Sunday, May 15, 2016

35 Tote Bags, Book Bags...Done! For the kids!

Last year I volunteered to make little tote/book bags for the kids at my church's Daily Vacation Bible School session. I created this style and figured it all out and I whipped up 30 bags in no time! The kids loved them, the teachers were happy to have something for the kids to take things back and forth with and the totes just worked out so perfectly... I decided to do it again the next year! So, with money being very tight, since last summer, I have been frequenting my local thrift store and watching for fabrics to make them again this year. I finished 35 bags for the kids this year!

The bags are 12x12 inches with double 22 inch handles with crayon/pencil slots on the front and a poly/cotton lining.  I use baby receiving blankets for the backing of the front to help stability of the crayon/pencil slots.  I swear by the "assembly line" method. Cut all of each thing at one sitting. Then sew the front and crayon slots and sew to the back of all 35. Then sew all 35 linings together, Then sew the 70  handles. Then press everything. Then assemble pieces for each bag and sew the bag together...handle to the front and back, then the lining. Pull bag through the lining, sew bottom open in the lining shut and push the lining into the bag, press and sew 1/2 inch from the top all around the top to hold it all together and ..YOU ARE DONE!!!!

I used my faithful 12,1/2 inch x 12,1/2 inch template and rotary cutter and collected fabric and one day... just sat and cut 35 sets of fronts and backs. Then got out my stash of poly/cotton and cut out 35 sets of the lining. I cut out 35 single pieces of the baby receiving blankets....all 12,1/2 x 12,1/2 inches. I took my also faithful 3,1/2 inch by 22 inch template and cut 2 strips for the handles.

For the fabric I used:   I spent this year collecting fabrics and the receiving blankets at my local thrift store. I"d get the blankets for 79 cents or 2/$.99. I can get 2 bags out of one blanket and sometimes 3, if the blanket is a bit larger. I found some near new sheets - Disney and Mickey Mouse. I found some near new curtains of Minnie Mouse and Mutent Ninja Turtles and some pillow case (Cars). With the pillowcases and sheets, I chose the image and placed the template over it to get just that specific image and cut it out so the image was on the front of the tote bag.  I also went through my stash and found a few fat quarters I used that. I tried to make 10 boys theme, 10 girls theme and 10 neutral...and added 5 of whatever theme. I just wanted to make to satisfy all!  If you would like better or more specific instructions or have a question...leave me a comment and I'll get back to you. Wednesday is 25% off day at the thrift store so I will start collecting for next year!!

 I cut 35 slot pieces...using the 12,1/2x12,1/2 template on a single fabric, I cut 12,1/2 x 10 inch piece and then folded it in half and positioned it on the bottom half of the bag front, folded edge going up, raw edge included in the bottom seam.

For the bag:     I placed a receiving blanket piece down, then the front, then the crayon slot piece. Using my sewing machine quilt measure attachment, I sewed straight lines from the top to the bottom and measuring 1 inch over each time, made 9-10 slots. Then sew the front to the back, matching right sides and leaving the top open.
For the lining:  I sewed the two pieces together, leaving top open and an opening in the bottom for turning right side out later


For the handles:   I took each strip and folded it in half and just sewed the side seam and turned right side out. This little life saving tool was my best friend! I turned those handles inside out in minutes! No more pushing with scissors or other pokey stick...just push through, pull out! I turned 70 units literally in about 2 minutes. Can't praise this enough! And for cutting the handles, I used this template...just so quick and easy for turning the handles. And... this is the ruler I use for cutting the handles. Again, quick and easy and they are all the same size. 

If you don't believe me on this Quick Turn Tool... check out my You Tube video about it! I swear, I love turning handles now!!!

A couple more designs. Frozen and the black one is glow in the dark star constellations! And from Cars...Tater is the back of Lightening McQueen above.

Thanks for stopping by and...keep on sewing those memories!

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