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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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Donna Mattison-Earls March 17, 2018 - 9:29 pm
Thank you for these directions. They are very clear and the photos are excellent.
Laura Sloan March 17, 2018 - 8:47 am
I love the spring colors! This looks like a nice project for my grand daughter.
Margaret Krogstad March 17, 2018 - 5:48 am
I am going to make one of these super cute totes!
Margaret C Graczyk March 17, 2018 - 2:21 am
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!). ;)
Brenda Alburl March 14, 2018 - 8:30 pm
Cute tote!
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