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Finishing the ellie may tote bag

 

Yesterday I showed you how to adapt the ellie mae Pretty Pieced Purses pattern so you could use up some fabric scraps to make a tote bag. Today I’ll show you how to make the straps and put everything together to finish up the project.

 

ellie mae Pretty Pieced Purses pattern #K177
ellie mae Pretty Pieced Purses pattern #K177

 

For the straps, cut 2 strips 3″ x 20″. It’s a good idea to cut the straps so the longest measurement (20″) is on the lengthwise grain of the fabric. This will help to minimize stretching.

Cut a piece of HeatnBond fusible fleece slightly smaller than each strap. Fuse the fleece to the wrong side of each strap.

 

Heavy weight high loft, iron-in fleece sheets are constructed for quilters, crafters. Perfect for crafts such as handbag construction, quilting, and home décor projects. Machine washable and dry cleanable.
Heavy weight high loft, iron-in fleece sheets are constructed for quilters, crafters. Perfect for crafts such as handbag construction, quilting, and home décor projects. Machine washable and dry cleanable.

 

Press HeatnBond fusible fleece to wrong side of handles
Press HeatnBond fusible fleece to wrong side of handles

 

Fold the straps in half lengthwise, right sides together, and stitch. Turn straps right side out and top-stitch close to each edge.

 

Top-stitch edges of handles.
Top-stitch edges of handles.

 

Sew the handles to the outer bag.

 

Sew the handles to the outer bag.
Sew the handles to the outer bag.

 

Place the lining inside the bag, right sides together and stitch all around the top, making sure the handles stay in place.

 

Stitch lining to outside of bag.
Stitch lining to outside of bag.

 

Turn the bag right side out through the opening in the bottom of the lining. Hand stitch the opening closed. When doing this last part, I got to try these flexible Heirloom thimbles. They were so comfortable to use!

 

Soft, pliable, lightweight thimbles are comfortable and fit most finger sizes. I like the colors too.
Soft, pliable, lightweight thimbles are comfortable and fit most finger sizes. I like the colors too.

 

I like to have something firm in the bottom of a tote to keep it from sagging when carrying stuff. I found a couple of things in my local dollar store that would work very well for this – a plastic cutting mat and a foam core board. Each can be cut easily with scissors or a craft knife.

 

Plastic cutting mat and foam core board
Plastic cutting mat and foam core board

 

I measured the bottom of the tote and then cut a piece of foam core just slightly smaller than that. Then I made a sleeve from leftover fabric, slipped the foam core inside and placed it at the bottom of the tote.

 

Make a sleeve for the foam core.
Make a sleeve for the foam core.

 

And here’s my finished tote bag! I hope you enjoyed seeing how I used the ellie mae tote bag pattern and adapted it so I could use my leftover fabric pieces.

 

My version of the ellie mae Pretty Pieced Purses pattern
My version of the ellie mae Pretty Pieced Purses pattern

 

Be sure and come back tomorrow and I’ll show you a wonderful product called Stitch-n-Steam by Unique.

 

This is part 3 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 2: Sewing the ellie mae tote bag – my way!

Go to part 4: The magic of Stitch-n-Steam

Jean has been designing and publishing patterns since 1997. For the past 10 years she has been designing patterns for new fabric collections by Northcott Fabrics. Her work has been published in several magazines in both Canada and the United States. Jean holds a Fiber Arts Certificate in quilting and has taught extensively throughout Canada, including six national Quilt Canada conferences. She was named "Canadian Teacher of the Year" in 2003 by the Canadian Quilters Association and has won numerous awards for her quilts.

5 Comments

  1. Donna Mattison-Earls

    Thank you for these directions. They are very clear and the photos are excellent.

  2. Laura Sloan

    I love the spring colors! This looks like a nice project for my grand daughter.

  3. Margaret Krogstad

    I am going to make one of these super cute totes!

  4. Margaret C Graczyk

    I like how you added the foam core to the straps. That’s one product that really makes those bag/purse straps not dig into your arms & shoulders when you’ve overpacked it (again!). 😉

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