Welcome to Team Timeless, an ongoing series of fun tutorials brought to you by some of our favorite designers! Osie Lebowitz is back this month with a tote that’s perfect for quick errands, handwork projects, or trips to the pool.
Designed as a quick grab-and-go bag, the handles are short and meant to hook over your forearm, or gather in a single hand like a shopping bag. The outside pockets are perfect for sunglasses or sunscreen, cell phones and e-readers, knitting needles, small rulers and books or notepads. Keep larger items like water bottles, magazines, yarn or towels in the easy-access main compartment.
Featuring our new Mix Basic, there are endless opportunities for fun color combos and embellishment with this project. Personalize them for friends and family, customize with monograms, or decorate with different themes like beach, library or sewing, depending on what you plan to use it for. Osie used her embroidery machine, but you could also hand embroider or appliqué, or use a favorite print to accent the front section! Let us know how you plan to customize yours in the comment section of this post.
Continue on for instructions!
Quick Trip Tote
16” x 13” x 3”
Alternate color option listed in parentheses.
½ yard Mix-C7200 Island (Slate) for bag body
½ yard Mix-C7200 Surf (Silver) for lining
½ yard Mix-C7200 Sun (Cherry) for pockets
¼ yard Mix-C7200 Orange (Charcoal) for straps
¾ yard of Pellon Fusible Fleece (44/45 wide)
Please read all instructions before beginning. Seam allowances are ½”.
TIP: Use your walking foot for your sewing machine when sewing fleece and multi layers.
If you are adding an embroidery, applique, or embellishment design on the center pocket, use this chart for placement. The design can be no bigger than 6” x 6”. Embroider first and then cut the fabric down to size listed below.
Find the center of the ½ yard cut (approximately 9” x 21”) then go 5” from the 21” mark to the right along the horizontal center.
From Mix-C7200 Island (Slate) and Mix-C7200 Surf (Silver):
– Cut each fabric 15” x width of fabric (WOF)
From Mix-C7200 Sun (Cherry):
Note: If you want to embellish the pocket, do it before cutting. Fold the half yard in half lengthwise and cut 7 ½” from the fold out to get the 15” x WOF. This will place your embroidery design.
– If you do not embellish the pocket, cut one 15” X WOF.
From Mix-C7200 Orange (Charcoal):
– Cut two 3 ½” x WOF
From Pellon Fusible Fleece:
– Cut one 15” x WOF, one 7” x WOF and two 1 ¼” x WOF
- Following the fusible fleece manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the 15” x WOF fusible fleece to the wrong side of C7200 Island (Slate) 15” x WOF for the bag body. (Optional: Quilt the 15” x WOF fabric/fleece piece.) Trim to 15” x 34”.
- For outside pocket strip, fold 15” x WOF C7200 Sun (Cherry) in half longways with wrong sides together. Press on the fold. Place the 7” x WOF fusible fleece in between the layers of C7200 Sun (Cherry) fabric, aligning the fusible fleece with the fold of the fabric. Following photo below, fold a ½” hem of C7200 Sun (Cherry) to fleece side on both long edges and pin in place. Press the layers together. Top stitch a scant ¼” along both long edges with matching or contrasting thread.
- Repeat step 2 using 3 ½” x WOF C7200 Orange (Charcoal) strips and 1 ¼” fusible fleece (see photo below). Trim straps to 42” while removing selvages on both.
- Lay the C7200 Island (Slate) right side up on a flat surface. Place C7200 Sun (Cherry) pocket strip on top of C7200 Island (Slate), while aligning the pocket 4” from the long bottom edge. Center your embroidery design for the front pocket by placing the center of the design 8 ¼” from the right side 15” edge. Pin in place and top stitch along the pocket bottom edge to hold in place. You may choose to use a decorative stitch. Trim both ends of the pocket strip to match 34” width outside bag fabric.
- Straps are attached to the front of the bag and fold around to the back of the bag. Following photo below (the bottom of the bag is where the ruler is), place first strap approximately 4 ¼” from the 15” right side. Place second strap in position, 6” to the left of the 1st strap. Top stitch in place and stop 2” from the top of the bag. Stitch across the strap to secure.
- Fold bag wrong sides together and line up the placement of the other end of the straps on the back of the bag. Pin the straps in place and top stitch, stopping 2” from the top of the bag again, and stitch across the straps.
- Fold bag right sides together. Stitch the 15” side seam together using a ½” seam allowance. Press seam open. Stitch a ½ seam along the bottom of the bag.
- To make the bag box bottom, separate the bag body by pulling sides out (expanding the bottom) to a triangle shape pointing toward the corner (see photo below). Measure 1 ½” from the corner tip and mark a perpendicular line to the seam. Stitch on the 1 ½” marked line. Repeat for the other bottom corner. Leave bag inside out for now.
- Trim C7200 Surf (Silver) bag lining to 15” x 34”. Repeat step 7 and 8 for bag lining, except leave an opening in the bottom seam of the lining for turning the bag. Turn lining right side out.
- Place the bag lining C7200 Surf (Silver) inside of the outside bag body C7200 Island (Slate), RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER. Be sure the straps are hanging between the layers of the bag and DO NOT stitch them in this seam. Align the top edges, matching side seam and pin in place. Stitch a ½ seam allowance completely around the top of the bag. Turn bag right sides out through the lining opening. Stitch the lining opening. Push lining into the bag and press around the top edge of the bag. Top stitch around the top of the bag for a final finish.
Enjoy your handy new tote!