Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Art tote tutorial -UPDATED

Good morning out there!

A few of you wanted to see a tutorial for my art bag. So here ya go!

I'm linking up with MaryAnn and H&M today (buttons on the side bar), thanks girls!

You will need two 17.5”x24.5” rectangles of fabric. One for the inside, one for the outside. They can be the same or different fabric. I also used two 15”x 10” pieces of thin cardboard. But if you want yours less stiff, you can use batting at 17.5”x24.5” Or even iron on some interfacing of your choice, on the wrong sides of both outside and inside rectangle.

You'll also need (contrasting colors):

a 13”x14” rectangle
three- 11.5” x 7” rectangles
four- 3" x 20" strips for handles

Fabric to contrast with pockets:
one- 2” x 11” strip
one- 2” x 13” strip

one- 11” zipper

one-2.5" x.....  for binding

( Just a note on my pictures. Sorry a few of them are a little blurry. Also, on my pockets you'll see some seam lines that don't have anything to do with the project. I just didn't have pieces big enough, so had to sew a few pieces together :)  My red fabric has interfacing on it. That's the way the fabric came, it is not necessary for you to put it on though.)

Using two of your 11.5” x 7” rectangles, lay one face up and put zipper right side down on top of it. Using your zipper foot, sew down one side of zipper.

Open and sew top seam down.

Lay next rectangle right side down on top of zipper. Sew down. Open and sew top seam down.

Open zipper about half way. Place rectangles right sides together, and sew down one side, along the bottom and up the other side. Taking back stitches at start and stop.Trim your corners.

Turn right side out and press.

Fold 2”x 11” contrasting strip wrong sides together, lengthwise. Place raw edges along the front side of the other 7”x11” rectangle. Sew a 1/4” seam line.

Wrap strip to wrong side of fabric and sew down.

Do these two steps with  13"x14" rectangle and 2"x13" contrasting strip.

 On 17.5” x 24.5” inside rectangle, draw two lines 1 3/8” right in the center of the fabric.

On the left side of your inside rectangle, measure 2” down from top and 1” from drawn line. Place your zipper pocket at these measurements. And sew down one side, along the bottom and up the other side. Back stitching at start and stop.

Turn sides and bottom of the other 7”x11” rectangle  under 1/4” and sew seam down.

 Below zip pocket, measure 1” up from bottom and 1” from drawn line, place rectangle at these measurements, pin and sew in place. Down one side, across the bottom, up the other. Taking back stitches at start and stop.

Take large 13”x14” rectangle, Turn under side and bottom 1/4” and sew a seam.

On right side of bag, measure 1” up from bottom, and start 1/4” away from right hand drawn line. Place large pocket rectangle here and sew down left side.

Accordian fold the left side 1/2”. Pin.

On the right side of rectangle, measure 1” from ridge hand edge. Pin right edge at this mark. It will bump up, but that's ok, you'll fix it in a minute.  Sew with a 1/4" seam.

Now fold that 'bump' down, aligning it with the edge you just sewed. Making an accordian pleat.

Sew along the bottom, making sure you sew right over those accordian pleats.

Sigh~ I forgot to do this step until my bag was complete! So I don't have pictures..sorry, if you need me to take some photos of how I do my handles, send me a comment or email and I'll make some up.

Take two 3"x20 strips, right sides together, sew down both long sides. Turn right side out (a pain, I know!) and sew 3 or 4 straight lines all down the strips. Do this with your other two handle strips also.

Measure 2" down from side of outside 17.5"x24.5" rectangle, and 4" in from top.  Fold under one short side of handle strip 1/2". And sew it to the rectangle at your mark.  Mark 2" down and 4" from bottom and sew other side of handle here. You'll do this to both short edges of your outside rectangle, on the right side of the fabric.

Put your outside 17.5"x24.5" rectangle right side down on your table. (If you are using batting and NOT cardboard, lay this on top of outside rectangle.) Lay your inside rectangle on it, so your pockets are all facing up. Pin to hold in place, and sew down both of the drawn lines, in the center of the inside rectangle.

If you are using card board, now is the time to slip them in. Do one side first, putting it between the inside and outside rectangles.

Sew along the top/side/bottom, starting and stopping at the center line that is already sewn. Taking back stitches at start and stop.

 Do this to both sides. Enclosing the cardboard, be careful not to sew on it! 

 Take your binding, fold lengthwise, wrong sides together. Pin on outside piece, ROUNDING THE CORNERS and sew it all down. (I'm sure you've all sewn binding down on a quilt, right?? So just do this one the same way. Sorry I have no photos. I was having 'one of those days' when I put this together...sigh~ and if you don't know how to sew a binding down, I have a tutorial on my tutorial page.) Wrap around to inside and sew down. Then cut off the tips of the corners, where you rounded it.

UPDATEOk, here's the zipper:

If you don't have a long enough zipper to go around, use two. I needed to use two. Put the back end (the side with the stopper) in between the drawn lines and pin it. Unzip the zipper, and make one side go along the right hand bottom edge (right on top of the binding), pinning and rounding it around the corner. 

You're zipper will bump up just a little where it turns this sharp corner, right out the door, but that's ok, it can be sewn down.

Pinning the zipper right on top of the binding.

 Side view when closed

Front view when closed.

Again everyone, I'm so sorry for missing some steps yesterday. Not my best tutorial, please feel free to email me or drop me a comment if you have any questions.

Thanks for stopping by Dorian

PS, don't forget to drop me a comment and leave me your name and email addy, if you're a wantobe quilter! LOTS of prizes you could win over at the Stash, come August.
©Copyright D. Lucas, 2011 This is my tutorial. You are welcome to use any of my tutorials for personal use. You are not permitted to use my pictures or my words without linking back to the original and giving me credit for them.


  1. Fantastic! I love the idea of encouraging children to create and an art tote will be portable enough for the car, a picnic table at the park, or over to a friend's. Thank you very much for linking up to Toot-torial Tuesdays! Hope to see you again!! Mary Ann RocknQuilts@blogspot.com

  2. Thank you so much! Great tutorial!


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