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Video:How to Sew a Tote Bag

with Emeline Villedary

This video explains how to sew a tote bag easily. See these step-by-step instructions for how to sew a tote bag that you can use or give as a gift.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Sew a Tote Bag

Hi I'm Emeline Villedary for About.com and today we're going to learn how to sew a tote bag.

Supplies for Sewing a Tote Bag

What you'll need for this project is one rectangle of fabric 40 inches by 16 inches and two rectangles of fabric 32 inches by 6 inches.

Preparing to Sew a Tote Bag

Taking our larger piece, our 40 inch by 16 inch piece and folding it in half, right sides together. We are going to start the project at the ironing board so turn your iron on to high. If you have a steam iron that's great. So we've folded our rectangle down in half and we're going to measure with our measuring tape an inch down from the top, we're going to fold that inch down and go over it with the steam iron, just like that. Using that initial side we'll fold down again and press it again. We'll repeat that step on the other side. We've folded down the hems for the top part of our bag. We'll unfold them. We have our crease marked and we're going to pin the sides of our bag.

Sewing a Tote Bag Using a Sewing Machine

Once our side is pinned we're ready to settle down at the sewing machine. With a half of an inch seam allowance sew a straight stitch all the way down to the bottom, remembering to backstitch at the top and the bottom. Do this on both sides. So now that we've sewn the sides of the bag down with a straight stitch it's time to zigzag that edge.

You'd like to close up edges so that the fabric doesn't fray. We'll fold down the sides of the ironed edge which will make it much easier for us to sew the hem down for the top part of our bag and remember to change your stitch back to the straight stitch. Great - we have the bottom piece of our bag. Next iron down our strap rectangles, fold it in half and with our steam iron just steam down that centre. We're marking the centre point of our piece. I'm going to unfold it and fold it back down towards the centre and fold the top down towards the centre. We want to measure about a half of an inch down here on the edge to tuck in the sides of our strap and you'll basically want to fold all those edges back in. So starting with the short end you'll want to line yourself up with the one eighth of an inch seam allowance and sew all the way around.

So now that we've sewn our straps it's time to fix the straps to the body of the bag. We've going to line the outer edge of the strap with the two and a half inch mark and then one and a half inches from the top. So remembering to back stitch we're going to box stitch this strap on a quarter of an inch away from the hem of the bag. Lift the presser foot up, rotate it and bring it back down. There we have our nice box stitch and here we have our finished tote bag.

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