So, are canvas totes the new T-shirt or what? You know, as a promotional tool. Go to an event, come home with a canvas tote. I'm sure you have acquired a bunch like I have. I use them for groceries or library books, but...meh. BOOOOR-ing.
I always think I'll whip up a few cute printed totes instead, but I don't have a lot of time or patience for *sigh* making the lining or *ugh* making the straps all precise and what.ev.er. Anyhoo, I've been dying to put a little brainstorm I had to the test: Use a ho-hum canvas tote as the lining AND the straps, and just add the cute print to the outside. WOOT!
All you need is a canvas tote and an equally sized piece of fabric. I used a thrifted tablecloth that's been waiting patiently in my stash to be reused as something.
1) Turn the ready-made tote inside out and place it on a piece of fabric folded back on itself. Align the bottom of the tote with the fold. Using the tote as your template, cut the print fabric along the sides and across the top, leaving an extra 1/4" of fabric extending past the top of the tote.
2) Put the tote aside. Refold the print fabric with right sides together and stitch the side seams. Press the 1/4" extension across the opening to the wrong side.
3) With your canvas tote "liner" inside out, slide your print "outer" tote over it so that wrong sides are together. Pin the pressed hem along the top edge of the liner.
4) Topstitch around the opening. Smile to yourself because you are done.
Not only did you save a lot of time, but you have a nice finished lining. It would've also been very easy to add a pocket to the inside before attaching the outer tote. (One more tip, if your fabric has a directional one way print, you will want to cut out 2 sides and seam the bottom in step 1. Otherwise your print will be right-side-up on one side and upside-down on the other.)
Hooray for tote tricks! I can't wait to make more!
***UPDATE: Thanks for your responses! Just wanted to mention that if your ho-hum tote has some dimension at the bottom, you can "box" the corners of your outer fabric to match the depth and make it fit better. Here's a link to a tutorial that shows how to make box corners. Also, if you want to show off your "tote trick" pics, join the "Show Us How You Sew Green" Flickr group for a chance to win a craft book! Visit the STC Craft blog for details about the giveaway.***
This work by Betz White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.