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Versatile Strips Tote-orial: The Whopper Shopper Quilted Tote Part 2

Hey quilters! Ebony Love here to show you how to turn the quilt you made into an awesome whopper of a tote bag.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Shopper Tote Bag by Ebony Love

Materials Refresher

If you missed the first post detailing the instructions on making the body of the bag, you'll want to check that out here.

In addition, you'll need the remaining supplies listed:

  • 1-1/4 yards black solid
  • Four 7/8″ grommets
  • 2 yards 13mm cotton piping cord
  • Two 35mm decorative buttons

Make the Handles

From the remaining black fabric, cut two 4-1/2" x 33-1/2" strips. From your two yards of cotton piping cord, cut two 32" lengths. You'll find it helpful to wrap the cord with tape before you cut it to keep the ends from raveling.

On the 4-1/2" wide strips, fold up 1/4" on each end and press into place.  Then, fold up approximately 1-1/2" along the length of the strip and press into place.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Shopper Tote Bag by Ebony Love

Next, use a ruler or hem gauge to fold the strip so that it is 2" wide with all the raw edges toward the wrong side.  The fabric will slightly overlap on the inside.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Shopper Tote Bag by Ebony Love

Wrap your fabric around the cording and stitch around 3 sides to encase the handle. It will look so much nicer if you have a cording or welting foot for your machine, but a narrow zipper foot will do a passable job.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Shopper Tote Bag by Ebony Love

Now just repeat that for the next handle, and you'll have two lovely handles ready for the next step.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Shopper Tote Bag by Ebony Love

 

Install Grommets

This is probably the most frightening thing you will ever experience while quilting: cutting holes in your quilt on purpose. I think every quilter needs to do this at least once, just for the experience.

There aren't too many pieces for grommet installation: you need the eyelet and washer, plus an anvil and setting tool. These are usually sold together in one package, but if you install a lot of grommets like me, you'll end up buying refill kits that only contain the grommet parts. You'll also need a marker, a hammer and a hard surface.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Shopper Tote Bag by Ebony Love

You'll be installing the grommets in the sashing strips closest to the center block; refer to the main photo for placement. On the short side of your quilt, position the eyelet about 1/2" from the edge of your binding, in the center of one sashing strip.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Shopper Tote Bag by Ebony Love

Use the marker to trace the inside of the eyelet to mark the size.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Shopper Tote Bag by Ebony Love

With a sharp pair of scissors, carefully cut the circle you drew through all layers.  It's better to cut this hole a little smaller at first, and then carefully enlarge it as you try to insert the grommet.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Shopper Tote Bag by Ebony Love

Insert the eyelet from the right side of the quilt to the wrong side, so that the neck of the eyelet is poking up through the quilt back. Lay the eyelet over the anvil on a hard surface.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Shopper Tote Bag by Ebony Love

Center the washer with the prongs facing down on top of the eyelet neck.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Shopper Tote Bag by Ebony Love

Insert the grommet setting tool into the eyelet, and make sure everything is centered before you hammer.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Shopper Tote Bag by Ebony Love

Now, hammer the setting tool until the washer and eyelet are flush against the quilt on both sides.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Shopper Tote Bag by Ebony Love

Now that wasn't so bad, was it?  Just do that three more times, in the other sashing strips.  Insert one end of your strap into the grommet from the back to the front, and tie a knot.  Insert the remaining end of the strap into the second grommet and tie another knot.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Shopper Tote Bag by Ebony Love

Repeat this for the second strap. Now it's time to construct the bag!

 

Bag Construction

Fold the quilt in half with the backing fabric on the inside, matching the strap edges, and stitch both sides of the quilt next to the binding to close the sides of the tote. Reinforce your stitching along the top edge. Next, fold the bottom of the tote at a 45-degree angle. We're going to box the corners without cutting the quilt here.  Measure in 4" from the point and draw a line.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Shopper Tote Bag by Ebony Love

Stitch across this line to box in the corners, pressing the binding to either side to reduce bulk. Repeat on the other side.

To give the bag a little more structure, fold the bottom of the tote so that it matches the width of the boxed corners, and topstitch 1/4" from the edge. Repeat this on the other side.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Shopper Tote Bag by Ebony Love

Do the same thing on the bag sides to give them a little structure and make the bag more box-like.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Shopper Tote Bag by Ebony Love

You probably won't like the box corners sticking off the side of your bag, so take a bit of embroidery floss, thread it through the side of the bag, and stitch up the box corner.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Shopper Tote Bag by Ebony Love

Add a decorative button if desired.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Shopper Tote Bag by Ebony Love

As the final step, measure in about 1" at the top edge of your bag, and stitch along the upper edge, reinforcing your stitches at all four corners.  This will help your bag sides to stand up a bit more and preserve the box structure.

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Shopper Tote Bag by Ebony Love

Fill your bag with lots of wonderful quilty things, and enjoy!

Sizzix Die Cutting Tutorial | Shopper Tote Bag by Ebony Love

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 11.44.40 AM
Ebony Love about to demo how die cuts can make trapunto a snap on Quilting Arts TV!

Ebony

www.lovebugstudios.com
sizzix die cutting supplies

6 thoughts on “Versatile Strips Tote-orial: The Whopper Shopper Quilted Tote Part 2”

  • Jacquelene L

    Thank you for this excellent tutorial, especially the step by step for the grommets. I have never installed grommets in fabric and it scares me. With your instructions I will be brave and do it! I am planning on making this bag, the only set back is I don't own the dies. So, I may have to try without the dies, and go the old way with ruler and rotary cutter. Some day I will get the dies and do it the easy way. Thank you for sharing this fantastic bag, it is just what I need, and I will use fabrics from my stash.
    Jacquelene L
    Canada

    Reply
    • Ebony Love of LoveBug Studios

      Go for it Jacquelene! It's so counterintuitive to cut holes in something you worked so hard to make, but at the same time, It's so fabul.ous to be able to carry around a quilt you made without looking like Linus. :) For your first grommet, install it on a scrap quilt sandwich so you can see how easy it is & take some of the fear away. Have fun!

      Reply
  • auntiemaryann
    auntiemaryann Sep 16, 2013 at 02:30 pm

    Is it possible to box the corners on the inside to give the added structure, without the fabric showing on the outside?

    Reply
  • Pam L

    Thanks so much for showing how you made this amazing tote!! Maybe I will make this one of my winter projects!

    Reply
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