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Hi, my name is Rebecca. I run a blog called Our Busy Little Bunch where I share my projects, connect with other crafters and bloggers, and give a glimpse into my life. I have a supportive husband, and together we've been blessed with four little people. Quilting and sewing are my crafts of choice and I find that having a creative outlet keeps me more balanced and excited for life in the midst of cleaning house, laundry, cooking, and taking care of the needs of my family.
This tote has been on my mind for quite awhile, and after reading and understanding the divider instructions in a different type of free project online, I was ready to give it a try. My vision was to use mine as a gym bag (it fits my runners nicely on one half), but I also have found myself using it for training at my new job this week (keeps my lunch separate from my wallet and other stuff), and my daughter uses the one I made her for her knitting projects.
So let's get started!
You will Need:
- Main Exterior Fabric- 2 pieces measuring 17" x 14" (Kona Caribbean and Cerise)
- Main Lining Fabric - 2 pieces measuring 17" x 14" (Kona Canary and White)
- Divider - 2 pieces measuring 10" x 7" (Kona Canary and White)
- Pockets - 2 pieces measuring 5" x 12" (Kona Caribbean and Cerise)
- Straps - 3 pieces measuring 17.5" x 6" (Kona Violet)
- All main exterior and lining pieces - but cut them 13.5" instead of 14" and fuse to bottom edge (this leaves 1/2" of top edge not interfaced, which makes pressing and assembling the bag later much easier)
- Both divider pieces
- Half of both pocket pieces (cut both pieces 5" x 6") and fuse to one half
Assemble your Straps:
Sew short ends of the three strips together with 1/4" seam. Press seams. Now press the entire long strip in half. Open up, and press outer edges to center. Fold and press entire strap in half. You should now have a long strap that is four times thickness and 1.5" wide. Top-stitch the strap with multiple lines of stitching - I've done 6 rows on mine, with a bit of a longer stitch length. When done, cut long strap into two equal length smaller straps (approx 25" length each). Put aside.
Assemble Outer Bag:
Put your two main exterior pieces right sides together and stitch side seams only with a 1/2" seam. Flip right-side out and give a quick press, and then put wrong side out again. Match the two seams together on the bottom of the bag, and pin. Sew bottom seam with 1/2" seam allowance.
Box Bottom Corners:
Grab a bottom corner, and with seam side up, center seam. Using a ruler, mark a line where the width is 6". Sew on this line. Cut off excess fabric from corner. Repeat for opposite side.
Turn bag right-side out. Pin straps two inches from center seam on each side. Stitch securely 1/4" from top of bag. Put exterior bag aside for now.
Assemble and Attach Pockets:
Fold pockets in half right-sides together so they measure 6" x 5". Sew side seams with 1/4" seam allowance. Trim corners. Turn right-side out and push out corners. Press. Fold in open edge about 1/2" and press. Decide which piece of interior main fabric will have pockets on it. Pin pockets 3" from top of lining, and 3/4" from side of lining (with open seams at bottom of pockets). Top-stitch sides and bottom of pockets (this will close the open seam at bottom at the same time).
Assemble and Attach Divider:Put divider pieces right sides together. Sew short edges with 1/2" seam allowance. Turn right-side out, press and top-stitch.
Place divider 1.5" from top edge on one lining main piece (place opposite colors against each other). Place second main lining piece on top, right-sides together, and pin.
Now do the same for the other unfinished edge of divider - sandwich it between the right-sides of the other sides of the lining pieces and pin. Sew both seams with 1/2" seam allowance. Trim seams to 1/4" to remove some bulk.
(this is what your lining should have looked like right after pinning the two seams):
Assemble Lining:Use the same steps as for the exterior of the bag - match center bottom seam, sew bottom seam closed, and box out bottom corners.
Assemble Bag:Press the upper edge to wrong side of both the exterior and lining. This should be easy with no need to measure since you cut the interfacing a half inch shorter than the height of the bag.
Place the bag lining into the bag and push into corners. Match center seams first and pin, and then pin the entire top edge. Top-stitch from the inside of the bag close to the top edge.
And there you have it - your finished divided tote!