Friday, September 17, 2010

Bone Appetit Tea Towel Tote

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.

I made a pocket from a scrap of lining that was about 8 x 9 inches and finished the edges.  I then sewed a strip of the same grosgrain ribbon across the top of the pocket.
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!
Center the pocket on the right side of one piece of the lining and sew in place, stitching all around the edges about 1/4 from the edge and reinforcing the top corners so they will be stronger.  You can add a pocket to the other side of the lining as well if you want.  I just made one inside pocket.
Now sew the lining to the lining right sides together around the sides and bottom, leaving a 5" gap on one of the sides for turning the right sides out.
Make a box corner on each outside and lining piece. Click here to get a tutorial on how to make a box corner that is so easy!
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! 
I love the grosgrain ribbon trim on the handles and in the pocket!
Sweet pups!

You can see some of my other tea towel projects here and here and here


Tasha said...

Bag are the best! Fun fun fun.

Nancy Elizabeth Carey said...

very cute! xoxo's nancy

Anonymous said...


Meg said...

I like making bags & dogs! This makes me want one... very creative idea! I never would have thought to do this !

coastal cavegirl said...

Cute! Makes me wish I could sew!

Stopping by from Check Me Out Saturday!

Jill said...

Beautiful tea -towel that makes a great bag!

Thanks for linking (sorry my comments on your other posts got a bit stuck together!!)

Jill @ Creating my way to Success

Daffy's Dream said...

Very cute one!

Misty @Creative Itch said...

Very cute! Thanks for linking @Creative Itch's "Sew Cute Tuesday"!

Melissa said...

I love bags! Thanks for linking up this super cute project!

KimMalk said...

That is as cute as can be, what a great use of that towel.

Quiltstory said...

Great tutorial. Thanks for linking!

Amanda- The Nutritionist Reviews said...

Aww that is super cute!

I found your blog through one of the Thursday blog hops. Have a great night!

Amanda @

Lori@Paisley Passions said...

So cute!!! Thanks for sharing on Thrilling Thursday!!!
~Lori S.
Thrilling Thursdays @Paisley Passions

Mare said...

hi ellen:)....
your works are very nice , bravo:))
I am your newest follower.....
greetings from croatia:))....

Katie said...

Thank you for sharing another fantastic project at A Crafty Soiree! I had no idea tea towels could be used in such a creative way. Thanks for the tute and helpful tips. A dog lover would really go wild over that!