Tag Archives: purse pattern

Expandable tote bag tutorial

This bag was designed to accommodate quite a few items on the way back from the library.

Materials

  • 12 charm squares or 5 inch squares (6 for each side of the bag)
  • Scrap fabric for the top of the bag
  • Scrap fabric for  lace, sides and handle embellishments
  • Scrap fabric for  handles
  • Lining fabric
  • Medium weight one sided fusible interfacing
  • Batting

Instructions

Body of bag

Place the charm squares on 2 rows per panel.

Sew both panels as per picture below. You will end up with 2 rectangles measuring 9 1/2 x 14 inches each.

Cut a rectangle for the top of the bag measuring 14 x 5 1/2 inches.

The side panels measure about 14 1/2 x 14 inches after stitching.

Cut a piece of fusible interfacing 14 1/2 x 14 inches and fuse to the wrong side of the panel.

Expandable sides

Cut 2 pieces of fabric with the following measurements:

  • Top: 6 inches
  • Base: 2 inches
  • Side: 14 1/2 inches

The resulting shape is an isosceles trapezoid with the top 2 inches wide and the bottom 6 inches wide.

Pin and stitch each piece to one of the panels as per picture below. Then iron flat.

Tabs

Cut one 5 inch charm square in 4 strips like below.

Fold in half and iron, then fold each side in and iron again.

Top stitch each strip, make a tube with it and pin to the bag.

Centre the tabs as per picture.

Stitch to the bag at the top and bottom of the tab. Do 3 passes with the machine using a tight zigzag stitch.

Batting

Batting will only be added to the side panels.

Cut 2 14 x 14 1/2 inches rectangles and pin to the side panels.

Stitch along the seams of the charm squares to secure the batting.

Trim off excess batting when finished.

Stitch along the expandable sides seam as well.

Now place both sides of the bag right sides together and stitch along the sides.

Then fold the bag as per picture and stitch along the bottom.

When finished, fold the bag as per picture and stitch about one inch in the batting as per picture.

Cut the corner off.

For a better crisper finish, top stitch along the seams where the expandable side and the side panels meet.

This is what the expandable panel looks like after topstitching.

Lace/belt

The finished size of each belt is 2 in x 29 in.

Cut 2 strips of fabric  measuring 4 1/2 x 30 inches. Fold in half and stitch around leaving a 1/4 seam allowance. Leave a 2 to 3 inch opening on the side to turn belt inside out.  Stitch the endings at an angle as per picture.

Turn belt inside out after stitching and close the opening. Iron flat.

Put the belt through the tabs as per picture.

Tie the sides.

Lining

Use each side of the bag to cut the lining. Place the sides on the lining fabric and cut.

Then sew both sides together leaving an opening at the bottom of the lining to turn bag inside out. For the lining leave 1/2 inch allowance instead so that the lining is slightly smaller than the bag.

To make the corners do as you did with the bag earlier. Stitch along the corner.

Trim off.

Place the lining over the outside bag as in the photo and pin.

Stitch along the top of the bag. The opening at the bottom of the lining is where we will be turning the bag around.

Turn bag inside out.

Top stick along the top of the bag.

Close the lining opening.

We are now ready to add the handles.

Handles

Cut 2 strips of fabric measuring 5 in x 22 1/2 in.

Cut 2 strips of interfacing measuring 4 1/2 in x 22 in.

Iron the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric.

Fold strip in half as per picture and draw a half circle.

Stitch around the circle and the rest of the strip leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Leave a 2 to 3 inch opening to turn handle inside out.

When turned, iron flat.

Top stitch for a crisper finish.

The handles are ready. They are quite wide because the bag is designed to carry a bit of weight.

Handle embellishment

Cut a rectangle 5 1/2 in x 1 3/4 in. Fold in half, then fold sides in and iron.

Using a needle, stitch at regular intervals making a frill as per picture.

Pull from both sides of the thread to obtain the desired length.

Pin to the end of each handle.

Baste in place.

Topstitch to secure frill to handle.

Then place the handle 2 inches in from the side of the bag.

Align the top of the bag with the end of the round part of the the handle as per picture below.

Sew handles in place.

The handle is sewn on the edge of the handles and then 1/4 inch in as well for strength.

The bag is finished.

Detail of bag

The bag is very roomy. The size can be adjusted by loosening or tightening the belts.

If you make this bag, please upload a photo to my Flickr group or Instagram and tag me with @teresadownunder.

www.flickr.com

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