I’ve discovered that there are many simple projects that can be completed using only squares or rectangles as your pattern pieces. This makes measuring and cutting out your pattern quite simple and you also only sew straight lines. One project I completed, is a lined tote bag complete with inside pockets. The pattern is based on instructions from the book Sewing in a Straight Line by Brett Bara (City Girl Tote). I modified it to include two inside pockets and a magnetic snap closure. All the pattern pieces used in this tote consist of rectangles that you draft yourself.
Two rectangles of a cotton canvas duck were used for the outside, each were 81cm X 51 cm (32″ X 20″). Make sure you square your lines when drafting your rectangles using either a triangle, T-square or even a square quilting ruler. Two rectangles of medium weight cotton fabric were used for the lining with two smaller rectangles of lining fabric for patch pockets, one on each side. Both the exterior tote and the lining have boxed corners to provide more shape and structure to the tote. For more information on boxing corners, click here. Two smaller rectangles comprised the facing at the top of the tote and four long rectangles of the lining fabric, along with fusible interfacing made up the handles.
Eight pieces of grosgrain ribbon (two for each handle) were sewn on with zigzag stitching to add some design interest. Coincidentally, the cut ribbon also consisted of very long rectangles. The lining was attached using the “bagging” method. This method is not too difficult and professional looking. For more information on how to line using the bagging method, click here.
You can then add a magnetic snap closure to the inside facing and you have a sturdy, roomy tote to take shopping.