These strippy totes are simple enough to make in one afternoon. Whip up a bunch for your family and friends for the holidays or make multiples to match your different outfits. Fabrics are from the Lux metallic collection from Timeless Treasures and the Princess and the Frog collection from Northcott.
Afternoon Totes
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Inspired by 3-hour Totes from designer Valerie Smith of Pumpkin Patch Quilter

Quilt tester: Jan Ragaller

Materials For One Tote

  • 9--2-1⁄2x42" precut strips or 3⁄4 yard total assorted prints (outer bag, lining, ruffle, handles, binding)
  • 18x32" cotton batting

Finished bag: 6x10-1⁄2x3-1⁄2"

Yardages and cutting instructions are based on 42" of usable fabric width.

Measurements include 1⁄4" seam allowances. Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.

Cut Fabrics

If not using precut 2-1⁄2"-wide strips, cut assorted prints into:

  • 9--2-1⁄2x42" strips

From batting, cut:

  • 1--10-1⁄2x24-1⁄2" rectangle
  • 2--7⁄8x22" strips

Assemble Bag Body

1. Referring to Diagram 1, sew together six assorted print 2-1⁄2x42" strips to make a strip set. Press seams in one direction. The strip set should be 12-1⁄2x42" including seam allowances. Cut strip set into four 10-1⁄2"-wide segments (Diagram 2).


2. Join short edges of two segments to make outer bag (Diagram 3). Outer bag should be 10-1⁄2x24-1⁄2" including seam allowances. Repeat to make bag lining.


3. Lay bag lining right side down on a flat surface. Aligning edges, place batting 10-1⁄2x24-1⁄2" rectangle and outer bag (right side up) on top. Baste through all layers. Quilt as desired.

4. Fold quilted rectangles in half, lining side inside. Sew together pairs of side edges using a scant 1⁄4" seam to make bag body (Diagram 4). Trim seam to a scant 1⁄8".


5. Turn bag body lining side out and sew side seams with a 1⁄4" seam, enclosing previously sewn seams (Diagram 5). These French seams finish the seams that will be inside the bag.


6. At one corner match side seam line to center bottom of bag body, creating a flattened triangle (Diagram 6). Measuring 1-3⁄4" from point of triangle, draw a 3-1⁄2"-long line across triangle. Sew on drawn line. Trim excess fabric, leaving 1⁄4" seam allowance. Repeat at remaining bottom corner to shape bottom of bag. Turn bag body right side out.


Assemble Ruffle

1. Press short ends of a print 2-1⁄2x42" strip under 1⁄4"; stitch to finish ends.

2. Fold strip in half lengthwise with wrong side inside to create a 1-1⁄4"-wide strip; press.

3. Sew a long gathering stitch a scant 1⁄4" from raw edges, leaving long thread tails (Diagram 7).


4. Gently pull thread tails to gather strip until strip is 1" longer than size of bag body raw edge to make ruffle.

5. Pin ruffle to bag body, aligning raw edges and overlapping finished ruffle ends at bag back center. Adjust gathers evenly. Sew ruffle to bag.

Assemble Handles

1. Cut a print 2-1⁄2x42" strip in half, creating two 21"-long strips. Press each long edge under 1⁄4". Fold strips in half lengthwise with wrong sides inside to make two 1"-wide strips; press.

2. Place a 7⁄8x22" batting strip inside a folded print strip, tucking it under one 1⁄4" fold, to make a handle unit (Diagram 8). Repeat to make a second handle unit.


3. Edgestitch a handle unit with double lines of stitching 1⁄8" apart along long edges to make a handle (Diagram 8). Repeat to make a second handle.

Finish Bag

1. Aligning raw edges, pin handles to inside of bag body 1-1⁄2"–2" from side seams (Diagram 9). Stitch across handle ends using a scant 1⁄4" seam.


2. Bind upper bag body raw edge with remaining print 2-1⁄2x42" strip.

3. Pull handles up to carrying position and stitch across each handle end 1⁄8" from binding's upper folded edge to reinforce handles and complete bag (Diagram 10).