Friday, March 19, 2010

Children's Art Tote Tutorial

Here's a nice little project to keep you busy this weekend! I don't know about the weather where you live, but I am looking out my window as I type and it is snowing, snowing and snowing some more. Lame.

Anyway....


When I was a little girl (so very long ago!) I received the best Christmas present EVER! My aunt Linda got me a stellar art tote that I carried around with me every where I went. I loved having it full of papers, stickers, crayons, pencils and markers. I loved being organized. I loved portable art. 
I recreated it for my son and I am hoping he hearts it just as much as I did. If he doesn't, I am not to blame because this thing rocks! 
What kid is not going to devour the goodness of this? 
F.Y.I. it makes a good church or preschool bag! Just insert a quiet book or flash cards and your kiddo is set!


Materials that you will need:
-sewing machine
-3/8 yrd. fabric (heavy and sturdy fabric is best!)
-fabric measuring approx. 14"X14" (a quilter's fat quarter is perfect!)
-ribbon (optional)
-scissors
-iron


Begin by cutting your main fabric to measure 41 3/4" x 13 1/2"
This will allow for a 1/2" seam allowance
HINT: When choosing fabric for this project, make sure you chose one that has a pattern that can work both horizontally and vertically unless you are using fabric from a 60" bolt or larger. 


Next you will want to cut out your small pockets. Cut 2 pieces measuring 13 1/2" X 6".


Now you will want to make a 1/2" hem on your main fabric's two sides that measure 13 1/2". 
HINT: A good seamstress always uses her iron to press down the hems before sewing. This will help hold your measurement and make it easier for you to sew.



Then, take the fabric for your small pockets and position them on the top of your tote fabric. Pin them down to hold in place.


Stitch along only the bottom edge. 
Be careful to not sew your large pocket closed. Only sew the bottom of the small pocket to the bottom edge of your tote fabric.


You should have something that looks like this when you are done.


Now, if you are wanting to add ribbon for an added detail, this is the time to do it. I folded over a piece of grosgrain ribbon, ironed it down, placed the fabric inside it and stitched along the top of the pocket. Not necessary, but nice! If you are not using ribbon, simply sew a small hem on the top of your pocket for a finished look. Iron.


It's now time to sew the dividers into your pockets. Measure and mark out how much space you think you need to hold the various art supplies. I made mine in all different sizes. Keep in mind that you need to allow room on the sides for a hem.


You should have something that looks like this.


After all your dividers have been sewn in, it's now time to fold the bag in and stitch it together to make the 2 large pockets. Fold right sides together so that each pocket measures 10". Sew only along the 10" sides. It should somewhat resemble a pillow sham that opens in the back.


By sewing 10" pockets, it will generate a much needed gap in the middle of your tote. This will allow the bag to fold up with the bulk of art supplies in it- much like a binding on a book.


After you are done sewing the sides together, turn your bag right side in. Be sure to poke out all your corners! Iron your bag open and press all the edges. Your almost done! You will have a small lip of fabric in the middle. Use fabric glue, hem tape, or a small stitch to fasten it down.


Make handles by cutting two pieces of fabric measuring 
12"x3" and sew right sides together. Next, turn your handles right sides in and fold raw ends under and press with an iron.


Measure 3" from each side and sew your handles onto your bag. I had to hand stitch mine because my machine was not strong enough to sew through 6 layers of denim. Go figure!
You're Done!

Now you can decorate the front of it to your (or your child's) liking! Feel free to copy mine. I simply cut out triangles of different fabrics to make a bunting banner and used heat-n-bond to adhere it to the bag or you can also use fabric glue. I used fabric glue to then stick the ribbon on. Easy, easy, easy!



How did you do? Were my instructions clear enough for you? I understand that this bag is a little more involved than previous tutorials. If you have any questions, please email me at the address listed at the top left of the page. 
Have a great weekend!

22 comments:

elsabags said...

this is great. maybe we could do this for a d.i.y. club night for us gals with kids! love it

compulsively compiled said...

I love this and want one for myself!

Joan said...

I wonder what happened to your old one. Maybe it is in the attic with your Barbie dolls??? This one is even cuter.

{natalie} said...

amy, i am in love with it. you did an awesome job and i love the pennants. i need to make this asap. add it to the project list....

Margaret Kay said...

Not being a "real" seamstress of any note, I think I'll just buy one from you . . . ;-) but I am enjoying watching YOU make one.

Kee said...

This is such a cute bag! E is lucky to have such a clever mama!

Zemphira said...

very cute!

Sarah said...

love this- I think I will be making one for my little girl to take on the plane. Thanks for a great tutorial.

Sweet Little Smoothie said...

That tote is crazy awesome! It's now on my to-make list for my little Munchkin! Thanks for the tute :)

stephjacobson said...

This is awesome--thanks for sharing! I know my son would love one. This would be great for his birthday in January.

Star said...

I love this! I can think of so many kids that would love one of these... including me!

melly42 said...

All of my little artists would absolutely love this. Thanks for a great tutorial.

Jenna said...

I love this idea! I want to make it for my 4 year old son for Christmas. I just went and bought everything you said we needed, but I'm confused. I bought 1/4 yard of the heavy fabric, but the measurements you say to cut are 13 1/2" wide, and 1/4 yard is only 9 inches. So, now I'm short and will have to go back to the fabric store and rebuy a bigger piece of fabric. Did I figure something incorrectly? Just trying to figure this out...

Love your blog! Thanks for so many cute ideas!

Jenna said...

Okay, I made it! I posted my finished tote on my blog and linked over to your tutorial. It was super easy to follow. The only thing I saw that I wanted to do differently was when you said to line up the two pocket pieces with the hemmed edges of the heavy fabric, I wanted that bottom pocket edge to be finished, so I pressed it under 1/4" first and then sewed that bottom edge. I also added a button closure, just for fun.

Thanks for such a great idea!

Ellen Mallernee Barnes said...

This is fantastic! I actually want to make one for my sixtysomething-Mom, who loves to do drawings and paintings on the go. While she's camping and such.

Thanks so much!

TaRa said...

I saw my art tote here
http://embendesigns.blogspot.com/2011/08/art-tote-for-alexa.html
Thanks for sharing. Love your bunting banner

Nichole said...

Embendesigns and yours are so great and cool. Such an inspiration for me coz I've been searching some for a niece's project.

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another donkey design by kate said...

Great tutorial. Has been added to my list of things to make!

Jen Conlon said...

Great tutorial! You've been featured on the Quality Sewing Tutorials blog.

We hand select only the best free tutorials and patterns for the home sewist.

Grab a brag button!

Cindy said...

Thanks for the great tutorial! I just made one for a b-day gift and will definitely be making a few more ;)

Ana MarĂ­a said...

Love this idea! i want it for my child =)

Jeni said...

Just wanted to let you know I've made this about 10 times. I've tweaked it a bit for my own preferences, but I've never seen another tutorial that's as simple, cute and easy as yours. Great directions for a very cute AND use-able gift!

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