Friday, May 3, 2013

"Calendar Bears" Tote Bag Giveaway!

      I love finding discarded linens and up cycling them into something beautiful. I think I managed that with this  adorable tote bag, which you can win! 
      I came across the gorgeous cross-stitched piece sewn onto a sadly lumpy throw pillow in the far reaches of a thrift shop, paid it's ransom and brought it home.  Whoever turned it into a (vertical!) throw pillow had chosen a very busy teddy bear print fabric that not only was too thin for a pillow, but was also way too busy, competing with the details in the cross stitch.  So I cut off the front of the pillow and washed it carefully.  Then I sat and watched a cooking show on TV while I unpicked all the stitching around the edges, and pressed it.
           Then I started cutting this fabulous fabric I bought at Helen's Hen House a couple of weeks ago.  It is a civil war era reproduction print. The fabrics at JoAnne's Fabrics just don't compare in quality to those at nice quilt shops--the texture and color are wonderful in this little leaf print.  Here is how to make a simple tote bag for carting groceries or going to the flea market...
Once you have decided upon the size for the front of your bag and finished piecing it around your recycled linen, cut the back fabric the same size to match. Use a 1/2" seam allowance to sew the front and back together. Press under the top edge about 1/2".
      Then mitre the bottom corners by matching up the seam line perfectly and drawing a line across it horizontally about 1 1/2 inches up from the point.  I made a plastic template for the mitered corners so I don't have to measure every time. 

Draw across the line, stitch it and then cut off the excess point of fabric to reduce bulk.

Slip the inner lining inside the outer bag, wrong sides together.
      Pin the inside top edges with the lining a bit below the top just so the lining won't slip out over the top edge.    
     To make the handles I just cut a 6 inch deep piece across the width of the fabric, then cut to the length you want them to be (usually about 3/4 of the width).  Then press it in half, then in half again, to give you 4 thicknesses of fabric for a sturdy handle that will hold up for the life of the bag.  Then edge stitch down both edges along the length, and pin them in place between the outer bag and inner lining about 2 inches in from each side.  Then edge stitch very carefully all around the top to be sure there is no puckering. 
 Double stitch around the top--it looks nicer and the handles are attached so they never pull loose.
Then admire your gorgeous tote!
See how nice the mitred corners look?

      To celebrate my first blog anniversary I am giving this pretty bag away to someone who leaves a comment at the end of any--or every--blog post.  For each comment you leave your name will be entered into the hat from which Sweetface will draw a name.  Winner to be announced at the end of this month. I hope it's YOU!


  1. Wish I could make something as nice as this.

    1. I hope you will give it a try! Or maybe your name will be drawn for this one! :-)

  2. Replies
    1. Yes, bears are always way up there in the cuteness ratings!

  3. Thanks for the step-by-step, your totes have always looked so cute. Can't believe someone would put all that work into the cross stitch only to give it away. Good job!!!!

    1. Fortunately the bears were cross-stitched by someone else and I had the benefit of just incorporating it into the tote bag--easy-peasy cheat!

  4. I love da bears! This reply was sent from my laptop to see if it makes a difference.

    Check and see.

    1. Well, it worked! Thanks for the comment. Sorry your comments were not arriving--I will see if my IT Department (Sweetface) can figure out why comments don't always arrive. Makes me wonder how many have had that problem!

  5. Too die of cute!! Who doesn't love teddies. OK, now I have another thing to add to my "TO DO" list - make a charming little bag. Thank you for the great instructions.


  6. I'm going to hold you to that! :-)