These are instructions on how to make this charming Spring-themed tote bag, featuring the Gladioluses design. The original tote bag is available for sale in our Etsy store!
The finished size of the tote is about 15" high, 4" deep and 15" wide along the upper edge.
For embroidery you will need a piece of light-colored fabric cotton fabric and medium-weight iron-on cut-away stabilizer.
For the bag, you will need scraps of differently colored batiks in the colors of the embroidery; 1/2 yard of green batik for the outer bag and about 3/4 yard of fabric for the lining. You will also need batting.
Stabilize the light-colored cotton fabric with medium-weight iron-on cut-away stabilizer. Select threads using the color card and make the embroidery.
Press the embroidery. With a rotary cutter and straight-edge, cut away the excess fabric around the embroidery leaving 1/4" margins for seams.
Sewing patchwork panel around the embroidery:
Note: All seam allowances are 1/4".
Measure the height of the embroidered piece, it should be around 6 1/2". Out of green fabric, cut 2 strips measuring 3/4" wide and 6 1/2" long (or whatever the height of the embroidery was). Sew them to the left and right edges of the embroidery. Press the seams.
Measure the width of the embroidery with the new green borders. It should be around 5 3/4". Out of green fabric, cut 2 strips measuring 3/4" x 5 3/4". Sew the strips to the upper and lower edges of the embroidery. Press the seams.
For the next border choose fabric of one of the hues of the embroidery. We used lilac. Measure the width of the working piece. Cut 2 strips 1" wide and the length of the width of your work. Sew the strips to the upper and lower edges. Press the seams.
Measure the height of the working piece. Cut 2 strips 1" wide and the length of the height of your work.
Sew them to the left and right edges of the working piece.
Out of scraps of differently colored batiks, cut strips measuring 1 1/2" x 2 1/2". You will need 38 strips.
Lay them out around the embroidery. When you like your arrangement, sew them into 2 new strips with 7 strips in each and 2 strips with 14 strips in each.
Sew the 7-part strips to the upper and lower edges of the working piece. Press the seams.
Sew the 14-parts strips to the left and right edges of the working piece. Press the seams.
Measure the height of the working piece. Out of green fabric, cut out 2 strips 3 1/2" wide and the length of the measured hight. Press the seams.
Sew the strips to the left and right edges of the central part.
Measure the width of the working piece with new borders. Out of green fabric, cut 2 strips 3 1/2" wide and the length of the measured width. Sew them to the upper and lower edges of the work. This is the front panel.
For the back panel, out of scraps of different colors, cut 34 strips measuring 1 1/2" x 4 1/2". Sew them into 2 strips consisting of 17 colored strips in each.
Out of green fabric, cut a strip measuring 2" x 17 1/2", 2 strips measuring 3 1/2" x 17 1/2" and a strip measuring 2" x 16".
Sew the green 2" x 17 1/2" strip between the multi-colored strips.
Sew the green 3 1/2" x 17 1/2" strips to the left and right edges of the working piece.
Sew the green 2" x 16" strip to the upper edge of the working piece. This is the back panel.
Out of fabric for the lining cut 2 pieces slightly larger than your top panels, about 18" x 20". Spread the backing on the table, face down. Cover with batting. Spread the top over the backing. Pin all three layers together with 1" pins.
We quilted around the embroidery and all over the panels in a free-motion style. Remove the pins while working.
When finished, press the panels with heavy steam and trim the edges. Trim the panels to the same size: 16" wide and 18" high.
Using a rotary cutter and a ruler, cut a 2 1/2" square from each corner of the lower edge of both panels.
Out of the fabric for the lining, cut a strip measuring 10" x 16 1/2". Fold it widthwise right side inwards and align the edges. Stitch 2 of the raw edges together with seam allowance 1/4"; leave the 3rd side open. Turn the working piece out.
Press. Tuck the raw edges 1/2" inside and press. Topstitch this side closed 1/8" from the edge. You'll get a rectangle measuring 9 1/2" x 8".
Position the pocket on the lining on the back panel. We have it 3" from the side edges and 4" from the upper edge of the panel.
Pin. Topstitch in place.
Sewing the Bag:
Position the panels face to face and align all edges. Stitch along the lower edge, with seam allowance 1/2".
Press the seam open. Topstitch the seam allowance 1/4" from the seam.
Out of the fabric for the lining cut a strip measuring 1 3/4" x 11". Fold and press the long edges 1/4".
Position the strip over the bottom seam. Pin.
Topstitch the strip in place.
Out of green fabric, cut 4 strips measuring 3" x 20"-22". Out of iron-on stabilizer cut 4 strips measuring 1" x 20"-22".
Position the stabilizer strips with adhesive side down, along the central line of the fabric strips. Press to adhere to the fabric.
Fold the long sides onto the stabilizer. Press.
You will have 4 strips like this:
Position the strips in pairs, with raw edges facing each other.
Topstitch the strips together.
Position one handle on the front panel 4 1/2" from the side seams. The short ends of the handle shold protrude 1/2" beyond the raw edge of the tote. Stitch close to the upper edge. Repeat with the second handle on the back panel.
Fold the working piece in half again, face side inwards. Align all edges of the panels. Stitch the panels together along one side edges with 1/2" seam allowance.
Now align and pin the side and the bottom seams. Stitch 1/2" from the raw edges. Finish the raw edges either with zig-zag stitch or with binding.
Note: if you finish the side edges with the binding, start the binding about 1" from the upper edge of the panels.
This is what the finished edges look like.
Measure the upper circumference of the tote. In our case it's 30". Cut a strip 2 1/2" longer than the circumference and 3" wide. Ours measured 3" x 32 1/2".
Fold one of the short edges of the strip 1/2" back and press.
Starting with this folded end, pin the strip along the upper edge of the bag. The strip is longer than the upper edge, leave the last 4" unpinned.
Topstitch the strip to the bag with seam allowance 1/4". Start from the folded and pined end. When you finish the unpinned end, pin it along the edge and it will overlap the folded edge. Topstitch in place.
Unfold the strip and the handles. Press. Topstitch 1/4" from the upper edge.
Fold the lower edge of the strip about 1" inside and press. By hand, stitch the edge to the lining.
On your machine, topstitch 1/4" and 1/2" from the upper edge.
Turn the tote right side out.
This is what the back panel looks like.
Your finished tote from the front.