Quick Makes 2 – Mini Tote Bags

There are thousands of tutorials for tote bags of all shapes and sizes available on the internet. I will admit to having read some of them, but I have never yet actually followed one. They can be as easy or as complex as you want, and I have at least one from Crazy Little Projects lined up for Christmas presents.

We have been finding it hard to keep on top of clothing organisation during the week for Mini Mister. Maxi is easy as he just needs plenty of clean, dry school uniform. Because I am now back at work, trying to get Mini’s clothes sorted is proving harder than it should be. Some days I only see him for 20-30 minutes before bedtime, so I don’t always have time to sort his clothes for the next day. Since they are in drawers in his room, I can’t do it once he is in bed, and I can’t leave it to Hubby in the morning as he has himself as well as both boys to get up and ready (I leave before they are up).

I saw a fantastic idea pop up on a friend’s FB feed, of stacking drawers all set up for 3 kids with a week’s worth of clothes etc. We don’t have space for more drawers, so I needed an alternative. I have plenty of scraps of fabric, so small bags seemed like a good idea. And the easiest bags (other than drawstring) are basic totes.

I did make a template, but only so it was quick to cut the fabric the same for 3 bags. If you are only doing one, then you probably don’t need to worry. For each bag I cut a 8x8in square on the fold of the fabric and two 2 1/2x12in pieces.

Tote bag, quilting ruler, rotary cutter

3 bags ready to sew

The straps were made first. I pressed the smaller pieces of fabric in half along their length and pressed them, before folding in the 2 sides almost to the middle and pressed again. This meant I could top-stitch them closed without having to fuss about turning them. I also stitched down the other length so they matched.

bag 1

Another quick tip is to chain stitch the straps together, especially if you are doing more than 1 bag, as you don’t actually need to backstitch the ends as they will be dealt with when the straps are attached to the bag. This is an idea taken from numerous quilting sites.

The bags were next. I could have made it really easy and just sewed up the sides, but I wanted to enclose the raw edges. I used the French seam method, of which there is an excellent tutorial on Georgina Giles’ blog.

bag 3

bag 4

The tops were turned over twice, again to enclose the raw edges and I top-stitched using a zig-zag stitch to make it look more interesting than just a straight stitch. I am actually now undecided whether I prefer it like that or not.

bag 6

Lastly, I positioned the straps approximately an inch from the seams, folding under the raw edges, and sewing round the join. A cross through the middle adds strength.

bag 7

A quick press, and there you have it: 3 mini totes ready for Mini Mister’s clothes this week 😊

bag 8

3 mini totes


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