Carolyn’s Autumnal Tote Bag Project

Difficulty level Intermediate
Time to Complete Weekend
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Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project
Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

The nights are already drawing in…the leaves will very soon turn brown…so we’re excited to bring you this seasonal & stylish tote bag project! Our talented sewing expert Carolyn shows us how to create a tote bag sewn with an autumnal theme to brighten up your shopping days! The outside pocket on one side features crazy patchwork made by upcycling scraps of fabric left over from previous projects and gives additional space for a shopping list or umbrella. The second side of the bag shows an attractive leaf design of raw edge appliqué. A colour co-ordinated lining is added to complete the chic tote bag. It's absolutely ideal for those weekend visits to your local food market!

Why use Bernina Free-motion Embroidery Foot #24?

This freehand embroidery foot is ideal for sewing a variety of free-motion embroidery techniques. It is used when the feed dogs are in the lowered position. In this project it was used to give decorative embellishment to the raw edge appliqué. The open front design of the foot allows a great view to achieve stitching very close to the edge of the fabric.

Why use Bernina Patchwork Foot #37?

This presser foot allows you to stitch an exact ¼" seam allowance when used with the centre needle position. This is particularly helpful when sewing random scraps of fabric together using the crazy patchwork technique.


You will need:

  • Bernina sewing machine
  • Bernina Reverse-pattern Foot #1
  • Bernina Free-motion Embroidery Foot #24
  • Bernina Patchwork Foot #37
  • 50cm plain canvas style fabric for bag and handles
  • 50cm contrasting fabric for lining
  • Variety of fabric scraps in autumnal colours
  • Small amount of Bondaweb
  • Matching and contrasting threads
  • Basic sewing kit - pins, scissors etc.
     
Bernina Free-motion Embroidery Foot #24 & Patchwork Foot #37 are the Accessories of the Month available at a 15% discount!

These promotions will run until Friday 4th October 2019.


Click here to visit the Bernina online shop.

Find out more about Free-motion Embroidery Foot #24 by clicking here.

Find out more about Patchwork Foot #37 by clicking here.
 

Instructions

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Stage 1

Collect together the main bag fabric and scraps of fabric that you have chosen for the crazy patchwork pocket and appliqué design.

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Stage 2

Using the scraps of fabric cut out a variety of leaf shapes, this may be done by hand or using a cutting die. Apply Bondaweb to the reverse of each leaf.

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Stage 3

Cut two pieces of the main bag fabric to the size required, I used 16"x18". Lay the leaf shapes out on the right side of one of the pieces of fabric in a design you have chosen. Remove the backing of each piece of Bondaweb and, using a hot iron, press each leaf into the correct position.

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Stage 4

Thread your sewing machine with a contrasting thread and using presser foot #24, free-motion stitch just inside the cut edge of each leaf to re-enforce the Bondaweb and fix it to the main bag fabric.

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Stage 5

Next, still using presser foot #24, free motion stitch on each leaf to create veins.

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Stage 6

Using more pieces of the scrap fabric make a piece of crazy patchwork for the pocket. Sew two scraps of fabric right sides together using presser foot #37. Press and trim, then sew on another scrap, press and trim. Continue using this method to create a piece of patchwork approximately 20"x20". You will achieve the best result by taking a relaxed approach to the choice of each piece to be sewn and its positioning.

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Stage 7

For the pocket cut a rectangle 16"x9" from the piece of crazy patchwork sewn and press.

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Stage 8

Along one of the longer edges fold over ¼" and then fold that over again to form a firm edge, top stitch along the fold.

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Stage 9

Position the pocket, with the folded edge at the top, against the bottom edge of the front side of the second piece of bag fabric.

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Stage 10

Tack stitch the pocket along the shorter edges into position.

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Stage 11

Placing right sides together, stitch the two bag pieces together with a ¼" seam and using presser foot #37. Clip the bottom corners of the seam allowances.

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Stage 12

Using the contrasting lining fabric cut two rectangles 16"x18". Place them right sides together and stitch a ¼” seam along the two sides and bottom.

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Stage 13

By opening out the seam allowances and putting the side and bottom seams together flatten out the corners of the lining.

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Stage 14

Stitch a straight seam across the corner, 2" down from each tip. Trim off the excess to give a ¼" seam allowance.

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Stage 15

Repeat the corner trim on the main bag fabric.

Stage 16

For the bag handles cut two strips of main bag fabric and two strips of contrasting lining fabric. Each one 32"x2".

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Stage 17

With right sides together, stitch one piece of main fabric and one piece of contrasting fabric together along a long edge with a ½" seam allowance. Repeat for the second handle.

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Stage 18

Press and turn each one right sides out and top stitch ¼" from the seam using presser foot #37.

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Stage 19

Turn under ½" fold on each remaining unstitched long edge of fabric. Press and pin together to form a complete handle. Top stitch ¼" from the folds using presser foot #37. By giving the bag handles a larger seam allowance this will strengthen each handle.

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Stage 20

Press each bag handle on both sides.

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Stage 21

With the main bag fabric inside out, position one handle to the front of the bag with the right sides of each handle against the right side of the fabric 4" from the side seam. Place the second handle in the same way against the back of the fabric. Tack each handle in position.

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Stage 22

Place the lining, right side out, inside the bag. Match the top raw edges and pin together. The handles will then be concealed between the bag and lining.

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Stage 23

Stitch a ½" seam allowance around the top of the bag but leave a 4" opening between one of the handles to allow the bag to be turned inside out.

Stage 24

Turn the bag through the opening and ease the bag and lining into shape. Slip stitch the opening to close.

Stage 25

Top stitch around the top of the bag ¼" down from the seam and press.

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Congrats! Your stylish tote bag is ready to use...

Time to take a stroll down to the market and get in some seasonal veg - with the perfect bag to transport it home in!

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Picture: Carolyn's Tote Bag Project

Loving your autumnal tote?

We sure are...reusable, eco-friendly bags are the way forward and now you can also shop in style!

Make sure to check our website regularly as we will be putting out a brand new project, designed exclusively by a Bernina UK team member or Bernina guest contributor, EVERY MONTH!