Compliments of Craft At Home ~ craftathome.com
Most of us have a few odd place mats laying around the house, that are just too pretty to toss away. Here is a fabulous idea for using up a couple of those mismatched place mats. Do you have a doily that has a teeny hole, or a stubborn stain that you just can't get rid of? Here's the perfect place to give it a new life.I have had so many requests for a tote pattern. I thought that this style of tote would be the perfect place for a beginner to start. You don't need a sewing machine to complete this project, but I do recommend it. However, If you love hand sewing, you won't have any trouble whipping up this little pretty!
2 Place mats of choice [they don't need to be the same pattern, just the same size]
2.5 Yards Cotton Heavy Weight Twill
Thread [matching fabric color]
Sewing Machine [optional]
Doily of choice
First decide which side of the place mat you would like to be the front and back of your tote. Once you have decided, lay your two place mats flat with the right side [front and back] up. Cut your 2.5 yard piece of twill in half. From the bottom center of your place mat, measure about 3 inches to each side and place the cut end of your twill even with the place mat edge. Pin your twill running up the place mat, loop for the handle and back down to the place mat edge. Repeat this for the other place mat. Top stitch the twill in place at each side going across the top to secure the handle in place.
With right sides together [side with your handles], pin the sides and bottom edges together. Sew place mats together either following the original seam in the place mat or use 1/2 inch seam allowance. Press your seams open.
To add a doily or linen piece, you need to create a finished top edge on your doily. Along the cut edge of your doily, fold under 1/4 inch and press in place. Now, fold over another 1/4 inch to create an edge with no raw edges. Press firmly in place. Pin your doily to the top front of your tote, making sure that the pressed edge of your doily and the top edge of the tote meet. Sew a top stitch around the entire top of the tote [as close to the edge as possible], Stitch another row of top stitches across the top, but this time about 3/8 inches away from the edge. Be sure your side seams are pressed out when top stitching. This will keep those seams out of your way and give a more finished look to the inside of the tote.
Whether you attach a doily or not, it is important that you add these final top stitches to the tote. These final top stitches secure the handles along the top, to prevent your side handle stitches from coming apart, when you over load your tote with weight. Finally, stitch a button at the lower center of doily bringing the thread all the way through to the inside of the tote. This will help keep your doily in place and it looks pretty too!
It is always a good idea to choose quality threads for your projects. They truly do make a difference, not only in the strength of the stitches, but also in the appearance. I almost always use cotton wrapped polyester thread for my everyday totes. The polyester gives the thread strength, while the cotton prevents damage to the fabric. 100% polyester thread is extremely strong and is wonderful for many projects, but can cause early wear to many fabrics, at the stitch points. If you are using vintage fabrics, I always recommend using a thread that is weaker than the actual fabric you are using. This way, your thread will break before your fabric will... It's much easier to stitch up a seam than repair damaged fabric. 100% Cotton thread is usually a good choice for vintage fabrics.
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