Friday, June 18, 2010

Big tote from a Wrap Around Skirt-Tutorial

I was going through a few old pics & came across this one & I realised "Hey............I have never ever seen this skirt .Is this really mine!!!!!
Except for the day this pic was taken I have never even seen it!!!!!!!
So I started the scavenger hunt for this skirt & top.

I finally found it under the pile of my shawls.I must have packed it accidentally while moving to wellington.........no wonder I did not miss it for 3 years!!!!!!!!

Anyways now I no longer fit in the top:(
And somehow wearing a 3 yr old skirt is not very appealing,never mind the fact the I have worn it precisely once.......................but still I didn't want to throw it away either,so I decided to make it into a tote.
I am sure everybody has such old wrap arounds which you have no other use for,so I decided to make a tutorial & share it with you all:)

Now first thing to do is cut away the belt of the skirt & open up the darts if there are any.

The advantage of using a skirt is that it has sewn edges at the bottom & sides.I want to use the sewn edges for the top of the outer & inner shell,so I don't have  to bother about turning the sides  in before sewing,all I have to do is hold inner & outer shells together & top stitch it............as easy as that!!!!!!!!

I will be using the skirt as outer fabric as well as lining to minimize wastage.Also I will use batting & quilt it for the outer shell & fusible interfacing for the lining.My skirt had a very pretty embroidered strip going all the way down on one side which I decided to use on top of the tote (you can see that in the pic).This is a good time for you to take out your old stash of fabrics & use a strip if you fancy !!!!!!

Time to go chop chop :)
Before you actually start cutting I would suggest roughly chalk out the pieces you need & mark them on the skirt.You don't want to fall short of fabric after you have already cut it!!!!!!!!!


While cutting this remember to cut from the bottom or side edge so that the sewn edge is a part of your fabric for outer shell & lining .

Main fabric & lining -Four 16.5" by 15"  pieces
Decorative strips (optional) - Two 16.5" by 3" strips.
(Sew the decorative strips on the top side just under the sewing.)
Batting -Two 16.5" by 14.5" pieces
Fusible interfacing - Two 16.5" by 14.5" pieces


Two 27" by 2.5" pieces ( I used 1 strip from the skirt & 1 from the top ,you can take both from the skirt)
One 27" by  2.5 " piece fusible interfacing.


Four  6.5" by 6" pieces from the skirt fabric
One 6.5" by 6" piece batting
Two 13" by 6" pieces from the skirt fabric


I used an embroidered patch which was there on the top for the magnetic strap you can cut it from the skirt
One 15" by 4" piece
One 14" by  3" piece from batting
1 magnetic snap
Matching thread
Strong needle

These are all the pieces after cutting & before ironing;)

Sew the entire tote with a 1/4" seam allowance.

First sew the decorative pieces if any on the top edge of the front & back outer fabric.


Now take the batting pieces & pin them to the outer fabric.The batting is 1/2" smaller than the outer fabric as we will not be folding it inside so we don't want the batting to peak out from the top.Now using a chalk & a ruler mark diamond pattern on both front & back panels for quilting.If you fancy you can try some other patterns too!!!!!
As this is a small project you can practise your quilting skills here!!!!!!!

Quilt on both the sides & trim what ever excess binding is there on the sides.Now you have two finished outer pieces of the tote.

Stack them together right sides facing each other & pin them.Sew on three sides & remember to back stitch the edges.

To give the bag its shape turn the shell inside out & fold the edge in such a way that the side & bottom seams match.Pin them up.Mark  4" on both sides & 1.5" in the centre.Join all the points in a curve & sew along the curve.

Repeat this for the other edge too ,the curved gusset gives the bag  a lovely shape like this

Now to add the magnetic snap follow my tutorial here.
Now the outer shell is ready .keep it aside & pick up the lining fabric.
Fuse the interface to the wrong sides of the lining but remember to fuse it 1/2" down the top edge.Again remember to keep the sewn edge on the top for both the sides.

Add pockets-For the pockets follow my tutorial on how to add 3 D pockets

Now sew the lining pieces & gusset it same as the outer piece.

To make the straps - Fuse the interfacing to wrong side of one of the strips.Take the other strip & pin it to the interfaced strip right side together.Sew the long side with 2  cm seam allowance.

Now flip over the non interfaced strip so that you get a sandwich of two strips with the interface in between.Run a stitch on the long side again.
Now fold both the strips inside around 3 cms,pin them & sew them .

Now the final assembly.
Pin the straps 2" from the seams to the outer shell.See that the straps are not twisted:)
Now put the lining inside the bag & now the beauty of using a skirt really stares you in the face!!!!!!!!
No folding in the edges or trying to turn the tote inside out!!!!!

All you have to do is pin them together & sew them:)
I love this...................back stitch the straps for durability & you are good to go:)

Feel free to make ,sell (not the pattern),just link it back here:)
And if you make it,PLEASSSSSSSSE send me pics:)
If you are on flickr add the pics to my flickr group here

Have fun:)


Puja Kokate

u crazy freak woman! u tore that! cud have passed it on to me!!! wud have certainly lost weight for it! :P anyways u can pass on the tote to me :)

Mrs. P

Came across your blog I love your pocket tutorials, I been wanting to make a quilted pretty girley diaper bag for me, and I been super intimidated. I like these roomy pockets thanks so much.


That's amazing! I've always wanted to do stuff like that, but I dn't really know how to sew well. I was a rebellious teenager, and refused to learn, but you make it look like fun!

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