Tuesday, February 1, 2011

tutorial: lined ruffle tote


what you'll need:
less than half a yard of exterior fabric
less than half a yard of lining fabric
strip of knit fabric (can be cut from a tshirt)
elastic thread
coordinating regular thread
two different bobbins

Cut & Prep
1. From both, exterior & lining fabric, cut two rectangles that are 11X15
(you can definitely make it larger if you'd like)

2. From exterior fabric, cut two straps that are 4 X 16 inches.

3. From knit fabric, cut a strip about 3 inches wide and approximately 2-3 times the height of your tote. I made it around 40 inches long.

4.  Iron straps, lining fabric and exterior fabric. 
5. Wind elastic thread into one of the bobbins, using your hands, not your machine. Not too tight, not too loose. (i used this tutorial)
6. Using your machine, put thread in your other bobbin. 

Piecing, Placement & Details
1. Grab your two straps (4X16 inches) and fold sides into the middle, length wise. 

2. Fold them in half, again & top stitch around the edges

3. Put your elastic thread bobbin in your machine. Using your longest stitch length & sewing right down the middle, ruffle your knit fabric. No need to backstitch at the beginning or end. 

It should look like this when finished. 

4. Pin & Sew ruffle onto right side of exterior fabric in desired location.

1. Right sides facing, sew a 1/2" seam allowance around three sides of your exterior fabric. 

2. Repeat with lining fabric EXCEPT leave a 5" opening on the side. You'll see why later. This trick will blow your mind. :) 

(click photo to enlarge & see location of opening)

3. ((OPTIONAL)) if you would like the bag to be able to stand, pull out the sides on the bottom of your bag, press, and sew across the side, an inch or so in. Trim the corner. There is a better tutorial of this here

**turn exterior fabric RIGHT side out. leave interior fabric INSIDE OUT.**

4. Attach Straps to desired location on the RIGHT side of your exterior fabric.

5. Put the exterior of your tote INSIDE the lining fabric. Line up the raw edges. Sew a 1/2" seam around the top. All the way. Trust me! :)

6. Remember that opening we left in the lining fabric? 
Yeah, that one.

7. Pull the exterior fabric out of that opening. It should look something like this.

8. Close the opening with a whipstitch or just a simple topstitch. Tuck the lining fabric in and top stitch 1/4" around the top. 




  1. Cute! This is actually the first thing that I finished when I learned to sew(excluding the ruffle). I really like the ruffle! :)

  2. What a great tutorial! I can't wait to try this.

  3. I am really diggin the colors in this tote... my sister is a tote making machine I need to send this link her way... great pictures as well!

    -Much Love

    Kim and Mr. Gnome

  4. SO cute! Now I just need a sewing machine! :)

  5. SUPER cute and super easy!! Must try this soon. I've never attempted ruffles before though. Is it absolutely necessary to use elastic thread for the ruffle if the ruffle won't need to stretch?

  6. you are sooooo smart! and sooooo creative! big time admiration here from a person who likes the idea of sewing, but doesn't have the patience for it!

  7. What an adorable tote! The colors are just divine!

  8. What great fabric. I just did something really similar, but without the ruffle. I like the addition of the ruffle :)

  9. This is great! I've made ruffles using a running stitch and regular thread. I will have to try this process! Thanks for the tute!

  10. fun, fun, fun! i can't wait to try it out, kim. if i can get over my fear of the sewing machine and such... :)

  11. you are amazing!!! i need to sew my first ruffle sometime!! i heart ruffles!!

  12. Thanks so much for this tutorial! I bought fabric etc a few days ago to make a bag to take my books to class with and was planning on winging the construction. Then I happened on this tutorial and it made the process so much easier than I was anticipating. I love the "hole in the lining" trick!

    Jayme @


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