Friday, November 25, 2011

Tiny Totes

Tiny totes have a party!
This pattern for a four-inch, Small Treat Totedesigned by Monica Solorio-Snow of HappyZombie, is available free on the All People Quilt website.

This Appleton Dance post describes how we made tiny totes from the free pattern, and gives our recommendations about making multiples of this tote for parties and gifts. We also provide information (at the end of the post) on how to size-up the pattern to make a 10-inch tote, and a link to directions for a 16x18-inch shopper tote. 

This week we made three-dozen tiny totes for a happy event, filling the totes with colored tissue paper and individually wrapped chocolates. We added a badge with the party date printed on one side and a picture from the party theme printed on the other side. The badges were made using a purchased PDF from Jennifer Hardie's Parties by Hardie shop at EtsyWe used a hole-punch to put a hole at the top of each badge and tied a badge to the handle of each bag using narrow ribbon.
Cutting list for each 4x4x2-inch, tiny tote kit:
  • Bag top: two pieces of the same fabric 6.5 inches wide by 3.5 inches long
  • Bag bottom: two pieces of a fabric contrasting to the bag top 6.5 inches wide by 2.5 inches long
  • Bag lining: two pieces of a third fabric 6.5 inches wide by 5.5 inches long
  • Bag handles: two six-inch pieces of 3/8 inch wide grosgrain ribbon

Note: All mini-tote pieces are 6.5 inches wide. All seam allowances are 1/4 inch. RST means right sides together.

Fabric: This is an ideal scrapbag project because the size of the pieces is small. If you are buying or using your fat quarter stash, you can cut pieces for two bags from each fat quarter, or six bags from three different fat quarters. But if you are making multiples, the most efficient use of fabric would be to buy 3/8-yard cuts (13.5 x 44 inches) because you can get pieces for four bags from each 3/8-yard cut, or 12 bags from three different 3/8-yard cuts of fabric. The only problem with this efficiency is that you will have to pull a 2.5 x 13-inch piece of coordinating fabric from your scrapbag to eke out the final two bag-bottom pieces in this layout scheme.
Here is the process for cutting multiples:
  • Cut one 3/8-yard cut of fabric in half width-wise to make two 6.5 x 44-inch strips.
  • Layer the two strips on top of each other and make four cuts of 5.5-inches each (producing eight 6.5 x 5.5 pieces).
  • Continue by making four 3.5-inch cuts (producing four 6.5 x 3.5 pieces).
  • Then make three 2.5-inch cuts across remainder of fabric (depending on the width of your fabric, the last cut may not be necessary, or may be just a trim). This will produce six 6.5 x 2.5 pieces, and so you will have to cut the remaining two 6.5 x 2.5 pieces from your scrapbag. Since you have to buy three 3/8-yard cuts of three different fabrics to create 12 bags, you can find a 7.5 x 13-inch piece of coordinating fabric that will provide all the extra 6.5 x 2.5 pieces needed for 12 bags. A coordinating fat quarter will provide the extra cuts for up to ten sets of 12 bags.
  • Cut all bag pieces, arrange in piles of the same size pieces, and then mix and match fabrics (in sets of two for each bag piece: top, bottom, and lining) to create individual bag "kits".
Multiples: If you are producing multiples -- after making one trial bag to get a feel for the process -- I advise cutting all bag pieces at once, then pinning all eight pieces (including two 6-inch pieces of ribbon) for each bag "kit" together before beginning to sew. At your machine, produce batches of 5-10 bags up until the ironing instruction below. Take all your sewn pieces to the ironing board and press, then return to your machine to finish each bag. 

To assemble: RST (right sides together), seam one bag top piece (3.5 inches long) to one bag bottom piece (2.5 inches long) along width of fabric (6.5 inches wide) with 1/4-inch seam allowance. Repeat for second bag bottom and top pieces.

To bag top, pin one 6-inch piece of grosgrain ribbon to (RST, if ribbon has a right side) bag top with ribbon ends placed at one inch on either side of the center at the edge of the fabric. Pin in place. Repeat for second bag top piece.

RST, place one lining piece over the bag top, covering the ribbon ends. Sew along the 6.5 inch width enclosing the ribbon ends in the seam. Repeat for second piece. (For multiples: pin these two bag pieces together and set aside, then start another bag and complete to this step and set aside. Continue for several bags then take all to the ironing board for the next step.)

Press both pieces of the bag with seams pressed to one side.

RST, pin your two bag pieces together, matching seams.

Stitch around all four sides of the bag pieces, beginning at one side of the bottom of the bag lining and leaving a two-inch opening on the bottom to turn the bag through.

Do not turn, yet. On each corner of the bag match the bottom and side seams to form a little triangle-shaped beak. With a pencil, draw a 2-inch line across the base of the triangle, one inch from the point. Pin and stitch on the drawn line. Trim 1/4 –inch from the stitched line. 

Repeat for all four corners.

Turn bag through hole in lining. Push out corners.

Topstitch opening shut across the bottom of the bag lining.

Push lining into bag, finger pressing seams and top of bag. Steam press bag, if desired.

(This is a slightly different combo of fabrics from the bag in the how-to demo.)

Ten-inch tote: I sized the bag up to a 10-inch tote by re-sizing the "kit" to:
  • Bag top: two pieces of the same fabric 15.5 inches wide by 8 inches long
  • Bag bottom: two pieces of a fabric contrasting to the bag top 15.5 inches wide by 5 inches long
  • Bag lining: two pieces of a third fabric 15.5 inches wide by 13 inches long
  • Bag interlining: two pieces of lightweight Pellon iron-on interfacing (Iron this to wrong side of bag lining before beginning assembly.)
  • Bag handles: two 15-inch pieces of one-inch wide grosgrain ribbon