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Crafts for fall: Plenty of Pockets Tote tutorial

Bags, Sewing  |  September 14th 2011  |  0 Comment

Sewing patterns

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Sewing Tools You Need
  • Any Sewing Machine
  • Twin Needle
Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • Fabric for the bag exterior, pocket exteriors and strap exterior: ¾ yard of 58-60" wide heavy cotton twill; we used 100% cotton twill in brown from Fabric.com 
  • Fabric for the bag lining, pocket linings and strap lining as well as the one inner pocket: 1 yard of 44-45" wide cotton; we used Loulouthi Clippings in AH38-Glow   by Anna Maria Horner for Free Spirit Fabrics 
  • 1 yard of 44-45" wide heavyweight fusible interfacing for tote and pockets
  • 1 yard of 20" wide lightweight fusible interfacing for tote lining and interior pocket
  • 1 large decorative button: we used a 1½" wooden button 
  • 4 smaller decorative buttons to match the large button: we used ¾" matching wooden buttons 
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics
  • All purpose thread to contrast with exterior fabric for topstitching: we matched green and pale pink from the Glow lining fabric as our twin needle topstitching accent colors 
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Seam gauge
  • Straight pins
Getting Started
  1. Download and print ALL EIGHT of the  8½" x 11" pattern sheets: Tote Body 1, Tote Body 2, Tote Body 3, Tote Body 4, Large Pocket 1, Large Pocket 2, Small Pocket 1, Small Pocket 2.
     IMPORTANT:  You must print all these PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. 
  2. Cut out the template pieces along the solid lines.
  3. Following the diagram on each printout, tape each set of pieces together (four pieces for the tote body, two pieces each for the two pockets). Butt together your cut pieces and tape; do NOT overlap.
  4. From the fabric you are using for the exteriors (brown cotton twill in our sample), cut the following, using your assembled patterns as necessary:
     TWO Tote Bodies
     TWO Large Pockets
     TWO Small Pockets
     ONE 3" x 48" strip
     ONE 2" x 9"
  5. From the fabric you are using for the interiors (Loulouthi Clippings in Glow in our sample), cut the following, using your assembled patterns as necessary:
     TWO Tote Bodies
     TWO Large Pockets
     FOUR Small Pockets
     TWO 3" x 24½" strips
  6. From the heavyweight fusible interfacing, cut the following, using your assembled patterns as necessary:
     TWO Tote Bodies
     TWO Large Pockets
     TWO Small Pockets
     ONE 3" x 48" strip (this can be pieced if necessary)
  7. From the lightweight fusible interfacing, cut the following, using your assembled patterns as necessary:
     TWO Tote Bodies
     ONE Small Pocket
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
  1. Place a Tote Body exterior piece wrong side up on the ironing board. Following the manufacturer's instructions, apply one Tote Body piece cut from the heavyweight  fusible interfacing, making sure all edges match.

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  2. Repeat for the second Tote Body exterior piece.
  3. Place one Large Pocket exterior piece wrong side up on the ironing board. Following the manufacturer's instructions, and as you did above, apply one Large Pocket piece cut from the heavyweight  fusible interfacing, making sure all edges match.
  4. Repeat for the second Large Pocket exterior piece and for each of the two Small Pocket exterior pieces.
  5. Place one Tote Body lining piece wrong side up on the ironing board. Following the manufacturer's instructions, and as you did above, apply one Tote Body piece cut from the lightweight  fusible interfacing, making sure all edges match.

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  6. Repeat for the second Tote Body lining piece.
  7. Place one Small Pocket lining piece wrong side up on the ironing board. Following the manufacturer's instructions, and as you did above, apply the Small Pocket piece cut from the lightweight  fusible interfacing, making sure all edges match.
Create the pockets
  1. Match each pocket with a pocket lining.
     NOTE: You'll have two Small Pocket lining pieces left: the one you fused the interfacing to and one plain piece. Set these aside; they will become the interior pocket. 
  2. Using a ½" seam allowance, sew all four pairs of pockets together along the upper and lower edges. The sides remain open.
  3. Trim each seam and clip along the curve, being careful to not clip into your seam. Turn each pocket right sides out. Press.
     NOTE: You notch the curve to allow the seam to 'give' a bit when you turn it right side out; this gives you a smoother finished curve. 
  4. Switch to your twin needle and contrasting thread.
  5. Topstitch each pocket along the upper edge. Check our our quick tip tutorial on twin needles if you are new to this accessory.

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Placing the pockets on the tote
  1. Switch back to your regular needle.
  2. Following the lines on the pattern pieces, mark the placement of the folds onto the two Tote Body exterior pieces.

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  3. Place the lower edge of one Large Pocket ¼" above the fold line at the lower edge of one Tote Body.

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  4. Edgestitch the lower edge of the pocket using matching thread.

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  5. Place the lower edge of the Small Pocket at the fold line, just below  the stitched edge of the Large Pocket. The pockets are staggered to reduce bulk.
  6. Edge stitch the lower edge of the Small Pocket using matching thread.
  7. Baste along each side of the Tote Body, securing the pockets.

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  8. Repeat for the second set of Tote Body exterior pieces.
  9. Pin the two completed Tote Body pieces right sides together, matching all raw edges.
  10. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners and leaving the upper edge open.
  11. With the bag still wrong side out, the next step is to box the bottom corners of the bag.
  12. Using both hands, pinch and pull apart one bottom corner.
  13. As you keep pulling, the fabric will begin to make a little peak with the corner point at the top with the seam line running down the middle of both sides. Precisely match the two seams front to back. Repeat for the opposite corner.

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  14. Our bag is sized for 2" sides and base. To create this width, you need to figure your boxed corner seam at half that finished width. Therefore, in our sample we measured 1" from the tip of each corner peak.
  15. Draw a horizontal line at this measurement on each side.
  16. Pin your folded and measured 'peaks' and stitch along the drawn lines. Remember, your seams should be perfectly lined up on either side of the 'peak.'.
  17. Stitch back and forth along the line two or three times to reinforce.
  18. Trim away the peak on each side to about ¼" from the seam line.

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  19. Leave the tote wrong side out.
Loop closure
  1. The 2" x 9" strip in the cotton twill is for the button closure. Press the long sides of the strip toward the center.

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  2. Fold the strip in half lengthwise, encasing the raw edges and matching the folded edges. Top stitch along both long edges.
  3. Fold the strip in half to form a tab style loop, with the ends matching and a 'triangle point' at the opposite end. Stitch across the triangle end (following the previous stitching line) to secure the point.

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  4. Place the tab on the center top of one side of the tote exterior. The raw tab ends should be even with the raw upper edge of the tote. Baste in place.

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Create the lining with its interior pocket
  1. Pin the two remaining Small Pocket lining pieces (the plain piece and the interfaced piece) right sides together.
  2. Using a ½" seam, sew together along the upper and lower edges. Trim and carefully clip the curve.

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  3. Turn the pocket right sides out. Topstitch with matching thread along the upper edge of the pocket
  4. As you did with the exterior body pieces, follow the pattern to mark the placement of the fold lines onto the two Tote Body lining pieces.
  5. Place the lower edge of the Small Pocket ¼" above the fold line at the lower edge of one Tote Body lining.
  6. Edgestitch the lower edge of the pocket using matching thread.

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  7. Pin the two lining pieces right sides together. Stitch around three sides, keeping the upper edge open.
  8. Following the same steps as you did for the bag exterior, create two 2" boxed corners.

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  9. Turn the lining right side out.
  10. Find your finished tote (which should still be wrong side out).
  11. Place the tote lining inside the tote exterior so the right sides are together. Match the raw upper edges. Pin together all around the upper edge.
  12. Using a ½" seam allowance, sew around the upper edge, leaving a 4" opening to turn. Trim and clip the seam, except at the opening. Leave the full seam allowance at the opening.
  13. Turn the tote right side out through the opening.
  14. Press in the edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam and pin in place.
  15. Switch back to the twin needle and contrasting thread.
  16. Topstitch around the the entire upper edge. This adds a decorative finishing touch and closes that opening.
The strap
  1. Switch back to your regular needle and matching thread.
  2. Apply the heavyweight interfacing to the 3" x 48" exterior strip, following the manufacturer's instructions.
  3. Press under all edges ½".

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  4. Using a ½" seam allowance, sew the two 3" x 24½" lining strips together end to end to create one 48" length.
  5. Press under all edges ½".
  6. Pin the lining strip and the exterior strip wrong sides together, matching all folded edges.
  7. Switch back to the twin needle and contrasting thread.
  8. Topstitch around all four sides, pivoting at the corners. Add an additional row of topstitching down the center of the strap.

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  9. Position either end of the strap so it is centered over the side seam and extends down the side approximately 3". Pin in place.
  10. Sew two ¾" buttons to each end through all layers, securing the strap in place.

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  11. Sew the 1½" button to the tote opposite the button loop.

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Source: sew4home.com/projects/storage-solutions/915-travel-accessories-plenty-of-pockets-tote