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Fat Quarter Project; Reversible Tote Bag

Tamlyn is back again this month with a fabulous tutorial for using those gorgeous fat quarters in the “Escape To The Country” Box to make a reversible tote bag. Perfect for putting all the essential supplies you need in for a little ramble through the country.

Follow this step by step guide to make a gorgeous reversible tote bag, lightweight and perfect for taking out on a country walk.

You will need:

  • Fabric fat quarters – iron these to get any creases/folds out
  • Sewing machine with a universal needle
  • Rotary cutter & cutting mat / Fabric scissors
  • Ruler / tape measure
  • Fabric marker / chalk
  • Pins / Clips

Remember to back stitch at the start and end each time you sew – this is essential to secure your stitches. 

I’ll be using a ½” seam allowance throughout, unless specified. 

  1. Decide on which fabrics you are going to use for the different parts of your bag and cut the following sizes of rectangle:

Outer bag – 11” wide x 15” long (Cut 2)

Lining – 11” wide x 15” long (Cut 2)

Straps – 5” wide x 15” long (Cut 4) 

Pockets – 22” wide x 8” long (Cut 2) 

(As you may be working with directional prints, the width refers to the horizontal measurement and the length refers to the vertical measurement)

  1. Let’s make the straps. Take two strap pieces and sew them right sides together along one of the short edges. Press the seam open. You now have one long, thin rectangle. Press it in half so the long edges meet, wrong sides together, then open it out flat. Press each outer long edge in to meet the fold in the middle, then press in half again (So the raw edges are now enclosed inside). Topstitch your strap down each long side. Repeat these steps to create your second strap.   
  1. To make the pockets, fold & press each rectangle in half, wrong sides together, so the short edges meet. Baste around the 3 raw edges at ¼ inch seam allowance. Fold and press the top edge over, using your stitching line as a guide, then fold and press again, enclosing the raw edge. Topstitch. At this point, you may want to add labels like I have done (Mine are from Little Rosy Cheeks. The ‘Love Yourself Revolution’ design featured in a recent SHJ box). This just adds an extra special touch! 
  1. Pin one pocket onto an outer fabric piece and one on to a lining fabric piece, then baste. Decide on how you want to divide your pockets. You may want to just split the pocket in half equally. I decided to make one section narrower to fit my phone in. Mark the dividing line (I used a heat erasable pen) then sew.
  1. Pin the outer fabric rectangles wrong sides together and sew around 3 edges, leaving the top edge free. Repeat for the two lining pieces.  
  1. Box out the bottom of the bag pieces by pinching each corner flat, measuring in 1.5” from the point and sewing across from edge to edge. Trim off the excess. Repeat for all four corners. 
  1. Turn one bag piece right side out and insert into the other – make sure your pockets are on opposite sides! Match the side seams and clip or pin to secure.  
  1. Now to add the straps. Mark the halfway point along the top of one side of the bag, then mark the quarter points. Insert one strap in here, sandwiched between an outer and a lining piece, so the raw edges meet the top of the bag. Make sure the strap isn’t twisted. Repeat on the other side for the second strap.  
  1. Stitch all around the top of the bag, securing the straps in place. Leave a gap for turning.
  1. Turn the bag through to the right side, ensuring the corners are all fully poked out. Insert the lining part of the bag into the outer bag. Now topstitch around the top, closing up the gap you left.

And there you go – you’ve finished your reversible bag and isn’t it beautiful? 

Of course, you can change the dimensions of the pieces to make a smaller or bigger bag. The steps to follow will work exactly the same. You can also change the length of the straps to suit your preference.   

I hope you enjoy following this tutorial. Share your finished makes on instagram, using the hashtag #SewHayleyJaneFQ and tag me @sewn_on_the_tyne

See you next month,

Tamlyn xx