Light and Loveliness

Reflections of Emily Sue Allen


DIY Fabric Tote

So, for some reason, every time I’m just about to have a baby, I get crazy amounts of inspiration for creative projects. Nesting. Yes. Except I’m not really into the organizing, cleaning, purging – mostly because I’ve already been doing that over the past several months. So after I finished making the baby blanket over the weekend, which happened to be early in the day, I decided I hadn’t done enough sewing, so I marched myself over to the fabric store and bought the following fabric. Actually, my husband drove me to the store, and all the kids were along, so I couldn’t afford to sit and consider and ponder and change my mind one hundred times about what I was going to get. As a result, I picked out this combo in record time. I had poked around on Pinterest looking for some ideas for simple fabric totes, and came upon this tutorial for some guidance.

In the past, I have been very shy of committing to colors in any creative project. I always choose plain, safe, practical, and rarely anything very flashy. The ironic thing is when I’m photographing families, I absolutely love it when they coordinate bright or bold colors in their wardrobe, so when I was thinking more about this tote, I wanted to choose fabrics that would challenge my plain jane habit. I went into it knowing I would be making this for a friend, so I considered fabrics that reminded me of her aesthetic, and also had a bit of color that I might not normally choose myself.

I followed the tutorial fairly closely with regard to measurements, but decided to leave the frills behind. Ruffles aren’t really my thing. I also couldn’t get it gathered quite right, so I made the front ruffles a flat panel instead. Below is the front side of the tote. I was excited to incorporate the D-rings into the handles as an added touch, even though my straps and loops ended up being just a little wide. I love that its not quite perfect.

The inside is fully lined, and I sewed in a few pockets that can hold necessary items like a phone, keys, pens, etc so they are not floating around the bottom of the bag. I have made several other totes in the past, but this is the first time I’ve followed a tutorial or measured anything for a tote…and let me say, lining the inside of a bag is way easier when you know what size the bag actually is. Sometimes being a free spirit does not make things easier! This time it came together so seamlessly…I may just start getting a little more serious about measuring things instead of winging it. Maybe.

This is the first time I’ve ever done boxed corners. They were really much easier than I expected. I followed this tutorial to learn how to do them.

Overall, I am really pleased with how this turned out. In fact, I think it is the most sophisticated thing I’ve sewn to date, and I’m really looking forward to making another sometime soon. I did finish it in one evening (bonus for short attention-span me), and if I could give any advice, I would recommend completing some of the smaller details first. Straps. D-ring loops, interior pockets. Then when you get the structure put together, you can proceed to attach those pieces as you’re ready for them instead of having to stop and do each side-project in order to move forward.

1 Comment DIY Fabric Tote

  1. Jani Hedegaard

    Great job Emily! I love the colors and patterns. This is a very productive way of “nesting”, but don’t forget to try and rest as much as possible…


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