Sewing the ellie mae tote bag – my way!

Yesterday I showed you a few of the essential notions and quilting tools from brands like UNIQUE, HeirloomGütermann and the long line of HeatnBond products.

Today I’ll show you how I adapted this ellie mae tote bag pattern to use up some scraps I had left from a previous project.

ellie mae Pretty Pieced Purses pattern #K177

The pattern has the traditional tissue paper pattern pieces, but because most of the pieces were rectangular, I decided to measure the paper pattern pieces and then rotary-cut my fabric, rather than use the paper pattern pieces. This pattern is very adaptable and can be adjusted to make the size of tote bag you want.

For the outer part of the bag, I needed a rectangle that was 10″ x 30″. I sewed some leftover 2″ strips together, trimming as needed until I had enough to make that size. This also gave me a chance to use the new Komfort KUT rotary cutter with its very comfortable handle!

Of course, you can use any size of strip for this part as long as you end up with a piece 10″ x 30″.

From unpieced fabric, cut another rectangle the same size to use for the lining.

Trim the strip sets so they are even along the edges.

Leftover strips are sewn together to make the a 10″ x 30″ rectangle for the bag.

Here’s how to finish making the adapted ellie mae tote bag.

Sew the 2 short ends of the pieced rectangle together to make a tube. I love using the Heirloom flat-head pins when piecing – they never get caught up in the presser foot or feed dogs!

Sew the 2 short ends of the pieced rectangle together to make a tube.

I really liked the top section of this bag and thought I could use it again on other totes. I traced the paper pattern onto template plastic and cut it out so I had a re-usable template. Now I can just trace around it whenever I need that shape.

Trace the tissue paper pattern for the bag top on template plastic.

Measure the width of the finished pieced tube. From contrasting fabric, cut 4 pieces for the bag top that measurement plus ½” seam allowance. Using the curved plastic template, cut out the rounded section in the center of each bag top.

From HeatnBond fusible fleece, cut 2 bag top pieces and 1 piece the same size as the lining. Trim the fleece so it’s just slightly smaller than the fabric pieces.

Following the manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the fleece to 2 bag top pieces and the lining. I also did some straight-line stitching at 4″ intervals through the lining and fleece. This will make sure the fleece doesn’t separate from the lining.

HeatnBond fusible fleece is fused and sewn to the lining and the top sections of the bag top.

Sew the short sides of the lining rectangle together to make a tube.

Sew the short sides of the bag top together to make a tube.

With right sides together, stitch the bag top to the bag bottom.

Do the same with the lining pieces.

Sew bag top to bag bottom.

To finish the bottom of the bag, cut out a 1½” square from each side. Fold the bag right sides together and stitch across the opening.

Sew across bottom of bag.

Fold the bag, matching side and bottom seams. Stitch across the opening. This will give you a nice square bottom on the bag.

Fold bag, right sides together, and stitch to make the bottom corners.

Sew the lining piece in the same way, leaving a 6″ opening in the bottom seam for turning.

Sew the bottom corners of the lining.

Be sure to come back tomorrow and I’ll show you how to make the straps for the ellie may tote bag  and finish everything up.

This is part 2 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 1: A box-ful of essential notions for all your sewing and quilting needs

Go to part 3: Finishing the ellie may tote bag

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Elaine M. March 17, 2018 - 8:02 pm
Such a sweet bag and a great way to use up some scrap fabrics.
Teri March 17, 2018 - 11:53 am
Thank you for showing a new way to use this pattern.
kathy eyre March 13, 2018 - 8:30 pm
Perfect for a lunch bag!!!
Jean Boyd March 13, 2018 - 8:36 pm
You're right!
Lynne March 13, 2018 - 7:34 pm
So fun and functional!
Jean Boyd March 13, 2018 - 8:35 pm
Glad you like it!
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