Learn to sew a Tote Bag | Samantha Mackrill | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

12 Lessons (28m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Find your fabric

    • 3. Tools & supplies

    • 4. Fabric & pattern prep

    • 5. Cutting the fabric

    • 6. Sew test

    • 7. Let's begin

    • 8. Sewing the pocket

    • 9. Sew the bag

    • 10. Attaching the straps & pocket

    • 11. Topstitching & finishing

    • 12. Job well done

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About This Class

In this class, you will learn how to construct a tote bag. 

You will learn the fundamentals of:

- Choosing the right fabric
- Fabric structure
- Marking out a pattern onto fabric
- Cutting fabric correctly
- Various sewing techniques
- Helpful tools to use when sewing

I hope you enjoy this class, learning how to sew and make your very own Mitty Tote bag. Please share your creation on the student project page, or on Instagram using the hashtag, #mittytote



Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Samantha Mackrill

I teach people how to sew


Hi I'm Sam, I run a little Instagram and Blog called Made by Mitty where I share my sewing projects and tips to become a better sewist. Creating all things from jeans, to bags, shirts and jackets, I love sewing...but really, anything crafty. I'm from the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, Australia and I hope you enjoy taking my courses.

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Related Skills

Crafts Lifestyle Sewing

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1. Intro: Hi, My name is Sam and I love sewing. In this class, you will learn how to sew a simple but practical tote bag. We'll talk about the different fabrics to use all the tools. Urinate, and I'll show you the construction method step by step. Once we finished, I highly recommend you sharing pictures off your project on the Skill share Student Project page or on Instagram using the tag hashtag midi tote. I can't wait to help you on your selling journey. Let's get sewing. 2. Find your fabric: Let's talk about the best fabrics to use for your tote bag. You could start with a cotton problem, quilting, cotton or even in all bed. She. This will give you a softer bag, perfect for lightweight objects. For a stronger, more durable bag, look for a duck, cotton or cotton canvas. This fabric tends to be more rigid, and we'll give you a bag that is perfect for carrying heavier items. When you're at your local fabric store, you'll notice that there are different wits to choose from. For this project, the wider fabric is the less you'll have to purchase. For example, if you're chosen, fabric is 110 centimeters wide. You will need to purchase 90 centimeters at that fabric. If you're fabric is 150 centimeters wide, you'll only need to purchase 70 centimeters. This is because we can fit more patent paces across the width so we won't need as much length. However, you don't need to buy new fabric to make a tote bag. You could just as easily use salvaged fabric, such as an old pair of Jane's or even small curtains. Just lay your pattern pieces out to make sure that you have enough fabric toe work with In the next video, we'll be going over all the supplies you need to get started. 3. Tools & supplies: I put together a list of tools and supplies that you'll need to start your tote bag, so let's have a look at them. First of all, you'll need to the tote bag patent, which you can download from the project and resource is tab Next, Junaid your fabric, as well as a sewing machine. A nine end 19 board next, Junaid fabric scissors pins, a regular dress ciba, which is 20 centimeters long, matching thread measuring tape or ruler. And a chalk pencil or fabric safe marca. The following items. Aunt Essential, but they certainly come in handy. Some thread snaps a quick unpick and denote pattern pin. In the next video, we'll talk about Fabric and Patton Prep. 4. Fabric & pattern prep: so there is just one more thing I'd like to touch on before we cut into the fabric. Preparing your fabric before cutting is an important step for any project. Ah, highly recommend washing and drying your fabric in the same manner that you normally would . This is because any fabric with the natural fibre content will generally shrink insides on its first wash. It's best to get the shrinkage out of the way before we make our project. The last thing you will need to do is have the pattern printed at your local copy shop. The file is sized at an A one sheet of paper and should be printed at no scaling or actual size so that the dimensions of correct. Once your paper Patton is cut out, we can move on to the next step cutting your fabric. 5. Cutting the fabric: now that we have everything we need, we can get started on outs. Heart bag, layer fabric out in front of you, right side down, either on a large table or on the floor. You will notice that there are two different edges to your fabric. One is the cut edge, and the other is the finished edge. This finished edge is called the salvage, and it's important to located will use this selvage edge to make sure that the pattern pieces run along the straight grain of the fabric. There are three types of grain that you'll come across in sowing the straight grain, the cross grain and the bias grain. The's terms relate to the direction of the thread used when waving the fabric. Friends that run parallel to the selvage edge up and down. I called the warp the weft threads run perpendicular to the Soviet judge, so left and right. The straight grain follows the warp threads. The cross grain follows the weft threads, and the bias grain is cut at a 45 degree angle to the straight grain. The only grain that will need to worry about for this project is the straight grain pick up the largest pattern piece, which is the front and back. You will see there is a printed arrow. This tells you the direction of the grain, which is also known as the grain line. Lay this pattern piece on your fabric, making sure the grain line runs parallel to the Soviet judge. To make sure it is completely straight, use a measuring tape or ruler to measure the distance from the edge of the fabric to the printed grain line. Carefully moved the pattern around until the distance is the same at the top and bottom of the pace. Using your fabric pencil, carefully trace around the edge of the pattern onto the fabric. You will need to do this twice, so we end up with a front end back. Now that the largest patent paces marked out, we can repeat the process with the rest of the patent paces. Make sure to follow the cutting directions marked on the pattern and only mark out as many paces as indicated with all of the pattern paces marked out. You can now move on to cutting. Join me in the next lesson where we'll do a quick so test before we start constructing out tote bag 6. Sew test: before we start sewing, it's always a good idea to do a little, so test take a scrap of your fabric and set you machine to a straight stitch. Normally, the default settings are fine, but I like to see how each stitch is gonna work on H new piece of fabric. Um, sewing. We're going to so a straight line, preferably through two layers of fabric, and we'll have a look at the States when we're done, so just take a look at it. Make sure that the stitches are nice, and even I can see that my stitch length is a little bit short, so I might increase that slightly. But other than that, it looks pretty good. Once you're happy with your setting, jot it down in a note pad for future reference. Now will test the zigzag stitch to sew this exact stitch, line up the edge of your fabric so that the NATO falls in the fabric on one side of the stitch and falls off the fabric on the other side of the stage. This will wrap the threads around the edge of the fabric, preventing frying. You may need to play around with the stitch width and length so that the thread doesn't bunch up your family too much again. When you're happy with the sittings, write them down in your note pad. With selling tests out of the way, we can finally start to construct the tart bag. 7. Let's begin: fist. We need to do a bit of mining. Take both of your strap pieces, pocket top, pocket bottom and you to zipper tales to the Iine for the straps. We want to press under one centimeter on either side of the long side of the strap. When you pressed under one centimeter on other side folder, strapping half matching those folded edges on on again with the straps on. And now it's time to do the pocket on the long side of the pocket bottom. Turn up one cent tomato and I'm do the same thing to the pocket top. Just along one long edge, one centimeter turned to the wrong side and press with the Ein. With that done, move on to the pocket. Tales with these ones will be turning in one centimeter again. But we're doing it along this short edge. Just a long one shortage. Turn one cent. Made it to the wrong side and press just like that. Okay, now I can start sewing taking the straps. We're going to top stitch them together along both long edges, and we'll start with the open side first. Okay, Once one side is sewn Well, so the other signs, which is the folded edge. Okay, there's one struck done were paid for the other one with the strap son. It's time to move on to the next step zippered pocket. 8. Sewing the pocket: Let's get the zipper pocket sign. Take your Sipa and your zip potatoes. Starting at the closed end of the Sipah. Pin, the folded edge of the tail to the zipper tape about 1 to 2 mil, away from the middle stopper and top stage. Open the zipper slightly and pinned the other tail to the two free ends of the zipper tape about 1 to 2 mil away from the metal stopper. Top stitch in place to find the midway point of the zipper folded in half so that both top stitched tales matching Run your fingers along and give the zipper type a little pinch. You could mark this with either some fabric joke or you could pop opinion there. Next. We want to do the same with the pocket top, and we want to be doing it along the edge that we folded under before so folded in half. Run your fingers along, give it a little pinch. This will make a little mark for you, and you can mock that with a pin. Now we want to be lining up the halfway point off the pocket top that we marked with the pin with the halfway point on the zipper that we've marked, so just line them up with that folded edge running nicely along the side of the zipper. Don't let it go over the zippity way. Take the pain out. Just pop it back in so that everything stays in place. You just want to pin a long, making sure that everything's nice and straight. One sets painting place weaken top stitch along Once the pocket top is sewn on, we can repeat the process with the pocket bottom, so just make sure that we're finding the midway points off either piece matching them and then top stitching together. Pin the completed pocket front to the pocket back with right sides facing so around three sides of the pocket, leaving the top open. Trim the zipper tales and clipped the corners. Turn the pocket out and give it a good press. And there we go. Pockets made in the next lesson will be selling the body of the bag 9. Sew the bag: now I can move on to something. The body of the back will be finishing three edges of both the front and back paces by using this exact stitch that we used earlier way next, back together, right sides facing and so along the same three edges that we did before using a one centimeter seam allowance. Make sure that you leave the top part open. - Once you've signed the side seams and the bottom seen, use your line to press open. The same allowance is nice and flat. Now that we've pressed seems open. What we're going to do is we're going to square off the bottom corners of the bag so that when you actually put something in it, the base is nice and flat and doesn't distort the back. This can be a little bit tricky. So what I like to do is put my hand inside the bag and feel right up into the tip of that corner, and then you kind of just need to with your fingers move the same around so that it lies on top of each other on either side. So this here is the side sane and this same along he is the bottom. Another way that you can make sure that they lined up nice and straight is taking a pin. If you just pop it through the center, seem on one side and have a look at the back so you can see how far off I am there. So what I'll do is just gently drill that pain back through. So it's only going through on the one signed and then just moved this same around, poking the pain in and out just until I can get it coming straight through that same there . So that pin will line up the stitching line on are the same, and we know that this triangle is now ready to mark. So once you're happy that both of those seems lying on top of each other, we'll take the corner template, which is part of the patent. Just pop it on the corner here, making sure that the point is lined up with the stitching line of the same allowance, and the sides of the bag should line up along the sides of the triangle. So once you happy with that, take your marking pen or pencil and we're just going to draw straight line across the top like that, take some pins and painting through both sides of the fabric. Now we're going to repeat the same thing to the other corner. With that marked out, we just need to stitch along the line that we've marked with that step done. We just need to trim off the corners and finish the new role Ridge Way. Once you finished the new roar edges that you've just made. By cutting those corners off on both sides, we can turn the bag out and have a bit of a look. He should now have something that resembles a bag that has a nice flat bottom on it. So when you're carrying around you cartons of eggs, they don't get squished and they sit in the bag nice and flush. In the next video, we'll be attaching the straps and the pocket 10. Attaching the straps & pocket: Now it's time to attach the straps and the pocket. Taking one of your straps. Lay it on the right side of your bank, making sure that the raw edge off the strap lines up with the raw edge of the top of the bag. To get the right pocket placement we are going to measure in. So taking your measuring type from the side, same measure in 11 centimeters and line up the outer corner off the strap. With that 11 sent me to mark and pin it in place. No. Now we need to pin the other side of the strap on, so making sure it's nice and flat and also making sure that the same side of strap will be touching the outside of the bag. Place it on front of your bag and to get that placement correct again will measure in 11 centimeters from this side. Same and just lining up through the edge of that strap With that mark and painting place. Now, we'll be adding the pocket. Take your pocket and make sure that the zipper side is facing the right side of your bag, so you should be looking at the back of your pocket. Place it on top of the straps and you should notice that it fits nicely. Ron over the top of way those straps on. So we'll pin it in place again, just making sure that those rural edges are lining up across the top of the bag and we'll just add a few more pins along the top just to keep it in place. Now we're going to base to these paces together by running a straight stitch across the top off the bag. We will be working within the same allowance here, so we need to run a straight stitch across the top of the bag, about five mil away from the edge of the fabric. It can be a little bit tricky, but just take it slow. Once you based it across the top. It's time to add the other strapped to the other side in the same manner. So take a strap, measuring 11 centimeters and based across the top in the same manner. So now you're straps and your pocket should be somewhat attached, but they're still not very strong, and the top of the bag obviously needs fixing. So in the next lesson, we'll finish off the bag 11. Topstitching & finishing: our tote bags are almost finished. There's just a few more things we need to do to make sure that their nights and strong we do bag wrong sides out. You'll see that we've got the straps attached and the pocket is here as well. What we need to do is that we need to fall down the top of the bag to make a facing to make sure that everything stays nice and secure. Sometimes the easiest way to do these is to start at the side. Same so starting at the side, seam will fold under one centimeter thin. You want to fold it down again, making sure that the same lines up with the same on the inside of the bag so that we get a consistent facing hallway around. Take your measuring type and measure this facing so that it folds down by four centimeters . Once the facing reaches four centimeters, make sure to pin it in place. Now we want to do this around the whole perimeter of the bag, so moving along. So with one side same pinned, we can go ahead and do the same to the other side. Same once both sides seems had done. It does make the job of folding down the facing a little bit easier, so we'll start working on the side that has the strap end the pocket. These are obviously already attached to the top of the bag. So all we need to do is make sure that this folded edge that we pressed before is laying over the top off the pocket and bring those straps down so they lay nice and fun again. We'll get out type, measure and measure this facing now that is a little bit deep, so we'll just move it up a little bit until that facing is four centimeters and more. Pin it in place. Do the same to the other side. Soap in the rest of the facing around the top of the bag in the same manner, making sure that you're measuring that four centimeter facing. Make sure it's not too deep. Now we're gonna top stitch the facing to the bag, and we're going to do that by using a straight stitch. Nice and close to this folded edge, with top stitching done, we can finish off the straps and we're going to fold the straps so that they lay up and come out the top side with bag. Make sure that I sensed right. Give them a pain. And on the other side, once a straps upend, weaken top stitch around the very top of the bag, keeping nice and close to that edge. Always make sure that your straps facing the outside of the bag just by lifting up and making sure that there's nothing under the foot that shouldn't be under the foot because it's very easy to serve them in the wrong spot. This'll line of top stitching should also be going through the strap, securing it to the bag way with top stitching done. There's only one thing that we need to do before we can call our bags finished. And that is, we need to sew a stabilizing stitch around the top of the straps, with all four supporting same sewn onto the straps. It's time to turn the bag right sides out, and that's it. It's finished 12. Job well done: you should now be holding your completed tote bag. I hope you love using it, whether you're off to the markets, on your way to work or even if you keep it in your car for impromptu shopping trips. I would love to see a picture of your finished tote bag. Share it on the skill share student Project page or on instagram using the tag hashtag midi tote. Thank you for taking my class. I really appreciate it. I'll see you in the next one.