DIY Ruffle and daisy denim chambray tote bag tutorial

I can’t resist a ruffle and what better way to pimp a tote than with a ruffle…and daisies!

Here are the instructions so you can make your own.

You can use any cotton fabric but remember the heavier weight the fabric, the thicker the ruffles will be and it will make it harder to sew through the layers, but if you have a hardy machine you will be fine!

I used:

Cotton Denim Chambray £4.50 per half metre

Daisy trim £4.85 per metre

Iron-on interfacing – Light £2.95 per half metre

Cut the following:

Main bag cut two 16″ x 16″

Straps cut two 3″ x 30″

Ruffle cut one 6″ x 80″ (you might have to cut this from shorter pieces and stitch together to get the length you need. I cut two 6″ x 40″ ad stitched them together.

Interface the straps and press the long edges in by 1/4″ 

Fold in half and topstitch down either side of the strap a few millimeters away from the edge.

The ends are left raw as they will be encased in the bag hem in the next step.

Fold the top hem of each main bag piece by 1cm then again by 1″ and press.

Tuck the raw ends of the bag straps under this hem, 3″ away from the edge of the bag on either side and topstitch in place along the top of the bag and also a few mm away from the folded edge.

You will now have a front and back piece with nice neat handles stitched into the hem!

Let’s make our ruffle!

Fold the length of ruffle fabric in half and stitch down the short ends, turn them through and press.

 

Do two rows of gathering stitch 0.5cm away from each other along the open side of the ruffle and start to gather.

Pull and gather the ruffles until they fit the main tote. I started my ruffle just under the hem of the tote.

Pin in place and stay stitch 1cm from the edge.

Now we are going to make a chambray sandwich!

Take the other tote bag piece and lay it on top of the side with the ruffle, right sides facing. Pin, and stitch in place 1.5cm away from the edge making trapping your ruffle neatly inside!

Turn your bag through and check you haven’t got any bits if ruffle trapped and remove any visible gathering stitches. Give it a press.

I then stitched on these pretty daisies randomly on one side of the tote for extra cuteness!

I love this bag and can see myself making some more…gingham would be gorgeous!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

Debbie x

Costa Tote

Handy Tote!

This month I thought I’d give my wardrobe a break and make the Helen’s Closet Costa Tote. This is a pattern she released recently which you can get for free if you sign up to her newsletter. It is a lined, reversible tote bag with large pockets and shoulder straps, and there’s nothing I like more than a big bag to hold all my ‘essentials’, you know, purse, phone, wet wipes, kids toys, emergency snacks! 

I thought I’d use this beautiful cotton denim chambray  for the outside and line it with a bright rainbow triangles cotton. Then I had the idea to embellish the pockets with a bit of embroidery because, well, why not??!! 
 
When I received my fabric I couldn’t believe how soft they both were. I don’t think I’ve ever worked with chambray before but, oh my goodness, I’ll definitely be using it again! It’s sooooo smooth and buttery to touch and drapes wonderfully. I can see a button down shirt dress in this! And the triangles cotton was also beautiful, I just loved the colours and could see this as a Kalle shirt!
Anyhoo, it wasn’t long before the fabric was cut out and I was thinking about starting my embroidery. I chose colours to compliment the lining and took inspiration from an image I’d seen on Pinterest, but mostly doodled my own design. 
 
I wasn’t sure how to transfer my design onto the fabric. I thought a fabric pencil wouldn’t give me a crisp enough line and I didn’t have any transfer paper to hand. I’m sure there are lots of ways to do it but I went with a plain old biro! I embroidered outside of the lines so you can’t see them.
 
See that little yellow button below? Well I decided I didn’t like it so I unpicked it and used a different technique.
 
I think I need to clarify here that I am clearly not an expert in hand embroidery! That’s plain to see! It’s not as neat as I’d like but I wasn’t going to rip it all out and start again! The whole piece took me a couple of evenings to complete and once that was done I could start constructing the bag. 
 

The instructions are brilliant, just what you’d expect from Helen’s Closet. I tweaked my bag slightly as I decided to line the pockets to protect the back of the embroidery. I also put a small pocket on the inside. It all came together in a  couple of hours and is a really sturdy bag, deep with good sized pockets, and what seamstress doesn’t like a pocket, right??!! I’ve already used it loads and think I’ll be making a few more of these as gifts.