Welcome to the Stow It All Tote Sew Along, with Ellen!
FEATURES: The Stow It All is the perfect sized tote for a day out shopping, with plenty of pockets to keep organised while you shop!
This spacious tote features 5 exterior slip pockets, 1 exterior twist lock pocket, a recessed zipper closure, an interior zipper pocket, two slip pockets and a pen pocket.
Of course the addition of a twist lock, rivets (optional), bag feet, rings and cute hooks on the straps makes this tote look so professional!
Approx. size: 41cm W X 31cm H X 11.5cm D.(16″ W X 12″ H x 4½” D.)
Over to you Ellen:
Well, look at us now, another month has flown by and here we are again. We are about to embark on another adventure into one of Christine’s designer bag patterns. The “Stow It All” tote, I hope you’re all as excited as I am. Welcome to the Facebook and Sew Along event enthusiasts, hosted by Marsha over in our Facebook Group , and a big Hello to all the Blog readers who just like to pop in and read the blog. Thanks Christine for having me back again, it’s a great honour for me, that you trust me with your patterns.
Please remember that these Tutorials are to used in conjunction with the pattern, I will refer back to the pattern at certain points, for instructions and clarification of measurements. I may do a couple of things different in construction and I may or may not add a structured A4 pocket inside for papers or small devices.
So ….what are you waiting for… let’s get started…loll
Here’s the schedule Marsha has organised for us but don’t worry if you can’t stick to it!
May 12 (Thursday)
Step 5: Make the Straps.
We’re also going to skip ahead to Step 9: Strap Tabs and set them aside for now.
May 13 – 15 (Friday – Sunday)
Step 6: Make the Exterior Slip Pockets A
Step 7: Flap
May 16 (Monday)
Step 9: Attach Strap Tabs
May 17 (Tuesday)
Step 10: Prepare to Install Bag Feet
May 18 (Wednesday)
Step 11: Assemble Outer Bag Body
May 19 (Thursday)
Step 12: Gussets
May 20 (Friday)
Step 13: Make Interior Zipper Pocket
May 21 (Saturday)
Step 14: Make Interior Slip Pockets B
Step 15: Zipper Closure & Zipper Tabs
May 22 (Sunday)
Step 16: Assemble Lining
May 23 & 24 (Monday – Tuesday)
Step 17: Assemble Your Bag
Finishing. Tidy up any loose thread ends and final pressing
May 25 & 26 (Wednesday – Thursday)
Take photos and upload to photo album
May 27 (Friday)
Photo Album closed.
Winners chosen and announced.
Please read the pattern over, as there is always important information in there that you will need at some point during the process, now we need to gather all your tools, the pattern, pick some fabric, and decide on placement of said fabric.
When you’re ready, cut out your pattern pieces in their respective fabric and interfacing, Soft and Stable or equivalent, Fleece and base stabilizer. Follow the pattern and fuse and prepare all the pieces, baste your stabilizer to the outer body, base and gussets.
I’m going to be doing the strap tabs a little different than the pattern. You may do it the original way or try mine, just read through the blog first and then decide what best suits you. For the original follow the instructions in the pattern.
Strap Tab option 2 preparation. Using the pattern piece, I’ve made a template of the centre area without seam allowance (see Pic). I’ve cut 4 pieces of heavy interfacing using the template, 4 pieces of the main outer using the normal pattern piece and 4 pieces of the lining using the pattern piece but only the top half. Yes, just the top half of the pattern piece, fuse all the fabric pieces with interfacing and fuse the stiffer interface to the wrong side of the outer main fabric pieces Only. Set aside for later.
Straps Prepare your straps as per pattern by pressing 10mm or 3/8” at either end and then fold in four and press, then open and enclose the fusible fleece, refold and press. Seam together by top stitching all around including the ends. Then, if you wish, do a few rows of top stitching spaced evenly across the strap. Repeat process on other strap. Grab your 4 hooks and thread each onto one end of the straps. Pulling through 3 cm or 1 ¼”, secure to your preference with one row, double stitched or a box. Then rivet, if you’re a rivet kind of person.
Exterior slip pockets … Grab one of your exterior and one of the lining pieces of the outer slip pocket A. With the right sides facing each other, line up one of the long sides together. This will become the top of the pocket, so check your directional fabric is correct. Seam across the top and then trim the top seam allowance, so it has a smooth edge. This will give you a nice smooth top edge of the pocket. Fold the lining up and press seam allowance towards lining, and then keep folding it over to the back encasing the seam allowance as the top band. Press and top stitch at the seam on the lining side. Repeat this complete process with the other slip pocket A exterior and lining.
Twist Lock… Now it’s time to choose which one of these pretties you want as the front pocket. Take the lucky one and prepare to attach the male side of the twist lock. Fold the lining back from underneath, find the centre line and position the back template centred at the 2” mark down from the bottom of the band. If you haven’t done a twist lock before than GO HERE to see how it’s done. Or follow the directions in the pattern. What I want to add to this is a good idea to put a large pin or similar item at the top of marks before cutting to stop the hole from being accidentally made too big( See pic).
Front Flap I’m jumping forward just a tad so I can do the other part of the lock. Retrieve your front flap and lining pieces. Again, I do this slightly different; press the seam allowance to the wrong side of both pieces at the top. Sew the other 3 seams, trim and turn and press. Top stitch only the 3 seamed sides the top side that is still open will be closed when sewn on to the front.
On your flap, follow the placement in the pattern to install the female part of the twist lock. This goes at the bottom top stitched edge.
Finish around the 2 exterior pocket by laying flat and evening out and baste the 3 open edges.
Follow the pattern to sew in your sectioned-off pockets. I did the front as per pattern, but the back I divided into 2 pockets.
Check the position of your flap by connecting the twist lock.
Follow the pattern directions for markings and placement. Secure in place and seam across. Then fold down and top stitch, encasing the previous seam allowance.
Fold up to check that you haven’t caught the top of the pocket.
Fold back down, do up the lock and check that it’s all sitting perfectly, adjust if necessary. Then set aside for now.
Strap Tabs – I’ve done my tabs a little different as previously stated. You may choose whichever way you feel more comfortable, but please read through mine before you decide, just in case I’m not explaining it very well and you find the original easier. I decided to do it this way as I found the other way hard to turn and get my bottom corners nice.
So, earlier in the pattern I gave instructions on how to cut and prep for this version of tabs. With the 4 outside tabs, during prep I pressed up to the wrong side the seam allowance, bottom only. Now take the four and position right sides together the 4 half pieces on top of the 4 full pieces. Matching tops and sides, seam them together. Now turn from the bottom of the half size pieces. It should look like this.
Now while pressing, turn in all seam allowances and fold the corners in twice as seen in pics to get a lovely corner.
Now repeat with others and flip them all over and give them a good press with a cloth.
Back to the pattern and mark your two lines and position your rings in place. Sew on the second line to secure in place.
Ok, grab your main body front and back and following the placement directions, position your tabs just above the pockets and 1 ½”or 3.8cm from the side raw edge on both sides and repeat on the other exterior. Seam around the edge, going over the original line and continuing around and at the end do a second line at the top 1/3” or 8mm above the first. Double stitch that line for stability if you wish. Set aside. I’m putting a metal bag label on shortly and will do rivets then.
Base and Bag Feet – Grab your base with foam already basted on and your plastic base stabilizer, already with rounded corners and using your pattern piece as a template mark the position of the feet. Make the holes with your normal method of doing this, I have a leather hole punch, which a great investment if you do this sort of bag making all the time. Remove the plastic base for now, but install your feet but without the backing washer. Funny story…. loll … I left my feet off for now and planned to put them on when replacing the plastic base. I forgot to put them on at all, and have closed the lining. … lucky I haven’t done a final press, I’ll have to open it up and install the feet and plastic base soon.
On to the Exterior bag Assembly, grab the front and base and line the base up along the bottom of the front. Seam together, reduce bulk as in the instructions and press seam allowance towards the base and top stitch on the base side of the seam. Repeat with the back exterior and base.
Before attaching the gusset, I’m going to install my metal handmade tag and rivets. Putting my Label in the centre from side to side, and about an inch above the pocket. Using backing plate, mark holes, using a large pin in place to stop them from being made too big. Make holes, dab of glue, insert label paying attention to its position. That it’s straight and centred. Turn it over and I like to put some extra stabilizer on now also before the backing plate. Scrape Peltex is good for that. More glue and then the backing plate, fold the prongs in and then I glue another cover over this to protect the lining from the prongs.
Rivets – I’ve used 6mm as I didn’t have enough of the 8mm. Make position in the centre between the two lines and mark position, make hole and insert rivet, click on the cap. To install the rivets correctly, you really need the correct setting tools. Like mine in the picture or a rivet press. It’s also best to have a really solid place to do this on, Most rivets that go wrong are caused by your surface bouncing or hitting it too many times, which can cause your rivet to move out of place. One good swift hit with the hammer and another shorter hit is all you need. Don’t forget the rivets on the straps as well.
Hardware done… Twist lock, check…Rivets check…. Strap rings check … Bag Label check … oh I always cover my Labels with some plastic wrap so they don’t get scratched.
Gussets – Retrieve gussets and following the pattern, mark the centre bottom of the gusset and base. Line up the tops of the front/back panels and gusset, and match centre marks at the bottom. Pin or clip down the sides and then ease in the base and curved gusset. Seam together; check inside that there are no puckers and that it’s sitting fine. I like to do a second row of stitching, close, but just on the outside of the first. Reduce the bulk in the seams and press towards the gusset.
Now if you’re an experienced little chicken or just really game, you can top stitch the gusset on the gusset side. Remembering that the second one will be harder to get to. This next pic was me doing the first.
Now repeat all of those steps on the other gusset.
Ok, outside is done, you can put in your bag feet and plastic base now. However I left mine until after turning…. and then promptly forgot.
Oh Golly Gosh ..I think this tutorial is getting a little lengthy. So I think I’ll end off now and meet you back here to do the interior tomorrow. Hooroo!!
Great work as always Ellen, thank you so much! 🙂
If you don’t have it already, you can grab the pattern for the Stow It All Tote HERE!
If you LOVE the Stow It All Tote but don’t sew?…Just pop along to our Buy and Sell Facebook group where you can find plenty of awesome people who do! 🙂 Sellers, you are most welcome to join us there too!
Until next time, happy sewing!