February 5, 2008

Tote bag – getting aquainted with my sewing machine and straying from the hatty path

Filed under: Sewing projects — Cristina de Prada @ 7:51 pm

Tote bag I've made... cute aint it?I found this colorful thick cotton on sale at Ribes y Casals (an old fashioned big fabric shop in Barcelona), I love the wild colors and although the pattern is too big to work on a hat (I think), I thought it would look great as a tote bag and it would help me to get some practice on my sewing machine.

I did some research on how to make a tote bag, and I must say it’s surprisingly simple. There are tons of tutorials out there, the one on this link, for example.

I love the way the whole thing comes together when you pull the ouside of the bag through the hole on the lining… you will have to read one of the tutorials to understand what I’m talking about.

 This other tutorial seems like a project to do in the future, perhaps this time with a matching fabric hat.

For my bag I made my own pattern which explains why the whole thing is too long and narrow, although it seems to work after all.

I’ve added a few extras on the interior, a semi circular pocket, a strip of fabric with a swivel ring to keep the keys under control (I’m always losing my keys within my handbag, rummaging and moving everything about to find them -feels as if I’m trying to choose a winning ticket for a raffle-).

The magnetic snap closure is easy to set and adds a nice touch. The pocket took some time to make but looks cool 🙂

I’ve used a non-woven quite rigid interfacing on the handles, “mouth” and base of the bag, otherwise it’s just the cotton fabric outside and inside (the one inside is quite heavy).

Inside of the bag No more lost keys Making the pocket 

In the process of buying the stuff for the bag I revisited a wonderful shop in the old quarters of Barcelona. The good thing about living in and old city is that you can look for wonderful stuff not only in the new shops but mainly in the old ones, the ones that have been there forever and that hold treasures within their doors.

If you visit Barcelona there are a few shopping streets that are worth visiting (well, more than a few, you can ask Kate about it) if you want to buy hardware for jewelry or bags, two of them are Call street (carrer del Call) and Hospital street (carrer Hospital). On this last street is where you will find CURTIDOS GARCIA a wonderful old shop where they sell all sorts of hardware aswell as leathers and fur, they’re very friendly and have unbelievable stuff, and there is where I got my magnetic snap and the swivel ring (sorry Kate I didn’t take you there!).

Hope you like it! My next project will be a sewn fabric hat from the japanese book. Stay tuned!


  1. Cheery bag, and fun to make too! A few years back I bought rip stop nylon in several colors and made shopping totes out of them. The bags were the same size as typical grocery bags but could all fit into a small bag, and would stuff down to a large sausage size. Great for grocery shopping…if only I could remember to take them along! I read Ireland now taxes plastic shopping bags at 22 cents per bag; maybe that tax would cause my memory bank to kick in.

    Comment by Jill — February 5, 2008 @ 9:16 pm

  2. Ooh, the fabric is so lovely! I love the bright, cherry colors. Great tote!

    Comment by Marie — February 5, 2008 @ 9:20 pm

  3. As I told you before, love the fabric. And the tote.

    Comment by prima — February 6, 2008 @ 9:49 am

  4. That’s adorable. It makes me want to start sewing again. 🙂

    Comment by Min — February 13, 2008 @ 5:28 pm

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