We here at Bags of Love HQ love a bit of arts and crafts. We love to scour blogs and websites and seek out exciting tutorials and DIY and crafty posts, so we can have a go at getting creative ourselves!
We like them so much, that we decided to have a go at creating our own tutorial, and when we quizzed the office as to what we should make, the majority thought a bag would be just lovely.
So we decided to have a go at creating a tote bag – classic, stylish and perfect for customising. We couldn’t wait to get started.
Ta da! Here is one we made earlier! The finished result was just fabulous and the bag is currently holding centre stage in our office.
So, now that you can see how lovely the bag is, do you fancy having a go at making one? Let’s get started! Here is how to create your very own Bags of Love personalised tote bag.
First of all you need your fabric. We have a rather large and lovely collection of fabric at Bags of Love, which can be personalised and customised by you! If you fancy having a look round our digitally printed fabrics page, just click here and we’ll send you over.
Once your fabric has been chosen and customised to your specifications (or you could just use any old fabric you like really!) You need to get cutting with a good pair of fabric scissors. You need a few pieces to make the tote bag and below, we have outlined exactly what you need, including the sizes to cut them to.
If you would like to download the PSD template of the pattern you need, then click here and we’ll download it for you.
We chose to use our Suede Vision fabric for our bag, as it is really soft yet sturdy and colours look great on it, but you can chose any fabric you want. Experiment a bit and go for a Canvas, Towelling, Velour or Jersey – the choice is up to you! You can even use a contrasting lining for the inside of the bag to really make a statement.
Now that your design is done and your fabric is cut up nicely as shown above, it’s time to start creating your customised bag!
Take the two pieces you want to use for the front and line them up, one on top of the other. Now flip the top piece and lay it down flat over the other piece, leaving a 1cm bleed space at the bottom. The two designs need to be face to face.
Now you need to stitch the two pieces together, 1cm from the top.
We have some very talented artisans and seamstresses here at Bags of Love, and here is a professional trick from them – after stitching the two pieces together, flip them open and holding the opening down with your fingers, iron it flat (minding your fingers of course – we don’t want any burnt fingers out there!)
Now repeat these 2 steps with the back of the bag – stitch together, flip open and iron them flat. This will make your seams even and will give the bag a very neat finish.
STEPS 6 & 7.
We now need to prepare the contrasting stripes, which will decorate the middle of the bag.
To make things a bit easier, we used double sided sticky tape to stick down the edges of the fabric (fold about half a cm), to make things neater and more even.
When you are ready with your stripes, position your first one on the left hand side of the front of the bag and fold 1cm underneath and stick it in place with a needle – this will make stitching easier.
Make sure that you place the two stripes at the same height on both sides (the front and back) of the bag – you don’t want it to look wonky! That way they will match when the front and back are stitched together, and your bag will look seamless (excuse terrible sewing related pun!)
Once you are sure the stripes are in the perfect place, front and back, stitch them to the front and back of the bag.
Onto the monogram patch. Like we did with the white stripes (the pieces of material, not the band) use double sided sticky tape to create a neat edge.
Once your monogram badge is ready, choose a place you want it to go and stitch it on! We chose to put us on the front right hand side in the middle of the contrasting stripe, as, we thought, it gave it a really strong look.
It’s now time to start putting our tote bag together.
Place the two pieces (front and back) together, with the design sides facing each other.
As before, fold the material a half cm and use a needle to hold it, for easier stitching (this is purely to make the stitching a bit easier and isn’t a compulsory step, just something our Barbara likes to do!)
Now you can stitch together the front and back of the bag, on the left and right hand side (with the design sides facing each other).
Before you go ahead and stitch the bottom of the bag, iron the inside to make it look beautiful and pressed on the outside.
Now you can stitch the bottom of the bag!
Next, we need to create a nice base for the tote bag, so that it could almost stand up by itself (depending on which material you choose). This will also give it a sturdier and more professional overall look.
So, flatten the bottom corner of the bag on both sides (about 5cm). To make the bag stand, you need to stitch the two bottom corners
Now you can revert the bag…and get ready for the wow factor! You should now have a gorgeous looking (almost) finished tote bag, all beautifully stitched and looking seamless.
We’re now going to create the lining for your tote bag.
Similar to how we created the front and back of the bag, place one of the lining halves over the other and stitch both sides together.
When you have finished stitching, iron them and then stitch the bottom.
Remember how we made the base of the bag slightly more sturdy, so it had more of a base? We need to do the same for the lining, so, flatten the bottom corner of the lining (again, around 5cm), fold it and stitch it.
We’re now going to create the handles for our bag.
Simply fold the sides (again about half a cm) and iron and then stitch together.
Next we need to attach the handles to the tote bag. Place the end 2cm of the handles into the tote bag (as central as you can) and pin them in place. This will be where they will be stitched later on (inside the bag).
Now we need to insert and secure the lining of the bag to the inside of the bag.
Invert the lining.
Place the outside of the tote bag INTO the lining.
Next, stitch the lining (which is now on the outside) to the top of the outside of the bag (which is now on the inside). Leave the small area between the handles open. We will need this open later to revert the bag.
Revert the bag.
You now need to stitch the very top of the bag, closing the remaining opening.
You now need to do a final top stitch 2cm under the first one, this will secure the handles in place.
And voilà! Your tote bag is finished!
You should now have a beautiful, handmade tote bag, completely created by you.
We loved creating this tutorial and we hope that you enjoy using it to make your very own customised tote bag. We would love to see pictures of your finished results, so pop pictures below in the comments or Tweet us at @BagsofloveUk or post on our Facebook page to show us how you have gotten on! If you have any comments or are unclear of any of the steps, just pop your query below and we’ll get back to you right away.
We will be putting up more tutorials, and if there is anything in particular that you would love to learn to make, let us know!
Bags of Love x
p.s. here is a little picture of our beautiful Adina rocking the tote bag! She loves it so much, it was a bit of a mission getting it back from her!