Finishing Old Projects – Lining Beach Totes

Isn’t it always true that we have a project laying around that needs to be finished. Oh I have lots of them. I get started on one thing and the next thing you know, I am pushing it aside and moving to something new. Well heck look at my blog, I’ve been posting a bunch of stuff lately.

Being bored and not wanting to watch tv with my spouse, I finally got up off the couch and wondered what to do. I couldn’t make any more of those pouches/bags from the other days because I need more batting and interfacing. Tomorrow a trip to JoAnn’s, they have interfacing on sale, plus a few other items.

I was going through my treasures last week and remembered the beach totes. I am planning on setting them up for sale and I better get them done. They only need to have the lining and handles put on. Shouldn’t take long. Remember – “shouldn’t”!

I look for that dang plastic container I put them in and almost ditched the idea, but I stuck to my guns. 3 containers later, found! I had started these totes a bit ago and they will definitely make great beach totes or even weekend traveler totes. These are comparatively small, in my eyes, as I’ve made even bigger ones.

So lets get to the lining. No matter what type of fabric purse or tote I make, I like to have pockets in them. Planning on just putting two on either side of the tote. These pockets are generic and easy. I don’t know if I have posted construction of pockets in the past, but I am going to anyways do it again. I will be posting another one in the near future as I have one more lining to complete and I want to cover how I do pockets in that one.

I cut my fabric for the lining 21 x 34. I don’t plan to have a seam at the bottom, just a box end. I cut a piece of fabric that was 9 inches in length, 44 width. I then cut the fabric in two. I folded them in half. Before doing anything else, I ironed and used some craft interfacing on one side of the pockets. To the sewing machine. I sewed the side and top of the pocket. Cutting the corners carefully, turning right side out, pinning, then ironing. The reason I pinned after the sewing, I want to make sure my seams are clean. I then quickly sew two lines of top stitch. Now ready to place on the lining.

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I find my middle on the lining fabric.  I then have to figure where the placement of the pocket will be. When I do my bags/totes I take and fold over the main fabric into the inside to give it a more clean finish. There is about 3 inches. I don’t want to go down too far, but then again, I don’t want it to be too high. I figured I will go 4 inches down from the raw edge of the top of the lining.I am figuring I have 6-7 inches from the top of the pocket and the height of the bag is around 17, the height of the pocket is 8, figuring the top seam and the bottom, so thats perfect. Hope I haven’t lost you yet, but if your a sewer you can visual.

Laying my ruler on the raw edge of the fabric, in the middle, I then place the pocket in line with the ruler. I still have that raw edge on the bottom of the pocket that I didn’t stitch up because I always like to take 1/2 inch and fold it up. What I do is I take that “1/2 tail” and sew it on the lining to form the bottom of the pocket, I previously ironed that edge. That closes up the pocket and keeps it straight. First I did a straight stitch, following behind that I then stitched a stitched zig-zag stitch. Now the pocket is secure to the lining.

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Now you fold the bottom of the pocket up pin on the top and bottom of each side of the pocket. When ready to sew, sew from the bottom to the top to ensure that it lays flat and there is no little gathering from extra fabric sewing from the top to the bottom. I used a two top stitches on both sides of the pocket. Eyeball the distance from the sides of the pockets. I can’t give you my dimensions because all machines are different.

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Here you see the top of the pocket with two lines of top stitching, the folded bottom and then the top stitching on the left side. Usually when I make pockets, I like to have the top of the pocket seamless and the bottom of the pocket <raw edge> turned over. The only noticeable seams would be on each side. I was not thinking when I cut the fabric. I like my purses to have clean edges. It looks more professional. Oh well I’m not perfect.

Now when I cut my lining I cut it to the width of the bag. the height was the whole length of the fabric, so I cut off some of the top because I was not planning on making a bottom seam in the lining. Does that create a problem when sewing the lining to the bag? No. But now I am ready to stitch both side seams and create my box side. Since the bags or totes have been sitting, I wasn’t sure what size the box corner was, so I merely measured the tote. It was 5 inches for depth. I ironed my lining to make sure I had a line to line up my side seam to the bottom crease (fake seam). Taking a ruler, I measured 5 inches from side to side and then marked with a marker that eventually disappears. Then I stitched down the line using a stretch stitch because it stitches the seam with 3 threads. This will hold the seam well. I then also did a stitched zig-zag next to the seam. I just have a thing about making sure particular seams are sewn securely.

Yes, I could have folded the seam in the middle however I didn’t. I have no reason to give. I then cut the extra fabric from the corner. Then I placed both pieces together. The outside of the tote to the inside of the lining (pockets to the main fabric). Stitched the top, leaving enough room to turn. The open area of the lining to main fabric, I stitched closely together and did not hand stitch closed, my preference as long as I do it closely and its not noticeable. I then measured the main fabric around the top, giving the dimension I want for the main fabric to be inside the tote. Ironed the top to from a crease, then did two top stitches. Ready to put the straps on. I didn’t measure how long the straps were. I had them pre-cut when I first started these 3 tote bags.

NOTE: Did you know when using binding trim for handles on tote bags, you use a lighter to melt the fibers together so they don’t fray. This is for the strapping trim that is not cotton!  And if you are ironing out creases make sure you use the lowest setting on your iron. Dang stuff melts to your iron, yeah I did it.

When I put the straps on I measured 4 inches from the side seams. I eyeballed how far I wanted them to be from the top of the tote. I had 3 tote bags to do. As I grabbed the green striped one, to check where I had calculated placement of the straps, I looked and again – – SURPRISE – it was already lined. Now why couldn’t the blue and white striped one have been done too. I would have had only the white and yellow stripe to do. Always something. So here are the two finished beach tote bags (the green one just needed straps, go figure). And these totes were ironed nicely, prior to putting on the straps, who’d of thunk they would get all wrinkled after I put them on. I was tired and just wanted to get snaps of them both. You will see the yellow one is a longer tote, so more room to stuff more stuff! I like both of them. When I do the blue one.. I’ll do the lining similar to the green one and post it. The green one actually has a zipper pocket, omg how did I do that – I HATE ZIPPERS!

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