Hands up who is taking their lunches into work so they can stay away from temptation before their holiday…
If you’ve got your hand up right now (or have agreed in your head…that counts too!) then you’ll love Week 6 of the Summer Sun-day Series, the mini tote bag – much cooler than your Tupperware box or paper bag!
If you’ve made my Fabric Shopper, you’ll be familiar with how to make this, it’s just on a smaller scale. You can make this from just over a fat quarter of fabric (well a fat quarter and a quarter of another fat quarter actually but that’s far too many quarters in one sentence, even for me!)
To make your own, you’ll need:
- One fat quarter of fabric, plus a strip off another fat quarter for your contrasting stripe
- Matching or contrasting thread (if you’re less confident, go with a similar colour thread)
- Tape measure
- Tailors Chalk (or pencil)
- Set Square, T Square, or Perspex Patchwork Ruler to get the perfect right angle
- Iron and ironing board
- Sewing machine
- Lay your fat quarters out so your shorter sides are sitting vertically and your longer sides are horizontal
- Mark and cut one quarter of your contrasting fat quarter to act as your bag stripe
- On your main fat quarter, measure and mark 10cm from the top of your fat quarter and cut, repeat this so you have two pieces of fabric for your handles; put to one side for now
- Put your bag pieces right sides facing outwards and pin in place
- Sew along this line using a 0.5cm seam allowance to attach the two fabric pieces together
- Fold your fabric pieces so they are now right sides together and pin in place; press with a hot iron if needed
- Sew along this line using a 1cm seam allowance to encase the raw edges from your first seam (if you’ve not done this before, this is what is called a French seam, I love them as they’re really neat)
- Open your fabric and press, with the French seam facing downwards
- Fold the bag rectangle in half (with the right side of the fabric facing outwards) press the fold with a hot iron
- For each of your handle rectangles, fold them in half lengthways (with the right side facing outwards) and press the fold. Open this back up and fold both edges into the centre fold and press (if you were to open it back out, it should look like you have three folds, splitting your rectangle into quarters lengthways). Fold the handle in half lengthways on your original fold so the raw edges are contained within the folds and press again to keep your folds in place
- Using a straight stitch and a quarter inch (or 0.5cm) seam allowance, sew the bottom and side seam of your bag rectangle…don’t panic, you’re supposed to do this with the right side of the fabric facing outwards.
- Turn your bag inside out and press along the bottom and side seams to make the next step easy
- Leaving your bag turned inside out, sew the bottom and side seams, this time leaving a half inch (or 1cm) seam allowance…yes, another French seam.
- Turn your bag so the right side of the fabric is facing outwards again and press again
- Put your bag to one side as we’ll need to sew the handles next
- Using a quarter inch (or 0.5cm) seam allowance, sew a straight line of stitches on both long edges of each handle – this will keep the folds in place and give you a professional finish – I would recommend sewing the side with two folds first, and the side with one fold second.
- Press under 3cm and then another 3cm around the top of the bag
- Slip the ends of the handles into the fold and position your handles and pin in place (Top Tip: measure in from the side of the bag on both sides to make sure your handles are identically placed and balanced – you should have about 6cm from the edge of the bag to the handle on each side) – you’ll find your handle is 6cm shorter at each end where it follows where you have turned your bag top under
- Using a quarter inch (or 0.5cm) seam allowance, sew a straight line of stitches around the top and bottom of the bag top (this will secure your handles and hold the folded under section in place – again, this gives a really professional finish
There you have it; taking your lunch to work never looked so good!
If you’re looking for something to make for your lunch, have you seen my post for Tomato and Pancetta Pasta Sauce? Really easy to make and would make a really tasty lunch.
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