The Fiver Tote TUTORIAL

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I’ve had this tutorial in my head for a while. So when sweet Gina over at The Little General asked me to do a demo for Quilt Carolina, I decided this would be perfect! My demo will be at 3 at The Little General in Reynolda Village. She wanted something involving fat quarters because she’s got this great Fat Stacks club. Basically you get two sets of fat quarters per month and she has all kinds of pattern ideas and fun activities for the fat stackers. It’s pretty cool!

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Supplies: You’ll need five fat quarters and a half yard of fusible fleece.

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You will also need 1 yard of webbing for the handles. I found this great linen strapping. I suggest 1 to 2″ wide. And 1/2 yard of decorative ribbon. This is optional.

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1. Cutting: Cut the two outer fabrics and two lining fabrics to be 17 x 20″.

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Note: If you use a directional print, it might be sideways. These flowers are directional, but I decided I was okay with how they looked sideways. Just something to consider as you select fabric.

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Cut the fifth fat quarter to 17 x 17″.

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2. Fusing: Fuse the Fusible Fleece to the two outer pieces. I prefer to fuse the center, then trim a clean edge. Then fuse the outer edges.

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3. Making the Pocket: Take the 17″ square piece and fold it in half right sides together. If you’re fabric is directional, make sure that you fold it the correct way.

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Sew a 1/2″ seam along the long edge.

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Press the seam open. And turn the tube right side out.

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Press the tube flat with the seam towards the bottom.

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If you’re using decorative ribbon, center it along the top edge. Topstitch along the edge attaching the ribbon. If you choose not to use ribbon, you still need to topstitch along the edge. I use a #10 foot with my needle moved over two spots and a stitch length of 3.0.

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You’ll also topstitch the other edge of the ribbon.

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4. Attaching the Pocket: Place the bottom of the pocket (the non top stitched/ribboned edge) 7″ from the bottom of one outer piece. Pin it in place.

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Topstitch it in place. I stitch two rows for added strength. I use the #10 foot with the needle moved over two spots and then four spots.

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If you want a pocket divider, stitch vertical stitches as well. I stitched one in the middle. Back stitch at the beginning and end. I marked my stitch line with a frixion pen.

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Trim the edges if the ribbon and pocket to be flush with the outer piece. Don’t worry if it’s a little short.

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5. Constructing the Handles: Cut the handles to be 18″ long. If you’re using a thicker webbing, you might want to skip this step. Fold in half to find the center and place a pin.

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Measure 2″ to either side of the pin. Fold the handles in half lengthwise and pin.

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Topstitch along the 4″ segment. Leave a long tail at the beginning and end to knot. Trim the tails once you’ve knotted.

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6. Attaching the Handles: Fold the outer piece in half lengthwise to find the center of the 17″ side. Mark it with a pin. Measure out 3″ on either side to the center of the handle. The stitched side of the handle should be facing up.

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Attach with a 1/4″ seam.

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Repeat for the other side. Make sure that the pocket opening is pointed towards the handle.

7. Attaching the Lining: Place a piece of lining right sides together with an outer piece.

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Sew 1/2″ seam. You are sewing over the handles.

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Repeat for the other side. Press.

8. Constructing the Bag: Lay the two pieces so that the outer pieces are right sides together and the lining is right sides together. Be careful to align the seams in the middle. The seam allowances lay towards the outer pieces; do not best or lock this seam.

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Sew a 1/2″ starting from just above the seams along the side of the outer pieces.

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Make sure the pocket is flat.

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Repeat on the other long outer edge.

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Sew 1/2″ seam along the shorter outer edge.

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Sew 1/2″ along both long edges of the lining.

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Fold the bottom edge of the lining to find the center. Mark with a pin 2 1/2″ on either side.

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Stitch 1/2″ seam along the bottom edge of the lining leaving the 5″ opening. Back stitch at both edges of the opening.

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9. Boxing the Corners: Fold the corner of the bag so that the seams align. One seam allowance will go one way while the other goes the other way. You can feel when the seams lock.

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Mark 3″ down from the seam intersection.

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Stitch along the marked line.

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Repeat for all corners.

10. Finishing the Bag: Flip the bag right side out through the hole in the lining. Press the top edge neatly so that the lining doesn’t show.

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Topstitch the top edge of the bag.

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Stitch the opening in the lining closed and you’re done!! Thanks to my sweet friend Lori for posing with the bag!

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xo LC

4 thoughts on “The Fiver Tote TUTORIAL

  1. I love fat quarters! The directions are detailed. I can’t wait to select my five fat quarters and get to work. Thanks for such a great idea. A shout out to Lori for a fabulous photo!!

  2. I just finished this pretty tote bag! thanks for a great tutorial, Lee! Clear, concise instructions with good pictures! I’ll make this again!

  3. Thank you for this detailed tutorial! Looks like it should be no problem to make such a cute tote bag by myself! It will be my next sewing project :-)

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