MISSY IS GROWING UP FASTER THAN I EVER IMAGINED, AND LATELY SHE'S BEEN WANTING HER OWN BAG TO TAKE SHOPPING SO SHE CAN BE A GROWN UP TOO!
I wasn't keen on a bulky backpack, and the only ones I could find were covered in branding - so that just wasn't an option.
(Let's just say - my husbands in marketing and there ain't no way my daughter will ever be a walking advertisement - it's a pet hate, don't get me started... :)
And there was also no way known she was getting her own handbag at three... so, I decided to make her a tote.
And I'm absolutely stoked with how it turned out! I love understated style, and this little tote is just so sweet and simple - it's girly without being frou frou or over the top.
Missy's delighted with it too - especially when we went to the supermarket and they packed her juice and yogurt in there for her!
A tote like this is perfect for everyday outings and kindergarten as well as shopping, and if you can sew a reasonably straight line, you'll easily be able to sew this! And to make it even easier, I've done up a step by step tutorial :)
SIMPLE & PRETTY GIRL'S TOTE:
STEP ONE: This bag is suited best to simple cotton fabrics. I chose a calico with white bicycle prints and the striped accent fabric is just poplin.
STEP TWO: Decide how big you would like your bag to be and cut two pieces the same size. I made Missy's big enough to hold her favorite book.
Don't forget to leave room at the sides and bottom for seams, and leave plenty of room at the top for a wide double folded seam. Mine was roughly 35cm x 28cm.
STEP THREE: Put right sides of fabric together, press and pin.
STEP FOUR: Sew a basic seam around the sides and bottom, but leave the top. Zig zag or overlock seams to prevent fraying. Turn the bag right sides out and press again.
STEP FIVE: With right sides of the fabric facing out, turn and pin the top hem. I used a ruler to make sure both sides of the bag were equal in height. Turn the bag inside out again and press seams before sewing.
STEP SIX: Sew and top stitch the top hem.
I used what I was taught is a French Seam, but a quick Google search tells me apparently it's not. And apparently it has no name.
I just fold the fabric over and press it, as I would a normal hem, then I fold it over and press again - so the raw edge is encased. It gives a lovely neat finish.
STEP SEVEN: For the straps, just cut four strips of your accent fabric. Mine were 6.5cm and 50cm long.
STEP EIGHT: Pin them together, right sides facing, and press.
STEP NINE: Sew together with a straight stitch - my seams are a little wide as I was trying to line up the stripes evenly.
STEP TEN: Turn them inside out, press and top stitch.
STEP ELEVEN: Decide where you want your straps to sit, pin and trim them to size. Again, I measured with a ruler to make sure they were even.
Zigzag across the cut ends, and fold and press them under before attaching to the bag.
STEP TWELVE: Attach to your bag. It's a little hard to see, but I sewed a Z shape from the top corner of the strap to the bottom, then joined the ends - so all together with the top stitching from earlier, it looks like an X inside a square.
Repeat for the other bag handle, making sure you don't twist them.
STEP THIRTEEN: For the bows, cut four 6.5cm x 27cm strips.
STEP FOURTEEN: For three of the strips, turn the short edges over twice, then press, pin and sew.
STEP FIFTEEN: With right sides facing, turn each short end toward the middle, overlapping the seams you just sewed for a neat finish. Pin, press and sew down each long side.
STEP SIXTEEN: Turn the bows inside out and press again, then fold through the middle and pin into a bow shape as above. Cut the remaining strip into three.
STEP SEVENTEEN: Fold the three small strips lengthwise, right sides facing. Don't press, but pin and sew down the long side.
Turn right side out, and press with the seam running down the center.
STEP EIGHTEEN: Wrap a small strip around the middle of your bow from earlier and adjust until you like how it looks. Pin in place.
Sew a seam across the back of the bow to hold everything in place (straight across where the pin is placed above).
Trim the ends and zigzag or overlock to prevent fraying. Although that seam will be raw, its very small and won't show once the bows are attached to the bag.
STEP NINETEEN: Decide where you would like to position your bows - I put one on each side of the bag, aligning the middle of the bow with the middle of the right strap.
STEP TWENTY: Sew them on by hand, and you're done!
I also made two others for two other little girls that I'm pretty sure love shopping as much as Missy!
Please forgive my lack of ironing too :(
I made these bows a little smaller, and put two together which looks so sweet. I also love the plain calico (despite the crinkles - so sorry!). That dotty fabric is still available at Spotlight too.
And this one I made a little bit smaller, for a girl who's a bit younger - and that retro print is amazing up close!
In case you were wondering what I did with that missing third bow - this is it! I'd originally planned to put three bows on the bag, but it didn't look right, so I slipped a hair clip through the back, and voila!
I'm loving that it's placed under her bun - it makes the whole little girl plus big hair bow thing look fresh and modern - and the messier her hair, the better it looks which is great news for me lol!
So, there you go - it started as just a tote bag, but we managed a little hair fashion too :) I hope you liked this tutorial, and don't forget to let me know if you make one!
All the best,