This pretty, rustic, tote is made out of the most amazing loosely woven linen. It's strength and durability make it the perfect accessory for a day of apple picking but you can use for carrying anything from groceries to books!

Materials

This Linen is such a beautiful natural fiber. It's easy to work with and contrasts well with the pretty Floral Dot fabric.

 

 

 

Cutting

Cut the following from the Linen:

 

  • one 17-inch X 34-inch piece
  • two 14-inch X 6-inch pieces

Cut the following from the handle fabric:

  • five 4-inch X 45-inch (the whole width of the fabric) strips (trim off the selvages)

 

Prepping

Bias Tape Handle


Piece three of the handle strips together as explained in my luxurious wool blanket project here.

Then make the resulting really long strip into bias tape by following the instructions that come with the bias tape maker. If you want more instruction you can look at my Handmade Napkin Journal.

 

Handle Lining

Cut the other two remaining handle strips to 33-inches and iron them into two separate bias tape strips.

Fold the corners of each end in.

Then fold the end over 1/2-inch and iron it firmly down. Repeat for the other 33-inch bias tape strip and set them both aside, these will become the handle lining of the bag.

 

Bag Panels

Mark your 17-inch X 34-inch linen piece, 14-inches from either 17-inch side, making a 6-inch stripe in the middle. This area will become the bottom of the bag.

Hem both of the 17-inch ends of your larger linen piece with a doubled 1/2-inch seam allowance (fold it a 1/2-inch twice and sew it down). Remember to backstitch on all of your seams in this project.

Hem one of the 6-inch sides on both of the smaller linen pieces in the same manner. These two pieces will become the bag sides.

 

 

Attaching the Handle and Handle Lining

 

pinning the handle

Turn the large linen panel so it's right side is up. Starting at the marked bottom panel of the bag leave a few extra inches of bias tape and pin the bias tape 3-inches from the edge all along the long edge of the linen panel. Make sure to pin both the left and right sides of the bias tape. When you get to the top of the bag arrange the handles as shown above. Keep the bias tape perpendicular to the top edge of the bag for 6-inches then fold it perpendicular to itself. Run it parallel to the top edge of the bag for 7-inches and then turn it back down, perpendicular to the top edge. Keep pinning the strip 3-inches from the next long edge of the bag and arrange the bias tape for the second handle in the same way as the first.

As you can see in the picture above the bias tape is pinned on in a large oval. When you get back to where you started leave a 3-inch gap and a few extra inches of bias tape, you'll hide these ends later.

 

pin the handle lining

Turn the linen piece so wrong side is facing. Line up and pin one of the handle lining pieces of bias tape to the back of the main bias tape handle. Make sure it lines up through the linen and meets up exactly on the actual handle. Get both ends equally aligned on the back side of the panel as shown above. Repeat for second handle.

sew on the handle

Sew the entire length of the handle to the linen panel using the brightly colored thread and 1/4-inch seam allowance on each side of the bias tape. Make sure to leave a 2 or 3-inch gap at start/ end point of the bias tape where you left the tails.

Draw a line (on the wrong side) at the midpoint where the two ends of the bias tape meet when laid neat and flat.

Pin these two pieces right sides together and sew them together along the marked lines. Clip the seam allowance to 1/4-inch.

Turn the bias tape back to the right side and it should lay flat. Sew it down with a 1/4-inch seam on each side of the tape.

To further secure the handle and handle lining mark a 2 1/2-inch rectangle 1/4-inch below the top edge of the bag, using the side seams as the long edges. Then mark and "X"  inside of the rectangle.

Sew this shape on in the following manner (so you don't have to lift your foot): start at the top left corner, sew to the top right corner, sew down diagonally to the bottom left corner, then across to the bottom right, then up diagonally back to the top left corner where you began. Now the handle lining is sewn on nice and tight!

 

Forming the Bag

Iron along the two markings that indicate the bottom of the bag and pin them flat.

Sew them together using the brightly colored thread to form the bottom of the bag.

Turn the large panel inside out and pin in one of the bag side pieces right sides together. This is a pretty 3D process and can be a little confusing. Make sure the corners are lining up correctly and that none of the raw edges are poking through to the right side. Also make sure that the hemmed side of the bag side piece is at the top.

Sew the side on to the main panel with a 1/2-inch seam allowance using the linen colored thread. Then go back and zig zag stitch the raw edges of the seam so that the linen doesn't unravel. Clip any stray threads and repeat for the next side of the bag.

Turn the bag right side out and iron it's four vertical edges flat. Pin each edge together.

Top stitch with a 1/4-inch seam along the four side edges with the brightly colored thread and you're all done!