and fun! I hope you all have a fabulous Valentine’s Day spent with the one’s you love most!