eye-catch・ing, adjective: immediately appealing or noticeable. Synonyms: a trio of beautiful totes in the incredible Elizabeth collection by Tula Pink for FreeSpirit Fabrics. Elizabeth is a new set of prints so intricate and lovely, "eye-catching" is just the beginning. This is what we call a statement bag. It's specifically designed to make the best use of the chosen fabric's color and motif. Each bag blends three prints to create the exterior and lining. Our set is particularly striking because we made three, but one bag on its own will draw attention like no other. While shooting our sample photographs, people literally stopped us on the street to ask about them!
Here at Sew4Home, we have always been big fans of Tula Pink fabric. If you browse through her own site, we know you'll also be captivated by what she calls, "... her dark sense of humor, a flair for hiding animals in the strangest of places (artistically, not literally) and her boldly unique use of color and pattern."
Tula has also described herself as coming from the "more is more" school of design, where there is never enough space and always room for that one last thing. We love Tula for bringing a sophisticated whimsy into the world of designer fabric!
You'll want to shop soon, because we predict a sell-out coming. Our thanks again to Coats and FreeSpirit Fabrics for sponsoring this project. Find out more at MakeItCoats.com.
Our bags finish at approximately 13" high x 13½" wide with 3" sides and base and a 10" handle drop.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Skyline S5)
- Zipper foot
- Quarter Inch Seam foot (optional, but helpful)
- Edge Guide foot (optional, but it made our topstitching easier and more accurate)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1¼ yards of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton for the bag bottom exterior, exterior front and back pockets, and the handles
NOTE: The yardage above allows for fussy cutting; if your fabric does not require a precise fussy cut, you can get by with one yard. If you are new to fussy cutting, check out our tutorial.
- ¾ yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton for the bag upper exterior, facing, and the lining pocket
- ½ yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton for the bag lining
- 1 yard of 20" + one-sided fusible fleece; we used Pellon Thermolam Plus
- ¾ yard of 20"+ lightweight but firm fusible interfacing; we used Pellon 950F Shir-Tailor
- 2 yards of coordinating pre-made piping; we bought piping-by-the-yard at Fabric Depot; packaged Wrights Maxi Piping would also work well
Our bag combinations in Tula Pink's Elizabeth are as follows:
Astraea in Plum for the bag bottom exterior, exterior front and back pockets, and the handles
Tent Stripe in Tart for the bag upper exterior, facing, and the lining pocket
Bats in the Belfry for the bag lining
16th Century Selfie in Plum for the bag bottom exterior, exterior front and back pockets, and the handles
Chain Mail in Plum for the bag upper exterior, facing, and the lining pocket
Tent Stripe in Sky for the bag lining
Ship Shape in Sky for the bag bottom exterior, exterior front and back pockets, and the handles
Pearls of Wisdom in Sky for the bag upper exterior, facing, and the lining pocket
Tudor Windows in Tart for the bag lining
- All purpose thread to match fabrics
- See-through ruler
- Tape measure
- Clover Hot Hemmer (optional)
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- Download and print out ONE copy of each of the TWO pattern sheets for the pocket: Pocket Bottom Pattern and Pocket Top Pattern
IMPORTANT: Each pattern sheet is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print each PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
- Cut out each pattern piece along the solid line. Butt together the two pieces (do not overlap) following the guide arrows. Tape together to create the full pocket pattern.
- From the fabric for the bag bottom exterior, exterior front and back pockets, and the handles, cut the following:
Using the pattern (which is set up to cut on the fold), fussy cut FOUR pocket pieces, centering to capture as many main motifs as possible.
TWO 6½" high x 18" wide rectangles for the bottom exterior bag
TWO 3½" x 28" strips for the handles
- From the fabric for the bag upper exterior, facing, and the lining pocket, cut the following:
TWO 12½" high x 18" wide rectangles for the upper exterior bag
ONE 13" high x 11" wide rectangle for the lining pocket
- From the fabric for the lining, cut TWO 16" high x 18" wide rectangles.
- From the fusible fleece, cut the following:
Using the pocket pattern, first trim along the dotted seam lines to create a pattern that is ½" smaller all around (to keep the batting out of the pocket seams), then cut TWO pocket pieces.
TWO 16" x 18" rectangles for the main body panels
- From the fusible interfacing, cut the following:
TWO 1¼" x 27" strips for the handles
TWO 1½" x 18" strips for the fold-over facing
- The piping will be cut to fit during the construction steps below.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Create the front and back exterior panels
- Find the two exterior top and the two exterior bottom panels.
- Pin a bottom panel to a top panel along one 18" edge. If your fabric is directional, make sure you are pinning the bottom raw edge of the top panel to the top raw edge of the bottom panel.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch together.
- Press the seam allowance down towards the bottom panel.
- Flip each sewn panel so it is facing wrong side up.
- Find the two fusible fleece panels. Place one panel against each fabric panel. The sides and bottom edges of the fleece and fabric should be flush, but the top edge of the fleece should sit 2" down from the top raw edge of the fabric.
- Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the fleece panels in place.
- Set aside the exterior panels.
Create and place the exterior pockets
- Find the four fabric pocket pieces, the two fleece pocket pieces, and the piping.
- Pin a length of piping to the top curved edge of each pocket piece on the right side. The inside edge of the piping should be ½" in from the raw edge of the fabric to accommodate a ½" seam, which means the raw edges of the piping's insertion tape are ¼" from the raw edge of the fabric.
NOTE: We worked with the piping as a continuous length, cutting it flush to the sides of the pocket when fully pinned in place.
- Machine baste the piping in place. We used our Janome Zipper foot.
- Center a fleece pocket piece on the wrong side of the two remaining un-piped pocket pieces. There should be ½" of fabric showing beyond the fleece on all sides. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse in place.
- Place each fused pocket piece right sides together with a piped pocket piece. Pin along the top and bottom edges. The sides remain open.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along the top and bottom of each pair. Along the top, if the piping was placed accurately as shown above, a ½" seam allowance should run right along the inside edge of the piping. If needed, adjust the foot and/or the needle position to keep your seam as close to the piping and as even as possible. We again used our Janome Zipper foot.
- Clip the curves and press open the seam allowances.
- Turn each sewn pocket right side out through the open sides. Press flat, rolling out the piping into place as needed.
- Find the exact center of each pocket and draw a vertical guide line at this point, using a fabric pen or pencil. We used the pattern piece to insure our center mark was correct.
NOTE: Remember, you are working on the right side of the fabric, make sure you use a fabric pen or pencil that will easily wipe away or vanish with exposure to the air.
- Make two additional parallel vertical lines; one should be 4" in from the left raw edge of the pocket and one should be 4" in from the right raw edge of the pocket. Remember to draw these three vertical guideline on the front of both pockets.
NOTE: After drawing in our guidelines, we added a Sew4Home label, placing it slight off-center between the middle and right guidelines and approximately 1" up from the bottom finished edge of the pocket. We stitched it in place with contrasting thread to match each tote.
- Place each main exterior panel right side up on your work surface. Place a pocket right side up on each panel. The sides of the pockets should be flush with the sides of the main panels. The bottom finished edge of each pocket should be 2¼" up from bottom raw edge of each main panel. Pin the pocket in place along the drawn guidelines.
- Lengthen your stitch.
- Stitch along each drawn guideline.
- Edgestitch across the bottom of the pocket.
- We also machine basted the sides of each pocket in place.
Top facing and exterior bag assembly
- Along the top of each main panel, fold back the raw edge ½" and press. We used our Clover Hot Hemmer.
- Fold an additional 1½" and press again.
- Unfold so the crease lines are visible.
- Find the two 1½ ” x 18” strips of interfacing. Place one strip along the top of each panel so one 18" edge of the interfacing strip is tucked up against the first crease line of the fabric.
- Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse each strip in place.
- Place the front and back main panels right sides together, sandwiching the pockets between the layers. The edges of the panels should be flush on all four sides. Be extra careful to align the top creases and the side edges of the pockets. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners.
- Our bag is designed to have 3" sides and base. To create this width, we figured our corners at 1½".
- Measure and mark each corner.
- Cut out the 1½" corner squares along your drawn lines.
- Flatten the corner.
- Double stitch the corner, using a ½" seam allowance.
- Repeat to create the opposite corner.
- Press open the seam allowances as best you can.
- Turn the bag right side out and push the corners out into place.
NOTE: If you are new to boxed corners, check out our tutorial for step-by-step instructions.
- Find the 13" x 11" lining pocket. Fold it in half, right sides together, so it is now 6½" x 11"
- Pin along both sides and across the bottom, leaving a 4" opening along the bottom for turning.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom. Remember to pivot at the corners and to lock your seam at either side of the 4" opening.
- Clip the corners and press open the seam allowances.
- Turn right side out through the bottom opening. Use a long, blunt end tool, such as a knitting needle or chopstick, to gently push out the corners so they are nice and sharp.
- Press the pocket flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
- Find one of the two lining panels. Place it right side up on your work surface.
- Place the pocket on the panel so it sits 3" down from the upper raw edge of the panel and 4" in from each raw side edge. Pin in place.
- Edgestitch the pocket along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners. This edgestitching secures the pocket in place and closes the original opening used for turning. We used a lengthened stitch.
- Similarly to how you created division lines for the exterior pockets, measure to find the center of the lining pocket and draw a vertical guideline at this point.
- Stitch along the drawn line.
- Place the two lining panels right sides together, sandwiching the pocket between the layers. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners.
- Following the same steps as above, measure for 3" boxed corners, cutting out 1½" squares from each corner.
- Flatten and stitch, just as you did above.
- Leave the lining wrong side out.
- Slip the lining inside the main bag so the two bags are now wrong sides together. Align all the seams and the bottom corners. The top raw edge of the lining should align with the crease line of the fold-over facing of the exterior.
- Fold the facing down into position over the raw edge of the lining. Pin in place around the inside of the tote.
- Edgestitch the bottom folded edge of the facing all around. We used our Janome Edge Guide foot for a super accurate seam. Also, if your machine has a free arm, now is a good time to use it.
- Edgestitch around the top of the bag as well. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot for this step. Press well all around.
Create and place the handles
- Find the two 3½" x 28" fabric strips and the two 1¼" x 27" strips of interfacing.
- Press back each 28" raw edge of each strip ½". Then press in each end ½". We used our Clover Hot Hemmer again.
- Press each strip in half lengthwise, aligning the folded edges on all three sides. Press to set a center crease.
- Open up each strip so its crease line is visible. Align the interfacing strip with the center crease line; the opposite edge of the interfacing should be tucked under the ½" folded edge of the fabric strip. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing in place on each handle.
- Refold each strip along the original crease line so the folded edges align. Press well.
- Find the center of each handle, along the folded edges. Place a pin at this center point. Measure 4½" to the left of center and place a second pin. Measure 4½" to the right of center and place a third pin. Remove the center pin.
- Edgestitch across one end, pivot, then continue edgestitching up to and the past the first pin by approximately ½".
- Lock the stitch. Then repeat to edgestitch the opposite end of the handle.
- Replace the original marking pins if necessary.
- Fold the handle in half between the marking pins and pin this center section to secure.
- Edgestitch from pin to pin through all the layers to secure the fold. You've created an easy-carry top to the handle. For the best finish, use a locking stitch at the beginning and end of the seam if possible or leave the thread tails long and knot to secure.
- Place a handle on each side of the bag. The bottom edge of each end of the handle should sit 2½" down from the top of the bag and 3½" in from the side seam. Pin the ends in place. Check to make sure there are no twists in the handle loop and that the seam of the center fold of the handle is facing in towards the bag lining (this means the seams of the two handles will face each other when held together).
- Create a 2" X-Box to secure each end of each handle. If you are new to this technique, we have a full tutorial.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild