Oriental tote construction

I was just browsing my own blog ( sad, I know!) and I saw that I said I would post pics of how I put Elizabets tote together. It may be of interest to some of you, and you may have suggestions on how I could do it differently. Please bear in mind that I don't measure, I cut once, and I make it fit regardless!
Click on pics, they'll get bigger.

First, I line,sew, turn and close up each side. So this in itself is a completed block.

I have already made my handle, as wide as I want it to be, and as long. This bag has a long handle. I would do the same for short handles, but the gusset would stop at the top of the bag, and I would of added tabs (for hardware handles) or sewn in fabric handles when sewing up the sides, This pic shows me positioning the gusset centrally on the block. I sew together just along the bottom.

Then I sew on the second side, just along the bottom. This ensures that both sides are placed evenly on the handle.

All sewing is "right sides together" as per the usual

Next I sew the sides up on one block. I tend to start from the bottom of the bag, and sew to the top. That stops that 'runching up' you can get. ( I don't know where the other side is in this pic, but I was careful to keep them in order, so it's there somewhere.

Here I am lining up the other side. Again, I start from the bottom and sew up to the top (opening end) of the bag. I added the pocket before lining the block (make sure you sew it on the right way!)

This it what one side looks like finished. I have also stitched across the bottom from corner to corner, just to give the bottom a nice square look.

This is the last row of stitching being done. I just rolled the bag up, and whipped it through the machine

All that is left to do now is sew the handle together at the top. I didn't do this with Elizabets bag. We decided that it would be better for her to adjust the length to suit her.
I find this works much better for me than making a separate lining, as they usually don't fit well. The bag has no raw edges showing, and looks well constructed. Who could ask for more?


Anonymous said...

I went out with the bag you made me today and got SO many lovely comments...
One lady was rather disgruntled that it was from NZ and not one of the fancy boutiques in town!

Gerry said...

This bag is so lovely. Knowing your work, I would expect nothing less. Thanks for the 'how to' on assembling it.

Elizebet, you should have offered to refer her to Jo to get one of her own. I'm sure Jo would have been willing to charge her a 'fancy boutique' price just to make her happy. LOL.