Spoonflower’s new Lightweight Cotton Twill is an absolute dream to work with. The weight is the perfect go-to for a multitude of projects, especially totes! The combination of this easy to work with material and its tough weave will ensure that you’ll end up with something that will not just look amazing, but wear well. In this tutorial, Gia from the blog Sew Gratitude will to take you through a simple “hack” using the Lightweight Cotton Twill and an Everyday Tote project from Sprout Patterns. Each Everyday Tote is printed to order on a full length of twill. Which means once you cut out and prep your tote you’ll have a HEALTHY chunk of fabric leftover to work with, almost 400 square inches worth! It’s an amazing deal to have the leftovers to coordinate. Without further ado, let’s jump into the how-to!
Gia: I’ll show you how to take an Everyday Tote project and add a secure zippered top as well as expandable inside pockets, making it the perfect Diaper or Toddler bag! Since the fabric is light and wears easily, you can actually toss the whole thing in the wash whenever it needs a good clean, too.
For this project, you’ll need the following items:
- Your Everyday Tote project from Sprout. Shop the exact one we’re using here.
- one 14 inch coordinating zipper (or longer, you can shorten it if need be!)
- a disappearing marking pen (I am using a Frixon marker)
- a grid ruler
- a rotary cutter
Prep your fabric
To begin, always wash your Sprout panel first. The same would go for any fabric chunk you’d get from Spoonflower. The printing process leaves very little mess, but I have learned the hard way some darker colours will migrate when you iron seams. So once you have your panel washed and dried (I lay mine flat to air dry, but a low heat tumble dry should be safe), iron it all flat.
Cut out your bag carefully. Make sure you don’t cut into the piece there on the right, we’ll be using that. I call it the ‘extra chunk’.
When you designed your bag, you had several options for prints. In my case? My extra chunk is the all same print. Don’t worry if yours isn’t! In fact, you’ll just have more choices to play with.
FOR THE POCKETS
Once your bag is cut out we’ll tackle the pockets. We’ll be adding a series of pockets inside to hold things like bottles and diapers, or whatever else you’ll need to organize in there. Interface your bag with the interfacing of your choice, I always use SF101.
NOTE: When cutting these pieces out, keep in mind that you’ll also be cutting the zipper panels out from the same chunk. I cut the zipper panels out along one short edge first, and then cut the long pocket strips out of the remaining.
From the extra chunk, cut the following:
2 – 6 by 16.5 inch panels
Along the long top edges of both your panels, turn over and press 1/2 an inch and then tuck this up again and topstitch, creating a 1/4 inch finished hem.
Then press the bottom edge up ¼ of an inch, but do not hem.
We’ll now press the pockets into cargo pouches! This is a little tricky, so make sure you refer back to the pictures if you get confused.
With your grid ruler and starting from the right hand side of one short edge, draw lines at the following marks:
and then again .25 from the opposite edge
Fold and press the lines as shown in this image. You should have two identical strips.
Once both strips are pressed, we’ll sew them into the bag. We will be working with the INSIDE bag panel piece.
Laying the bag panel flat, align the bottom edges of the pressed pockets to the bottom edges of the large square bag panels (not along the piece in the middle, that is the flat bottom of the bag). The long edge with the finished hem with go towards the top of the bag panels. Each strip will be exactly long enough to fit inside the bag (not including the side edges). The cargo pockets will be on opposite sides from each other so that they don’t expand into each other.
Pin carefully and sew along the sides and the bottom about 1/8 an inch from the edges. Then, stitch up along the pocket pieces about 1/4 inch from the inside folds, as shown.
You’ll now have two large cargo pockets and two large flat pockets.
FOR THE ZIPPER TOP
Although it looks tricky, adding the zipper top is really fairly simple! If you already have some experience with zippers, this should be pretty straight forward, if not? Don’t worry! I’ll talk you through it.
From the extra chunk, cut the following:
4 – 11 by 3 inch panels
From your interfacing, cut:
4 – 10 by 2 inch panels
Start by fusing your interfacing to your pieces, centering them in the zipper panel pieces, this will reduce bulk in the seam allowances.
Now, fold over a .5 inch seam allowance on both short sides and one long side of your panel.
To sew in the zipper, open it up all the way and mark a line about an inch down from the metal tooth. We’re going to sandwich this between the two raw long ends of the zipper panels with the right sides together, aligning the edge of the zipper with the edge of the fabric.
Making sure the panels line up, PIN PIN PIN. Sew the zipper in place using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Starting at the top, sew across one short end and then down the length of the zipper. I use a quilting foot, you can use whatever is easiest for you. The bottom end of the zipper will hang out long, this is exactly what we want to be able to open the bag up wide.
Trim the corner carefully and flip the panel right side out.
Iron everything smooth and pin the panels together. Now, carefully sew the panels together top stitching about a 1/8 inch, all around the panels.
Matching the panels up, repeat these steps to the other side of the zipper. You should have something that looks like this.
We will be sewing this to the INSIDE bag panel piece, which would be the same piece you’ve sewn the pockets into.
Find the center of the long sides of the zipper panel and mark.
Mark the center of each bag panel and then measure down about 2 inches from the TOP of the inside of your bag and draw a line. Carefully align one long end of the folded zipper panel along this line, matching the center. Pin in place. Make sure the zipper pull is facing the top (opening) of the bag panel. Sew the long edge of a zipper panel to the bag panel along the top stitching, back tacking the ends to keep them secure.
Repeat for the other side. You’ll have to sort of flip it over backwards on your machine, but it’s not as hard as it looks!
Now, just finish up the bag following the directions supplied from Sprout!
There you go! Looking for more kid-friendly DIYs? Check out this super-cute and quick-to-sew baby bandana bib.
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