Hey everyone! A while back I scored a super sweet vintage quilt in super shabby condition at the thrift store for a few dollars. I knew the quilt was kind of beyond repair to remake it into a quilt, but the fabrics were so lovely I thought I would use it as a cutter for some sewing projects. I thought I would make a simple tote to share with you all. This particular tote has added tabs on the side for an adjustable strap, but you could make it just as easily with just the top handles for a simpler tote. It is easy to customize it to your own style.
Here’s What You Need:
*Lining Fabric (I used an old thrifted bed sheet)
*Leather for handles or premade handles or a belt
*Pom Pom Trim (about 1/2 yard)
*Extra Cotton Fabric and interfacing for the long strap or webbing
*Bag hardware- (I bought mine Here)
*Sewing Machine and Coordinating Thread
*Fabric Glue (optional)
The first thing you want to do is cut out all of your pieces. Cut two pieces of your quilt to be 15″ wide by 17″ tall. Then cut two lining pieces to be 15″ wide by 17″ tall. If you want to add a pocket you can cut one out for that too. I cut a piece to span the bottom so it was about 15″ wide by 8″ tall. Also cut your leather strips to 2.5 wide by about 14″ for each strap. Cut two pieces of leather for your tabs to be 1.25″ by about 3″. If you are making a fabric strap cut the fabric to be 3″ wide by about 52″ long. Cut interfacing for the strap too. If you are using webbing, cut your webbing to about 52″ long.
Start your tote by sewing your trim to the bottom of your font quilt piece using your zipper foot. Then place the back quilt piece to the front with right sides together and pin around the sides and the bottom. Stitch around the sides and the bottom with a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Stitch your pocket to your lining piece if you have one. I folded my pocket piece under and stitched the top hem. Then I stitched the pocket to the lining at the bottom and side seams and then added a seam up the middle for a divided pocket. Put your back and front lining pieces together right sides touching and pin. Then stitch all around the sides and the bottom. You can go back to using your regular foot for the lining pieces as you will not be stitching around any trim. Clip the corners of both the lining and outer bag.
Turn the lining and the outer bag right side out and press.
Now you need to stitch the tabs to the sides of your tote. Decide where you want to place your tabs. I places mine so the top of the tab hit at 5.5″ from the top of the bag on the side seam. Mark with a marking pen the spot on both side seams of the bag. Insert the top of the tab into the metal ring. Fold it over so it overlaps the metal by about an inch. Then use a little dab of fabric glue to glue it in place on the side seam. Repeat with the other tab. Then top stitch the tabs onto the side seams, stitching in a square and making sure to stitch as close to the ring as you can get. A zipper foot will help with this too.
If you are making your own handles, fold the leather strips in half with the wrong sides together. Stitch down the open side as close to the edge as you can. Then stitch up the other side close to the edge. You can use premade handles or even a belt if you do not want to sew your own. Mark where you want your handles to go on the top of your bag. I made mine to be about 4″ in from each side seam. Place your handles with the ends flat against the top of the bag and the handle down towards the middle. Stay stitch the front and back handles to the front and back of the bag.
Turn the lining inside out and insert the outer bag into the lining. Match up the side seams and then pin all the way around the top.
Stitch all the way around the top of the bag leaving a few inches open for turning right side out. Use a half inch seam allowance. Pull the bag through the hole you left and pull the lining through then stuff the lining back into the bag.
Iron down the top seam of the bag. Place a pin or two to hold the opening closed smoothly.
Top stitch the hole closed close to the top. You can then top stitch around the bag if you like. I top stitched 1/2″ away from the top of mine.
Now you are ready to make the strap. Apply your interfacing and fold the piece in half with right sides together. Iron flat. Stitch down the side of the strap with a quarter inch seam allowance. Then turn your fabric right side out with either a turning tool or a chopstick, etc.
Iron the strap again. Fold the raw ends to the inside and iron flat.
Insert your strap through one of your rings so that the end comes up the back side. Fold the end over and stitch across the strap a few times.
Take the other end of the strap and insert it through the adjuster, then loop it through the other ring and back up to the wrong side of the adjuster. Loop it back through the bar and then stitch it down to the strap close to the bar. You can do the same steps with a strap for webbing, just omit the stitching of the strap step.
I am super happy with my little tote! I love all the fabrics in this quilt, they have a homey feel! It was really simple to put together. I want to say it took me around an hour to make, so it’s pretty quick to whip up. I always love to use reclaimed fabrics, but you could certainly use any fabric you like. If you decide on using thin fabric, you may want to use an interfacing to keep it from being too floppy. I hope you guys will give this bag a try sometime! I think it is a great tote for spring and summer! I’ll be back soon with another fun DIY. Until then…