Episode 410


Mystery Tote by Ellen Osten

Play with fabric and thread to create a fun tote bag.


1/2 yard each of two print cotton fabrics, coordinating print cotton fabric & heavyweight fusible stabilizer

Temporary spray adhesive

Thread: 30-wt. cotton variegated & 60-wt. bobbin

Size 90/14 metallic or topstitch needle

Open-toe appliqué foot

Rotary cutting system

Cut It

From the stabilizer, cut two 16"x24" rectangles and one 7 1/2"x22" rectangle.

From the print cotton fabrics, cut one 14"x22" rectangle each.

From the coordinating print cotton fabric, cut two 14"x22" rectangles for the pocket and lining.

From one of the print cotton fabrics, cut one 7 1/2"x22" strip for the straps.

Sew It

Place one print cotton rectangle right side up on a cutting mat. Using a rotary cutter, cut the rectangle into six lengthwise strips using curvy cuts. Set aside, preserving the order of the strips. Place the remaining print cotton rectangle right side up on the cutting mat. Cut the rectangle into six widthwise strips using curvy cuts. Cut wider or narrower curvy strips for different looks.

Place the fusible stabilizer on a pressing surface with the fusible side up. Place the fabric cut lengthwise over the stabilizer, preserving the cut order and aligning the stabilizer and fabric edges.

Using the crosswise strips and preserving the strip cut order, weave each strip into the lengthwise strips. Once the strips are woven together, ensure the woven strips are tightly abutted and no stabilizer is showing through; pin.

Following the manufacturer's instructions, fuse the woven strips to the stabilizer, removing pins as you go. Flip over the rectangle and press from the reverse side. Some of the strips will not be fused because they aren't in contact with the stabilizer. If desired, use a glue stick to secure or place fusible tape under the strip to adhere.

Install an open-toe foot onto the machine. Install a size 90/14 topstitch or metallic needle onto the machine. Thread the sewing machine needle with decorative thread and the bobbin with bobbin thread. Test stitch along the edge of the fabric and adjust the thread tension if necessary.

Choose a decorative stitch, and then stitch along each strip edge to cover the raw edges. Stitch each lengthwise and crosswise strip edge, changing the decorative stitch as desired. Decorative stitch the entire bag, if desired.

Once the stitches are complete, press the fabric. Fold the rectangle in half widthwise with right sides together; stitch the short edges using a 1/4" seam allowance. Flatten one bag corner, aligning the side seam with the widthwise centerline. Measure 2" across the triangle corner; draw a line. Stitch across the line to box the bag corner. Repeat to box the remaining corner. Trim the seam allowances to 1/4".

Double-fold one lining rectangle short edges 1/2" toward the wrong side for the pockets; press. Stitch close to the first fold. With right sides up, layer the pocket rectangle over the remaining lining rectangle, aligning the long edges. Topstitch along the rectangle lengthwise and widthwise centerlines to form the pockets.

With right sides together, fold the lining in half widthwise; stitch the side seams using a 1/4" seam allowance, leaving a 3" opening along one edge for turning. Box the corners according to the previous instructions.

Fuse the 7 1/2"x22" stabilizer rectangle to the corresponding fabric rectangle wrong side. Cut the strip in half lengthwise. With wrong sides together, fold each strip long edge so that the cut edges meet in the center. Fold each strip in half lengthwise. Topstitch each strap long edge.

With right sides together and aligning the raw edges, pin the straps to the woven bag 3" from the side seams. Repeat to pin the remaining handle to the opposite side.

With right sides together, insert the lining into the tote. Stitch the bag upper edge using a 1/4" seam allowance.

Turn the tote right side out through the opening in the lining side seam. Push the lining down into the tote and finger press along the upper edge. Topstitch the bag upper edge using a 3/4" seam allowance. Stitch over the upper edge topstitching using a decorative stitch, if desired. Edgestitch the lining opening closed.


Sulky provided the KK2000 temporary spray adhesive, 30-wt. Blendable thread, 60-wt. bobbin thread and Fuse 'n Stitch stabilizer: sulky.com.

Products used in this episode:



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