Friday, June 22, 2012

TUTORIAL: Neon-Painted, BOXED-Out Totes

Time for the second installment in our TOTE bag tutorials. 
First we talked about the Basic Pocket Tote.  And some of you asked, "if I sew a pocket to the inside of the bag, will the stitching show up on the outside?"  Yes.  But typically, the stitches aren't very noticeable.  Just check out many of your store-bought bags!  So keep on sewing.

And let's try a new twist....
Le'ts Box-out the bottom of the bag so it sits, lays, and fills up nicely.  Then let's bank on the 80's craze and paint our fabrics NEON!....and metallic sparkly.  So many options.

 Let's get started.
First, paint the fabric.
• I used heavier twill cotton fabrics in white and off-white colors.  They show off the neon colors well.
• cut two 16x16 squares
• measure 3 inches from the bottom and place a mark in the side seam. Then measure 2 inches up from there and mark.  Continue marking every 2 inches so you have 2 inch wide stripes.  You should end up with 3 stripes and about 3 inches left at the top
• then tape off the 2-inch stripes with masking tape.
• Grab Neon and Metallic paints.  My favorite fabric paint brand is Tulip, matte finish. But you can also use inexpensive acrylic paints.   Use the acrylic just as-is...or if you plan to wash the bag at some point (and to soften up the paint), add a fabric painting medium (discussed more HERE---and in the comments).
• Use a sponge brush to paint the stripes.  Allow the paint to dry.  Then enjoy the best part....peeling off the tape!
• Always lay a cloth over the top of your painted fabric and iron for a minute or so to "heat-set" your paint. This ensures that the paint won't dissolve when washed (read the instructions on your paint bottle for more info)
• Look!  You've made cool fabric!  
• Follow the instructions on the Basic Pocket Tote for sewing your bag.

When you've sewn the sides and bottom together....BOX out the bottom of the bag!
This is a great way to add dimension to your Tote.  It helps the bag stand up better, when filled with stuff. And it just looks more polished and professional.
Here's what you do....
• When your bag seams are sewn, take the bottom seam and the side seam and squeeze them both together, so you create a right triangle.
* It's very important that the two seams are laying directly on top of each other, or else your boxed-out corners will not be even on both sides.  Take your time to be precise with this step.
• Iron the triangle corner so that everything is perfectly flat.  
• Measure 1 1/2 inches down from the tip of the triangle (or 1 inch...or 2 just depends how deep you want the bag to be) and draw a straight line across the fabric.
• Do this for both corners of the bag.
• Sew on top of the marked line and've created a box bottom!
• Trim the excess fabric in the corners (or leave it as-is.  Doesn't matter).
• Turn the bag right side out and finish it off. 

 And ask your daughter to take photos of you "using" your bag.
Then smile when she asks if she can model one of the bags, and tries to sit in the same positions as you. 
I love you Luce.
(and thank you Owen or taking this picture of her):
 Enjoy your new Boxed-out TOTE!

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