Saturday, June 11, 2011

Get kids to sew this summer! Tote bag tutorial

This project has been featured on

This is the new Brother Limited Edition Project Runway HS-2000!
We get to use these great machines in our Kids Kamp!

Choose Foot N

We'll begin by creating the handle for our bag first.
Take two 4" wide x 8" strips
We're creating an upside down capital "L"
Lay the first strip down horizontally, right side up and
then lay the second strip upsidedown across it.
Mark with chalk from corner to corner.
You will sew across this with Stitch 01 and your N foot.
After sewing the line you've marked, use a scissors to cut 1/2" to the right of where you sewed.

Now we'll use the iron to press the seam we have created in our handle open.

Next we will fold the handle right sides together lengthwise and then sew the long, open edge of our handle shut, leaving both ends open.

Now, we'll turn our handle (which looks like a tube!) right-side-out.

Once turned right-side-out, press the handle with your iron set to "cotton" setting.

Wow!  We have sew many choices of decorative stitches. 
You may choose whichever decorative stitch you desire.
I have chosen stitch 53.
It's easy on the Project Runway machine because you just press + until you get to five and the second + until you get to three.

Which decorative stitch do you like best?
We'll be using this stitch throughout the project, sew be sure you like it alot!

Now we'll fold our handle in half (again) and press so that we have a pressed edge to follow when we're sewing on our decorative stitch.

Place one end of your handle underneath your Foot N in the center of the handle because you will sew your decorative stitch all the way down the center (over top the pressed seam).

The machine stitches nice and straight, but it's a good idea to gently hold and guide the handle through, being careful not to pull, as you might break the needle.

When you have finished, your handle should look similar to the above picture.

Now take out the 12"x14" piece of cotton fabric and fold it in half twice, as above.


With the iron, press a crease in the bottom right-hand corner to mark the center.

We are going to sew an outside pocket onto this fabric.  Please take out the 6"x6" black chalkboard fabric.
Yes, you can actually use chalk to write directly onto this fabric and it will wipe off just like a chalkboard!

Fold the outside pocket fabric in half and match that across the center fold of your 12x14 fabric.

Place one pin in each corner, being careful not to get yourself!

This is how it should look.

We're going to use our decorative stitch.

Place your presser foot onto your pocket fabric.  Notice how the the inside of the right edge of the foot is on the edge of the pocket fabric?  

STOP!  Never sew over a pin!  If you do, you will break the needle on the machine.
Sewing slowly and carefully is the best idea.

After stopping, press the needle down button, then lift the presser foot using the handle on the right.
We're going to remove the pin and turn our fabric.

Make sure you leave the top open so that you can keep your chalk inside your outside pocket!  This will be a great place for you to write your name :-)

Now we will turn the fabric at the top over 1/4" twice, press with the iron and sew a small hem onto the top of the cotton fabric using stitch 01.

Take out your chalkboard fabric.  Using a pressing cloth, press down 3/4" with the iron.  If you don't use a pressing cloth on this material, it will leave behind a black, sticky residue on the iron - ew!

Place your front and back sides right sides together.  (Do not sew the top together, so that you can put things in your bag later!)

Now we need to pin the bottom and two sides where we will sew them together using a 5/8" seam.

We need stitch 01 for bag construction.

This time we will place our fabric to the left and the foot onto the fabric as above, right along the right-side edge of the foot.

These three buttons are very useful.
The one on the left is for starting and stopping sewing without the foot pedal!
The button in the middle is a reverse stitch to make ends extra secure and
the button on the upper right is the up/down needle button.

Just like before, we stop before we reach the pin!

After removing the pin, lift your presser foot and turn the corner.  If you do not raise your presser foot first, then you won't be able to turn the corner.

Now we're cruising along the right direction!  Time to put the presser foot back down.

Once you have finished sewing up three sides, then snip (carefully) each of the bottom.

Next, we will attach our handle!
Pin one handle end to the left and...

pin one to the right, then it's time to sew.
We'll be reinforcing our stitches.

Remember to put the presser foot down so that your machine will work :-)
Once the presser foot is down, then we will use straight stitch 01 to sew across the bottom of the handle.

This part is completely optional and only if you want your bag to have a "bottom".
On the bottom of the bag, flatten the corner down and sew across about 2".

If you do choose to create a bottom, then a piece of stabilizer (such as this Shape-Flex) will help your bag to keep its shape.  Simply cut a strip that will be as wide as the bottom of your bag and place inside.

Here's our finished product!
All we need now is a box of chalk and a piece of flannel cut with pinking shears to act as an eraser.



  1. Love the fabric, I have an apron with the same print!

  2. I like this...want to this tut on is timely with all the ghastlies stuff out now...and pchycho bet wink..x

  3. busy lady mary Ann....looks great

  4. Great tutorial! How fun that would be!

  5. Hey Mary Ann, love your chalk board bag tute :)
    Have fun with the summer sewing classes!

  6. Did you know that you can shorten your links with Shortest and receive money from every click on your short links.


Thank you for visiting! I appreciate your comments and hope you will choose to follow my blog.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...