Monday, December 11, 2006

felt tote bag tutorial

Whoa! This was so much fun...here is the tote bag I made on Sunday in about one hour. I made it from four pieces of the new felt sheeting we just received from Nepal. Each green side is one whole sheet (about 11x17), the narrow orange sides are one sheet cut in half lengthwise (to make two strips, about 5 1/2 x17), the bottom is one sheet cut across the end the same width as the orange sides (about 5 1/2 x 11) and I cut a pocket from the extra.
Here is the side with the pocket stitched on. This project was perfect for me because there really is no measuring, you just fold the sheets in half and cut. No pattern pieces either! Here are all the ingredients laid out, you can see Nora in the background, she's hard at work, too.

These pictures show the way I stitched the ribbon in one continuous piece. After I had the ribbon handles on the bag I sewed the seams on the long sides of the bottom panel about 5/8 of an inch wide. I then sewed the short side seams on the bottom panel and then sewed the side seams up. The seam selvage is all on the outside of the bag, which I think looks fine with a felt tote bag.
I used this tote bag for our gift exchange at the store. We all make a handmade gift and exchange them. Everyone works really hard on their gifts and the competition is pretty fierce. My tote bag went to Ndidi so I will (hopefully) get to see it again, but I am going to make another one. Maybe with striped felt sheets!

NOTE: as of 12/20/2008 we no longer sell these felt sheets. Sorry, they were swell but we had to import them in giant quantities from the Kingdom of Nepal and they just didn't sell very well. We no longer have any in stock. Try sheet felt from high-quality upholstery stores.