Teacher Tote

Materials needed:
1 yard each of cotton fabric (This is the flower and stripe fabric I used)
1/2 yard solid color fabric (this is the yellow)
2 zippers - 2-"-22"
medium to heavy weight interfacing (I just used what I had on hand)

1. Cut.

For reference, this is what I will refer to the pockets as:

First, cut to pieces for the main part of your tote, being the outside (flower) and the inside (stripe). This piece, with 1/2 inch seam allowance is 32"x15". Cut 2 large pockets (both flower fabric) 13.5"x15". Cut 1 medium pocket (yellow) 7"x15". Cut one Pen pocket (stripe) 4"x15". Cut two straps (stripe)31"X5". you can make these longer or shorter as you need. Cut 8* pieces to attack to the zipper (yellow) 18"x3" (this gives you a bit of room to play with).

*I only did 4 pieces, but 8 would look better and give more stability because you will have fabric on both the outside and inside of the zipper.

Cut interfacing an inch smaller than each measurement as your above pieces for EACH piece EXCEPT the zipper pieces. Example, for your two large pockets, cut 2 pieces of interfacing 12.5"x14".

2. Iron on your interfacing to all of your pieces.

3. More ironing. iron 1/2 inch seams on pen pocket and medium pocket.

4. top stitch the tops of all of your pockets.

5. Marking. Lay the pen pocket on top of the medium pocket. Starting at the left side of the pen pocket, make a mark 2" from the edge (this is giving you that 1/2" seam allowance for later). Then make three more marks 1.5" apart.

6.Sew on your marked lines, starting from the bottom. However, those seams you just ironed, make sure you don't sew them down, leave these open for now.

7. Attaching large pocket. Now lay your medium pocket on top of one of your large pockets and fold the pen pocket out of the way.

8. More sewing! Make a mark in the center of the medium pocket. Starting at the top of the medium pocket, sew a line down your mark.

9. Even more sewing!!! With your large pocket folded out of the way (just like we did above), sew a line down the middle of the pen pocket.

Set this aside.

10. Iron your 1/2" seams for your two large pieces so they look like this:

11. Now take the pockets that you just sewed and lay them on top of your large stripe piece that you just ironed. Lay it 2" down from the top of your raw edge on your large piece. First, fold under the bottom of your pockets that you previously ironed, making sure the pen pocket seam covers the other pockets as pictures above. This way, you don't see a sandwich of fabric, just one fold. Top stitch this to the large piece. Just roll the other side of the large piece so it is out of your way.

12.Top stitch the other two sides of your pocket to the large piece.

13. Now lay your other large pocket down on the other side of the large piece. Top stitch this piece on three sides.

You should now have this:

Set this piece aside for now.

14. ZIPPERS! This is much dreaded for a lot of people, but hang in there, it isn't that bad... really!

First, lay your zipper down, right side up and place one of your yellow pieces of fabric on top (right sides together).

Pin this and sew it down using your zipper foot. Don't be intimidated... this is really not hard! You can so do this!

15. fold this over and iron the fabric down so it looks like this.

16. lay another zipper piece on top of the zipper, right sides together.

sew this down, just like you did the other side.

17. Now flip it right side up and iron down the other side.

18. now, here is the part I do not have pictures for because i didn't do this step, but should have (forgot to). On the wrong side of your zipper, attach two more strips in the same fashion as above. this way you will have fabric on both sides. There may be an easier way of doing this, but this is how I did it. If anyone has tips on how to make this easier, let me know! If you want to skip putting fabric on the back side of the zipper, simply top stitch the fabric down to the zipper at this stage... that's what I did.

19. Repeat on the other zipper.

20. Straps. Iron 1/2" seam on the two long sides of your zipper.

21. Iron the straps in half.

22. Top stitch your strap closed.

23. Sew your straps to the large piece you sewed the pockets to. Go over a bunch of times to make it secure enough to hold weight. You may even want to sew a box shape over the strap. I sewed my straps in about 3 inches from each side.

24. Attaching zippers. On both of your zippers, fold down the top and stitch it together, just like below.

25. now you're going to take the large piece that has all of your pockets sewn on and fold in the corner where your zipper will be. You could make a mitered edge, but I forgot to so this is what I did:

26. Lay the zipper on top of the large piece like this:

Notice that the zipper is not on top of the large piece, it is hanging off the end. Sew it down and stop just below the pen pocket.

27. Now turn the zipper so it goes down the middle of the bag on the back side of the large piece.

Sew it down.

28. now unzip your zipper and do the other side.

It should now look like this in the middle of the tote:

29. Sew down the inside of the zipper the same way as above.
It should now look like this.

30. Now you're going to sew the end of your zipper so you can shorten it. Go over it with a hand needle a whole bunch of times so that it looks like this:

31. Trim the zipper:

32. ALMOST DONE! Top stitch the middle of the other large piece (the flower piece we haven't done much with yet). *(scroll to the bottom to see what I mean here) When I say the middle, I mean the part that will be over the zipper where it zips under the tote. (I forgot this part or I would have shown you a picture). oops! I hand stitched it.

33. FINAL STEP!!! Lay your large flower piece on top of your other large piece with the pockets and zipper attached so that wrong sides are together and top stitch them together. Try to line them up nicely.

when you get to the zipper... STOP! you don't want to sew over the top! This is the point you should stop:
Back stitch at this point and keep working around the other sides.
*(See the part by my thumb? Thats where you should top stitch in step 32)

Congrats!!! YOU ARE DONE!!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love this project! What teacher wouldn't want this lovely, yet useful tote. Thank you for your wonderful tutorial. I am going to try to make one this summer and be prepared (gasp) for next year. I was wondering if you could make the side zipper pieces (yellow fabric) wider? Would I have to make the bag body longer, to make more room for a bigger bottom? Thanks again!

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