I found this cute Rottweiler tea towel for $1, I knew I could do something with it...originally I thought I would put it in a basket for my upcoming fundraisers.
It's unique and cute...
I decided to make a tote bag out and since my last few tea towel posts, I have had some requests for a tutorial. This may not be the best first tote to make because I lined it and used an iron on fleece to give the finished product more stability.
So here is what you need:
One tea towel
Fabric for lining the same size as the tea towel plus enough for two 4 x 40 (or however long you want your straps to be) strips for the straps
Iron on fleece lightweight lining the size of your tea towel x 2
Grosgrain ribbon (I used 7/8" width) the length of your handles x 2
Sewing supplies--pins, scissors, sewing machine, thread
I started by removing the hems all around the edge of my tea towel...I wanted it a hair longer larger, so that gave me another half inch all the way around.
Then cut the tea towel in half (my towel had a design that needed this).
I cut two pieces of lining fabric the same size as the tea towel.
I cut four pieces of the iron on fleece the same size as the tea towel pieces.
Now bond the fleece to the tea towel and lining.
Sorry the pics are not better...I think my camera is trying to croak on me! Plus it was late last night and the light wasn't so great!
Now, we need to make the straps. I used long straps because I like the cross body style of tote bag, but you can make your handles as long or as short as you want. You could measure the handles of a tote bag you have and go with that measurement or just pick a number!
I sewed the tubes (remember they were strips cut 4 x 40"), right sides together and then turned them right sides out.
Iron them so they lie completely flat.
You can see an un-ironed strap in the back and an ironed one in the front. I sewed my 7/8 wide grosgrain ribbon over the seam so it looks like the handle is completely seamless. Use a matching thread and sew just on the edge of each side of the ribbon for both handles.
Next, mark where you want the handles to sit on the tote. I made mine to start 5" from the edge of the bag. I marked the same spot on the outside (the tea towel side) and sewed the wrong side of the handle to the right side of the outside tote bag. I made several seams to make sure they stay put!
Now turn the outside (the tea towel part) wrong side out. And turn the lining right side out. Tuck the lining into the tea towel part and match the top edges and pin together.
Like this and this...
Now sew a 1/2" seam completely around the top edge, remove the pins.
Now find that gap you left in the side of the lining...I always use the side of the lining to turn the project because it is not as visible as leaving the gap in the bottom of the bag.
It should look something like this...
Press the top edges and then sew about 3/4" from the top edge.
Don't be alarmed if your lining looks like this...smooth it down, tucking the corners of the lining into the corners of the outside. Press, and I use steam to smooth it all out.
Now sew up the gap in the side of the lining. I just do this on the machine but you could also hand stitch it together.
Now the best part....Enjoy your bag!