Scene in Rectangles – Lined Tote Bag

Tote Bag Comprised Entirely of Rectangles

Tote Bag Comprised Entirely of Rectangles

Inside Patch Pockets

Inside Patch Pockets

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.

Lining and Facing

Lining and Facing

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.

A Roomy Tote, Equipped to Handle A Shopping Trip

A Roomy Tote, Equipped to Handle A Shopping Trip

Advertisements

How to Construct a Waistband Casing

A waistband casing consists of a tunnel sewn to accommodate a drawstring or elastic at the top of a skirt or pants and at the waistline of a dress.  A casing can also be used at the hems of sleeves and pants.  You will need to fold the fabric towards the wrong side and press about 0.75 cm (quarter-inch), then fold down again the width of the elastic or drawstring, plus about 1 cm (half an inch).  Sew the casing closed, all along the garment, leaving a 4 cm (2″) opening.  Optional:  You can also edgestitch all the way around the top of the casing.  This flattens out the gathers at the hemmed edge and neatens the look.

Bodkin with Drawstringand Safety Pin with Elastic

Bodkin with Drawstring
and Safety Pin with Elastic

Using either a bodkin or a safety-pin attached to one end of the elastic or drawstring, thread the item through, being careful not to pull the opposite end into the casing.  For an elastic, overlap the two ends about 1 cm (half-inch), sew together and insert back into casing.  Adjust gathers and sew the casing closed.  For a drawstring, you will need to insert two buttonholes, approximately 2 cm (1″) apart at the front of the garment, within the casing, in order for both ends of the drawstring to exit and be tied.  The buttonholes can be placed so that the drawstring exits at either the inside or the outside of the garment.

Waistbands with Elastic Casing (left) and Drawstring Casing (right)

Waistbands with Elastic Casing (left) and Drawstring Casing (right)

You can also add a casing of different fabric, instead of folding down the fabric of the existing garment.  For this, you would do as above, but instead of adding the amount you calculated for the casing onto your original fabric, you would measure this amount onto the new fabric and cut it out.  You will also have to add another 0.5 cm (5/8″) or whatever is your seam allowance, as you will be attaching the casing to your garment.