I love making tote bags, they are a useful everyday accessory as well as making great gifts . This is pretty simple to make with a slight structure to the base. You can obviously make yours as big or as small as you like.The bag i have made is large enough to fit 3 A4 folders.
Measure and cut the straps 27in x 3in
Making the bag.
Fold the fabric in half (25in length after folding)the fold will sit at the base of the bag. You will only be stitching along the sides of the bag. This will be done using a French seam to make the seam stronger.
Sewing with a French seam.
A French seam is a seam stitched first on the right side and then turned in and then stitched on the wrong side so the raw edges are enclosed inside the seam.
On the right side of the fabric
Sew a 1/2 cm seam on the right side of the fabric making sure you fix the stitch at the start and end. This can be done by reverse stitching or using the fix, stop button on the machine. Trim off any excess seam.( see above picture). Turn the bag out and press the seams using the iron.
Now sew 1cm seam on the wrong side of the fabric.( See picture below.)
Sewing the base of bag.
From the corner measure equally from the centre French seam .Measure from the edge along the French seam, draw a chalk line(see below).
Pin , tack then machine across the mitred corner (see below).
Sewing the straps
Fold the straps folding both ends towards the centre. Press with the iron this will help to hold its shape, machine along the strap. I have stitched along the fold and edge for a more visibly neater finish.(see photo below).
Double fold the top edge neatly , pin and tack this, then machine stitch . I moved the needle position to the left so I was able to sew closer to the edge of the fold.
Measure and pin straps into position, tack if you require, draw a chalk line to sew neatly across the strap . Try to position the needle onto the existing seam, this should allow you to sew on top of the seam, do not worry if you are not able to do this exactly.
Topstitch around the entire bag attaching the straps sewing close to the edge for a neater finish.