Here’s another DIY idea that makes a great gift: Tote bags. Patterns for these babies are all over the Internet. I started with this tutorial at Sew Mama Sew, but decided to make some changes based on the shopping bag tutorial in One Yard Wonders (which you must buy, if you haven’t already).
(If you care at all about the dimensions of the bag, here’s a quick and dirty overview. Figuring out how big I wanted to make the bag was the most difficult part of this process. I ended up cutting the main body of the bag based on the pattern in One Yard Wonders – 19 inches by 36 inches. Then, I folded it in half – making the bag 19 inches by 18 inches – and cut a 3 inch square at the base. This made it really simple to make a box bottom. Please see One Yard Wonders for complete details. However, unlike the book, I just did a basic seam on the inside of the bag. For the pocket and the handles, I just used what I had. I found that having at least 5 inches width for the handles was best.)
While you can make this out of any fabric, I got attached quite attached to quilted fabric, pre-made at the fabric store. I originally found small pieces in the remnant bin at Joann’s. They were less than a yard each – around 5/8 yard each – and I picked them up. I thought it would make a good bag for a trip to the gym or a nice shopping bag, and the thick fabric makes it retain its shape and stay pretty sturdy. The quilting also gives a good guide for cutting straight lines and looks nice from the inside and outside.
I ended up making six bags, and I have fabric to make a few more for myself. I think they’ll make particularly nice shopping bags for the mall. Do you ever go to the mall or Target and not want to lug in those ugly grocery bags?
When I had extra fabric, I made sunglasses cases or small velcro pouches (perfect for jewelry at the gym or a cell phone in your purse).
I embroidered each of the bags with the person’s initial. (My new sewing machine has embroidery function.)
So, I was really happy with how they turned out. And, they really only each took a few hours to make (probably a lot less if you are any good at cutting and pinning fabric, I’m terrible). You could easily make three totes and a few small bags out of 2 yards.
Isn’t the inside cute with the polka dots?
Because I do not have the skill or patience to create tutorials, here are a links for tote bag tutorials that I enjoyed/found helpful:
Market Bag Tutorial at Film in the Fridge
Mini Market Tote at Chubby*Hobby (I really wanna try this pattern out)
Classic Tote at Sew Mama Sew
Have you made your own tote bags? Tell me what patterns you use!