DIY Design: 7 Steps to Make Your Own Trendy Floral Tote
We have had an unusually mild winter in New York where I live, but that doesn’t make me any less excited to see the arrival of spring. The season always starts out hectic for me; planning a spring break vacation for a family of eight, packing, plane rides, and making sure I leave the Sistine chapel with all six of my putti, but once “vacation” is over I get all my kids back in school, I can begin enjoying the pleasures of spring.
I love to see the tulips spring up on the Park Avenue median, and I love to see daffodils in Central Park, but most of all, I love to see the spring fashions in the stores. The vibrant colors and prints, the lightweight fabrics, and the body baring designs are in such contrast to the heavy fabrics and colors of winter, that you can’t help but to feel liberated. I always look forward to getting a fresh new pair of espadrilles (comfortable and cute but they rarely last more than one season), and a stack of fresh white T-shirts (there isn’t a laundry product out there that can get a t as white as new). And to go along with those new espadrilles and whit T’s, nothing says spring like a bold, bright, floral print.
Even accessories are awash with the floral prints of spring. I actually don’t wear a lot of prints, so for me the easiest way to add a jolt of spring color to my wardrobe is with a bright printed accessory.
How about making a floral accessory of your own? To make this simple tote, you have to be able to sew, but only in a straight line. The pieces to make the bag are cut out on the bias because the edges are left raw, and the bias cut give the bag a nice controlled frayed edge. Give this project a try, and if you have any questions leave them in the comments section and I’ll try to help.
1 ½ yards heavy fabric
5 ½” x 13” piece of stiff cardboard
Making the Tote
1. Cut from the fabric
Four 1” x 24” strips for the handles
Two 20” x 20” squares, for the outer bag
Two 6” x 20” rectangles for the bag lining
2. To make the handles, place two of the 1” x 24” strips wrong sides together and topstitch 1/8 inch from the long edges.
3. On the wrong side of both lining pieces, use a pin to mark the center. Make a mark 3 ½” on either side of each center mark. Pin the handles in place so that their inside edges align with these outside marks.
4. With wrong sides together, pin each lining piece to a body piece and topstitch 1/8” from the edge of the top and bottom of the lining.
5. Pin the two bag pieces together with right sides facing and sew the sides and bottom using a ½” seam allowance, back-tacking where you start and end your stitching. Press the seam allowances open.
6. To create the floor of the bag, open on corner so it forms a triangle with the bottom and side seams lined up. Mark a spot 3” down from the end point and draw a line perpendicular to the seam. Sew along this line, back-tacking where you start and finish stitching, and trim ¼” above the stitch line. Repeat these steps on the opposite corner.
7. Turn the bag right side out and press the seams flat. Insert the cardboard floor. That’s it! Happy spring toting. (I’m not sure that’s a word.)
For more great DIY fashion projects check out my book, Handmade Chic: Fashionable Projects That Look High-End, Not Homespun