Tea Towel Tote Bag

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Bags are a great way to show off your patchwork and sewing skills to the outside world, and ensure that your hard work pays you back with admiring glances and comments! Make just one tote, or a couple to suit different looks or occasions. Great for confident beginners.
Dusky vintage shades are a great choice as they look better the more the fabric is used. Here the blues and pinks are sprinkled with white, cream and flashes of red – a true classic.

Designed by Cath Kidston.
- 140 x 70cm (1 1/2 yd x 27 1/2 in) spot print fabric
- 140 x 40cm (1 1/2 yd x 15 3/4 in) floral print fabric
- Stranded embroidery thread in red
- From spot print fabric: Seventeen 12cm (4¾ in) squares
- Two 52 x 32cm (20 1/2 x 12 1/2 in) lining panels
- One 42 x 12cm (16 1/2 x 4 3/4 in) lining base
- From floral print fabric: Seventeen 12cm (4 3/4 in) squares
- One 22 x 12cm (8 3/4 x 4 3/4 in) pocket
- Two 60 x 8cm (23 1/2 x 3 in) handle strips

Source: ,Amazon.com: Patch (9781849492645): Cath Kidston, Pia (Phot...

Step 1

Lay out the 30 squares that make up the main bag in a checkerboard pattern, in three horizontal rows of ten. Sew them together in vertical rows of three, with right sides facing.

Step 2

Press the seam allowances in opposite directions so that they will lie flat when the rows are joined. For each row with a spot square at the top and bottom, press the seams downwards and for each row with a floral square at the top and bottom, press the seams upwards.

Step 3

Join the rows together to make a long rectangle. With right sides facing, match the long edges so that the seams butt up against each other. Insert a pin at each seam line and at the top and bottom corners, then machine stitch.

Step 4

Press all the vertical seams open. Seam and press the two side edges to make a cylinder of patchwork. Press.

Step 5

Sew the remaining four squares together to make the base, alternating the spot and floral prints. Press the seams open.

Step 6

With right sides facing inwards, pin one long edge of the bag base to four squares along the bottom edge of the main bag, matching the open seams. Pin the other long edge to the opposite side of the bag, leaving the short edges open. Make a 5mm snip into the bottom of each corner seam to open out the allowance. Machine stitch these two seams, starting and finishing each line of stitching 1cm from the short edge and working a few backwards stitches to strengthen.

Step 7

Pin the short edges of the base to the bag and machine stitch. Work two more rounds of stitching over the first lines to reinforce the seam.
Using a thick crewel needle and three strands of red embroidery thread, work a line of running stitch, 5mm in from each side seam.
Neaten the top edge of the pocket with a narrow double hem. Press under a 1cm (1/2 in) turning along the other three sides. Pin the pocket to one lining panel, 6cm (2 1/2 in) down from the top edge and 11cm (4 1/4 in) in from the left side edge. Machine down in place, working a few extra stitches at the beginning and end of the seam.

Step 8

With right sides facing, join the two edges of the lining panels to make a cylinder. Press the seams open, then press back 15mm (5/8 in), turning around the top edge. Make a 6mm (1/4 in) snip into the seam allowance on the bag at each corner for the main bag. With right sides facing, pin on the lining base, lining up two opposite corners to the two seams. Sew in place with two rounds of stitching.

Step 9

Slip the lining inside the bag, matching up the base and two side edge seams. Pin together around the opening - the lining should sit about 5mm (1/8 in) down from the top edge of the bag. Machine stitch 3mm from the top edge of the lining.
Press each handle strip in half width ways and unfold. Press 1cm, turning each of the four edges, then re-press the center crease. Machine stitch 3mm (3/16 in) from each long edge. Tack the ends of the handles to the sides of the bag so that they lie 5cm (2 in) down from the top edge and overlap the side patchwork seams. Sew down with rectangles of reinforcing stitch.

Step 10

This tea towel tote bag pattern is excerpted with permission from "Patch!" by Cath Kidston, published by Quidriille Publishing.

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  • by txpuddleduck2
    User profile

    On Step 7: what is the word Neaten & what does it mean?

  • by ameliemiller17
    User profile

    I love bags, so I will try this.. Thanks for the tips and these procedures.. Hopefully I could make it perfectly! xoxo :)