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Happy Mother's Day: Market Tote With Ruffly Ribbon Handles & Ties

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It's April 25th... do you know where your Mother's Day present is?? No worries if you don't. Sew4Home has you covered with four fast, easy and very pretty projects for your mommy. Today, we start it off with our Market Tote. It's a simple lined, box-bottom bag, featuring fun double-ruffle ribbon accents. But there's nothing simple about the result – it's a truly beautiful bag that Mom (or sis or auntie or grandma or....) will love.

We chose Tula Pink's Parisville for all our Happy Mother's Day print fabric with coordinating Designer Linen Solids. Our thanks to our friends at Free Spirit for providing all this wonderful fabric. Tula's Parisville came out late last year, but can still be found at many retail and online outlets, such as Fat Quarter ShopFabric.com and Hawthorne Threads. Thanks as well to everyone at The Ribbon Retreat for giving us the cool specialty ribbon. All the beautiful ribbons we used are available online now directly from The Ribbon Retreat in the colors we selected as well as many, many more.

The finished bag is approximately 12½" high x 13" wide with 2½" boxed bottom corners.

Sewing Tools You Need

  • Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Memory Craft Horizon 7700QCP... you could use a more basic model, but I just LOVE my Horizon, so I have to recommend it now and then)

Fabric and Other Supplies

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Our fabric cut recommendations are generous to allow for fussy cutting.

  • ½ yard of 44-45" wide fabric for the the bag top exterior: we used Parisville Sea of Tears in Pomegranate by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics
  • ½ yard of 44-45" wide fabric for the the bag bottom exterior, inside pocket and handles: we used Free Spirit's Designer Linen Solids in Burgundy
  • ½ yard of 44-45" wide fabric for the the bag lining: we used Parisville Topiary in Sky by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics
  • ½ yard of lightweight batting: we used Kyoto Bamboo Batting from Fabric.com
  • All purpose thread in colors to best match both fabric and ribbon: we used deep burgundy
  • 3 yards of 7/8" ribbon: we used Double Ruffle in Wine from The Ribbon Retreat
  • Fabric adhesive strips, such as Steam A Seam
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. From the fabric for the bag top exterior (Parisville Sea of Tears in Pomegranate in our sample), fussy cut TWO 18" wide x 9" high panels.
  2. From the fabric for the bag bottom exterior, inside pocket and handles (Burgundy Linen in our sample), cut the following:
    TWO 18" wide x 8" high panels
    ONE 12" wide x 7" rectangle
    TWO 4" x 30" strips
  3. From the fabric for the bag lining (Parisville Topiary in Sky in our sample), fussy cut TWO 18" wide x 15" high panels.
  4. From the batting, cut TWO 18" wide x 15" high panels.
  5. Cut the ribbon into TWO 30" lengths and TWO 15" lengths.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Create the bag lining and inside pocket

  1. Find the 12" x 7" pocket piece.
  2. Fold in half, right sides together, making it 6" x 7".
  3. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch around all sides, pivoting at the corners. Leave an approximate 2"-3" opening along the bottom for turning.
  4. Clip corners. Turn right side out. Push out the corners so they are nice and sharp. A chopstick or long knitting needle works well for this.
  5. Fold in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Press well.
  6. Pin the pocket in place on one 18" x 15" lining piece. The pocket should be centered side to side (5¾" from each edge) and 3" from the top.
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  7. Edgestitch the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners and with a generous backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam, ie. at the pocket top. This is a stress point for the pocket and it's smart to secure the seam well.
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  8. Place the lining piece with the sewn pocket and the second lining piece right sides together, aligning all raw edges. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom.
  9. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners.
  10. With the lining still wrong side out, the next step is to box the bottom corners of the bag.
  11. Using both hands, pinch and pull apart one bottom corner.
  12. As you keep pulling, the fabric will begin to make a little peak with the corner point at the top with the seam line running down the middle of both sides. Precisely match the two seams front to back. Repeat for the opposite corner.
  13. Our bag is sized for 2½" sides and base. To create this width, you need to figure your boxed corner seam at half that finished width. Therefore, in our sample, we measured 1¼" from the tip of each corner peak.
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  14. Draw a horizontal line at this measurement on each side.
  15. Pin your folded and measured 'peaks' and stitch along the drawn lines. Remember, your seams should be perfectly lined up.
  16. Stitch back and forth along the line two or three times to reinforce. Trim away the peak on each side to about ¼" from the seam line.
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  17. Turn right side out and push out to form the boxed corners.
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  18. Press under the top raw edge of the lining 1" all around, creating a nice folded edge around the entire finished lining piece.

Create the bag exterior

  1. Find one top exterior panel and one bottom exterior panel (Parisville Sea of Tears in Pomegranate and Designer Linen Solid in Burgundy in our sample).
  2. Place the two panels right sides together to create a horizontal seam. Pin in place.
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  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch together.
  4. Open the sewn bag, pressing the seam allowance open.
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  5. Repeat steps 1-4 with the remaining top and bottom exterior panels.
  6. Place a piece of batting against the wrong side of each finished exterior panel.
  7. Align the bottom edges and the sides; the fabric will extend 1" at the top. Be very careful to make sure both pieces are super flat. Pin in place all around. Check again that both layers have stayed flat and the raw edges are flush. If need be, once everything is layered and flat, trim the batting so it is completely flush with the fabric.
  8. Machine baste the two layers together around both sides and across the bottom, staying about ¼" from the raw edges. Press well.
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  9. Place the layered front and back exterior pieces right sides together and pin together along both sides and across the bottom. Be careful to line up your center seams along the sides.
  10. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch together along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners.
  11. Following the same steps described above for the lining, box the bottom corners of the bag exterior.
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  12. Remember that 1" of fabric that extended beyond the batting? Fold it to the back, pin in place, and press well.
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Handles and ties and finishing the bag

  1. Find the two 4" x 30" strips, which will become your two handles.
  2. Fold one strip in half lengthwise (so it is now 2" x 30"). Pin in place along the long raw edges.
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the one long seam, leaving both ends open.
  4. Trim the seam allowance back to ¼"
  5. Turn right side out through the open ends. Press flat.
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  6. Repeat with the remaining 4" x 30" strip.
  7. Run a thin strip of Steam A Seam, or similar type of fabric adhesive, down the exact center of each handle piece.
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  8. Center one of your 30" lengths of decorative ribbon on top of this adhesive strip and finger press in place.
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  9. Using a thread that matches your ribbon as closely as possible, stitch the ribbon to the handle, using a zig zag stitch or a decorative stitch. If you use the same cool Double Ruffle ribbon from The Ribbon Retreat that we did, go slowly so you can keep those ruffles feeding evenly under the presser foot.
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  10. I used a simple zig zag stitch.
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  11. Turn the lining wrong side out and slip it inside the bag so the lining and the bag are wrong sides together.
  12. Align the side seams of the lining and the bag. The top folded edges of the bag and the lining should be flush with one another.
  13. Pin the lining to the bag along these top folded edges all the way around the opening of the bag.
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  14. Find the two 15" lengths of ribbon. Make a tiny hem on one end of both pieces. These will be your closure ties.
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  15. Insert one handle and one tie on each side of the bag between the exterior and the lining. The outside edge of the handles should be approximately 3½" from each side seam and the ties should be dead center. Insert the raw ends in between the layers at least 1". Securely pin the ends in place.
    NOTE: If your ribbon has a right and wrong side, as ours did, make sure the right side is facing out. Also make sure that your handle loop is not twisted.
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  16. Stitch all around the top opening of the bag ¼" from the folded edges, attaching the lining to the bag.
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  17. Tie a pretty bow with the ties, add a tag and you have a gift to go.

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Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Liz Johnson



Comments (34)

Alecia said:
Alecia's picture

On step number 8 of "creating the bag exterior", it says to baste all four sides. However, in doing so you create a visible top seam. So I would change it to read baste 3 sides (sides and bottom). This eliminates the visible seam in the finished product (and a lot of seam ripping...)

Thanks for a beautiful bag pattern though! I am on my third. :)

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Alecia - good idea, although basting should be easy to pull out, it would make it faster to just do three sides. You could also use a basting spray instead.

carriejean said:
carriejean's picture

i was wondering if anyone could tell me the final dimensions of the bag? i just want to know how big it will be once it's done!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ carriejean - the finished bag is approximately 12-1/2" high x 13" wide with  2-1/2' boxed bottom corners.

Ximmy's Mom said:
Ximmy's Mom's picture
Just made this tonight, followed the pattern almost. Made it reversible so I cut the outside and inside the same. Left a 5-8 inch opening along the bottom of one. Placed the handles with the unfinished seam against the top edge of the bag. placed right sides of bag together (tucking one inside the other)stitched 3/8 inch from top, pulled through the opening, then hand stitched the opening closed using an invisible stitch. Top stitched 1/4 inch from top.
Thanks for the great pattern to go off of!
Renee C said:
This is such a cute bag! I am planning on making a bag for my Mother in law and was trying to figure out how to put a pocket in it. This tutorial was so helpful with that thank you!
Orchidia said:
Orchidia's picture
Just completed the bag as a "thank you" for our Valentine's Day babysitter for this evening... it looks so good, I'll be making one for myself!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
@ Orchidia -- Hi again -- sorry, my mistake. I thought you were wondering about the fabric extending beyond the batting. You lining "bag" will be slightly smaller than your exterior "bag". This will help the lining sit smoothly down into the base of the exterior. Plus, with a full inch fold-over you can adjust the top edges of each slightly, if needed, when you place the two bags together so insure the top edges are completely flush. Have fun.
Orchidia said:
Orchidia's picture
Hi Liz,

Thanks for replying so quickIy! I read that bit and thought that would be the answer to my question.... then I went back to read about the construction of the lining and in (1smilies/cool.gif it says to press under the raw edge of the lining 1" as well. But maybe I should just go ahead and try it smilies/wink.gif
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
@ Orchidia -- everything should line up flush around the top when you are done. Read carefully through the "Create the bag exterior" section and you'll see why the exterior is cut 1" larger and then how that 1" folds down over the batting.
Mary F. said:
Mary F.'s picture
Beautiful bag! Too bad I found it too late for Mother's Day. But I will keep it in mind for next year!
amandaj said:
amandaj's picture
Love this bag! just finished it and it was so simple, thanks to the great tutorial smilies/smiley.gif I think my mom will love it and now I can't wait to make one for myself!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi Nelloyello11 - yep you are correct. I fixed it above. Thanks!
Nelloyello11 said:
Nelloyello11's picture
I'm going on the assumption that step 1 in Getting Started should read "From the fabric for the bag top exterior (Parisville Sea of Tears in Pomegranate in our sample), fussy cut TWO 18" wide x 9" high panels." Is that correct?
Ruth D. said:
Ruth D.'s picture
Thanks for the tutorial. I'm taking basic sewing classes and your tutorials and ideas have been very helpul. Thanks again.
StarWatts said:
StarWatts's picture
The curly ribbon on the straps really make a lovely finish on the bag. Amazing how just that little add on turns a basically simple bag into something extra.

Great job.
Mavis said:
Mavis's picture
Thank you so much for the tutorial, I will enjoy making the bag on my fantastic Janome memory craft 7700 QCP, perfect for my fund raiseing projects.
Marloes said:
Marloes's picture
Great tutorial thanx! And I love the ruler you use, it will save me time. Can you please tell me the brandname?

rdejam said:
rdejam's picture
My mom is going to love, love, love this! Thanks so much for the tutorial!
Luz Mizhquiri said:
Luz Mizhquiri's picture
love it and I will add it to my proyects for my mom,thanks!!!
LCO said:
LCO's picture
Really cute! I have a lot of pretty ribbons that I bought on clearance, and was looking for a way to use them - this is perfect! smilies/grin.gif
katelynmcc said:
katelynmcc's picture
What a gorgeous bag! My mom would love it (me too) and it looks easy to make. I want to get the same fabric. Love! So clever how you used the ruffled ribbon on the straps, Liz!!
crescentcity said:
crescentcity's picture
This tote is beautiful...I was looking for a tutorial like this to make for my mom...Beautiful colors and material!!! Thank You!!