Instructions to make an easy tote bag

Neon tote bag

I started making my own clothes and accessories mostly because I knew exactly what I wanted and local retailers either didn’t get my kind of style, or they weren’t stocking new fashions that I fancied. The only solution was to make my own.

This neon tote bag is a classic example. I love, love, love neon. But it is taking forever for neon clothes and accessories to appear in the shops here. The odd item has shown up but not much to choose from at all.

Even the fabric shops had a dearth of neon coloured fabric. All I could find was this dinkum, genuine High Visibility material. It’s a sort of vinyl substance with real glow in the dark pigment on the front and a rubber like smooth finish on the reverse side.

I’m not going to lie. It was hell to work with. I couldn’t pin it

Measure the bag

anywhere were the material would be visible after sewing. And it was slippery which made it difficult  to sew straight. But the end result was well worth it. A Super Duper bright tote bag

You need: –
2 pieces of this fabric 45 centimetres x 50 centimetres
2 pieces of facing 45 centimetres x 7 centimetres
2 pieces of strapping 45 centimetres long
matching coloured thread

Cut the bag

sewing machine

You do: –
1. Measure out the bag and the facing on the material and cut it out.

2. For some stupid reason, I chose to cut the 2 squares into quarters and sew them back together. I wanted to add top stitching for effect. It was a bad idea! The material was so slippery and I only complicated things. It is not a necessary step and best skipped if you are using the same stuff to

Sew bag and cut corners

make a bag.

3. Turn the bag inside out. Pin as close to the edges of the material the pin so the pin marks won’t be visible

after sewing.

4. Sew the bottom and then sew the two sides. I used a 1.5 centimetre seam allowance.

5. I cut the corners on the bottom. It removes excess fabric that would bunch and helps to make it easy to turn the bag inside out.

6. Turn the bag the right way around and pin the

Pin straps and facing

straps in place. Taking care again that the pins are close to the edge of the material. AND that the straps are facing the right way. I have rushed to sew straps before only to find they are pointing down into the bag and not up. Which means un-picking and re-sewing.

7. Sew the two pieces of your facing together to make one long facing and pin that right sides facing on top of the straps. Allow the edges of the facing to overlap.

8. Start at the one end of the facing and sew the straps and facing in place.

Add one or more rows of top stitching

9. Fold the facing inside the bag and top stitch a few times to flatten and make sure the straps are securely sewn in.

10. Voila! a new tote bag.

Visit the Greenie Galleries at the top of the page for more ideas.

Till next week!