Ease Into The Summer (Tote) With A Video Demonstration

Lazies, A video demonstration of our Summer Tote bag pattern (LGD122) is now airing at www.KayeWoodTV.com. For a quick reference, I keep a page at my website with links to all of the videos that are playing.

Summer Tote shown in beautiful fabrics by Laurel Burch. Yum!

Fused Quilter’s Canvas
I tried something new with the Summer Tote. Actually, I always try to include a special feature or technique in my designs. For Summer, I made ‘canvas’ from the fabrics by fusing two layers together. The end result is a thin two-sided fabric with strength, stability and a nice drape. And it feels as good as it looks.

Start Big And Trim
I begin with fabric larger than I need, fuse two layers together, then trim just a bit to ensure that the fabrics are fused all the way to the edges. That means the fabric won’t fray and is essentially ‘finished’ on the cut edges. Pretty cool.

Easy Construction
Because of the way this fused quilter’s canvas behaves at the cut edges, there is no need to further finish the cut pieces, and that affects the construction of the bag.

All of this makes the Summer Tote lightweight, thin rather than bulky, durable and functional.

The front and back of the bag are the two main walls of the project. The pockets and handles are attached to these walls, then the walls of the bag meet at the zipper with an easy installation, and the side and bottom seams for a simple and quick construction.

Summer Tote Features

Featuring a zippered top, inside pockets and outside pockets, I designed the Summer Tote to be a work horse. The back pocket is taller than the front, and it’s set-up to hold a file folder or magazine, pens/pencils and keep your cell phone or other necessity handy. The shorter front band of pockets is ideal for lots of little things.

Each part of the Summer Tote project can be cut from a fat quarter of fabric. In fact, I did a whole post about working with fat quarter bundles and how to use them with the Summer Tote here.

Because the construction is designed to work with fabrics that don’t need to be finished on the edges or are sturdy on their own, consider using ultra suede, pre-quilted cottons, upholstery weight fabrics or other vinyl/leather like materials.

Be mindful of the fabrics you choose for pockets and handles, making sure they don’t add too much bulk to the construction at the side seams. Or leave the pockets off altogether to showcase a specialty material.

Big, Bold Prints
Summer is ideal for using big, bold coordinating prints. I used only two fabrics to make the Asian inspired Summer Tote featured here.

I like working with Steam-A-Seam 2 fusible web for this project. Any products marked ‘lite’ are probably too light. Anything marked ‘heavy’ is going to be too much and probably difficult to sew through later in the project. One of the nice features of Steam-A-Seam 2 is that both sides of the fusible web is a bit sticky or tacky. That helps in positioning the fusible between the layers of fabric.

Pattern Details
For more information, view the back of the Summer Tote pattern here.


[tags]zippered tote, tote bag pattern, sewing pattern[/tags]

Leave a Lazy Comment

11 Responses to “Ease Into The Summer (Tote) With A Video Demonstration”

  1. Kim Jones — May 26, 2008 @ 11:49 am

    Hi! The self made canvas looks like a great idea. I would like to know how this bag survives a washing. The two cottons fused and shrinking. Or, did you pre-wash before fusing? If you did, what happens after washing.

    I ALWAYS think of what washing would do in my planning of a project. I don’t like to think of all that creativity coming out in a wad after washing. You know if you give as a gift or sell to someone your creation, it will eventually hit the machine!

  2. Joan Hawley — May 26, 2008 @ 12:18 pm

    Hi Kim,

    This is a great question. Always check the recommendations from the fusible’s manufacturer with regard to washing. And you might consider testing a small swatch to see how it actually holds up.

    In my experience, fusibles bond better with fabrics that have been washed. However, they hold very well to unwashed fabrics, too.

    If you expect that the bag will be washed at some point, it’s a good idea to pre-wash the fabrics before you start. And consider spraying or treating the bag with some sort of fabric protectant.

    I don’t wash my fabrics ahead of time, and i don’t wash my bags. When my bag starts to look like it needs washing, I make a new one. By then, I want a new look anyway.


  3. Sue B. — May 26, 2008 @ 12:37 pm

    A video…what PERFECT timing!!! I just ordered this pattern through Clotilde’s.

    Actually, the reason why I bought the patterns for the Chelsea Tote and Gracie Handbag, was because you made them look so much fun to do. So, after the Summer Tote, I’ll do the Miranda Day Bag. Have a video made for that one yet? LOL

  4. Penny — May 26, 2008 @ 1:39 pm

    Joan, I had put off making this one until recently and I just loved how it all went together so easy or should I say Lazy! Then I took her on a picnic to the Koi Pond and she just had sooo much fun. I have not road tested her yet, I am saving her for a Martha Pullen school in July. You can see her at this link. http://www.cottonvault.com/index.asp?PageAction=Custom&ID=6 Thanks so much for the video! Enjoy your Memorial Day.

    Penny D

  5. Alice O'Geary — May 26, 2008 @ 5:12 pm

    Love your site! All of your tips and ideas are great. I just finished watching the video for “Ease Into the Summer” Tote and can hardly wait to get started. Thanks!

  6. Lee Main — May 26, 2008 @ 10:19 pm

    The video was great but I was disappointed that you did not finish the bag and show how to finish up the zipper with the pulls and how to sew the side and bottom seams. Some of us have not made purses beforeand this would have been very helpful.

  7. Joan Hawley — May 27, 2008 @ 3:46 pm

    Hi Lee,

    There just isn’t enough time in the video to show everything. However, each of the steps you didn’t see on the video are outlined in the pattern.


  8. Michele — May 29, 2008 @ 2:44 pm

    Hi Joan,

    I just had a chance to watch the video at lunch today. It’s a great one. I was intrigued by your zipper foot, as it looked similar to a foot I had for my machine that I didn’t know what it was for. Well, turns out I have two zipper feet, one the old traditional one-side plastic kind, and one like yours. I must give the other one a try and see if I have better luck with it.

    Take care,
    Quilting Gallery

  9. conishkee — April 21, 2009 @ 3:36 pm

    I love the summer tote and have already made one — actually I’ve made two. The first one I made I put the zipper on completely upside down and haven’t attempted to make another one until recently. (I’m very intimidated when it comes to zippers in general.) However, my downfall with the second one was, although I got the zipper on correct, when I attempted to open and close it after it was completely finished, the zipper part detached itself from the fabric part of the bag and I have no idea how to fix it. Therefore, I don’t know if I want to make another summer tote. It’s beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but I keep screwing it up. My only criticism of the bag is, I wish it had an inside lining.

  10. julie — October 20, 2010 @ 2:50 pm

    Hi, Do you have any stockist for your patterns in the UK? or anywhere that will sell them as files that can be emailed or downloaded instead of paying postage for paper patterns? Oh and the Laurel Burch fabric you used for the summer tote is discontinued and very hard to find now – gutted!!!