There are so many new companies out there selling bags now-a-days. I think I am invited to at least one bag party a week. I count myself fortunate though, because if I see a bag I find interesting I can just make it myself! One of the great finds in the fabric industry is the precut fabric fad. We have had fat quarters, which is a half yard of fabric cut in half again so both pieces measure 18×21 inches. This is a standard commodity in every quilt store. But the fabric companies have put on their thinking caps and the Wizards of Bolts have conjured up a few more precuts for us to love:
• Charm Packs: measures 5×5 inches
• Layer Cakes: measures 9×9 inches
• Jelly Rolls: measures 42 inches x 2 ½ inches
Each of these packs carry a variety of fabrics from whichever fabric line they are part of, giving the consumer a taste of fabrics many would not otherwise be able to afford in yardage.
Sue Marsh brings us a video, How to Make a Charm Pack Tote Bag, which demonstrates a design using charm packs. In her video, Sue shows us ways to organize the charm squares to get the desired look we want for our tote.
It’s important to remember that this method will be different for each and every one of you. Some people cannot get away from a very organized, balanced look, while others thrive on the random. In the video, you learn how to make an assembly line as you sew to complete the front and back of the bag.
Making a Charm Square Tote BagSue shows you that once the outside of the bag is complete, you layer it with fusible fleece. You will lay the fusible rough side of the fleece side up and lay the wrong side of the charmed piece bag to the fleece and press. Repeat for the second side of the bag.
In the next step, Sue demonstrates how to make a notch for the bag bottom. First you will decide on the size of the notch; Sue chose 3 inches. You will mark it and cut with a scissors on both the front and the back bottom corners of the bag.
To make the handles, iron fusible fleece to handle strips and press both edges in toward the center of the strip. Fold again and sew together to make a handle. Once your handles are made, it is time to secure them to your bag top.A great way to do this is measure from the outside edge approximately 3 inches and pin your handle raw edge to raw edge. Do this on the opposite outside edge and repeat on the back side of the bag.
Now that you have handles on the bag, it’s time to sew your bag together. Place right sides together, matching up the notches you cut at the lower bottom corners. Sew both sides and bottom, leaving the bottom notches free.Finally it is time to learn what those notches are all about. Match the seams up and sew together creating a box bottom in your bag.
Now that the outside of your charm bag is complete, it’s time to work on those finishing touches. In the video, Sue demonstrates a wonderfully easy way to create pockets and a no-fuss lining that gives your bag that professional look. She’ll also show you how to top stitch and add on optional ties. When you are finished, you will definitely want to make charm totes for all of your friends!
Related Video: How to Make a Charm Pack Tote Bag
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