Pull-up straps and a roomy interior make for an easy-to-piece tote bag. Fabrics are Petalicious prints by Nancy Thias for Marcus Fabrics.
Cinch It Tote Bag


Inspired by It's a Cinch from designer Laura Jaquinto
Project Tester: Judy Sams Sohn

3/8 yard teal-and-orange floral (bag)
1/4 yard orange-and-teal plaid (bag)
1/4 yard each of orange polka dot and orange print (bag)
1/4 yard orange-and-yellow floral (bag)
3/8 yard muslin (bag casing)
1/4 yard orange-and-brown floral (handles, binding)
1 yard orange floral (bag lining, pocket)
2 yards 7/8"-wide grosgrain ribbon: brown (handles)
4-1"-diameter grommets
22x41-1/2" thin batting

Finished bag: 17-1/2x18-3/4x4"

Quantities are for 44/45"-wide, 100% cotton fabrics. Measurements include 1/4" seam allowances. Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.

Cut Fabrics

Cut pieces in the following order.

From teal-and-orange floral, cut:
2-9x21" strips

From orange-and-teal plaid, cut:
4-3x21" strips

From each orange polka dot and orange print, cut:
2-3x21" strips

From orange-and-yellow floral, cut:
4-2x21" strips

From muslin, cut:
2-6-1/2x22-1/2" rectangles

From orange-and-brown floral, cut:
2-2x42" binding strips
2-2x32" strips

From orange floral, cut:
1-22x41-1/2" rectangle
2-8-1/2x9-1/2" rectangles

From brown ribbon, cut:
2-32"-long pieces

Assemble Bag Body

1. Referring to Diagram 1 for placement, sew together one teal-and-orange floral 9x21" strip, two orange-and-teal plaid 3x21" strips, one orange polka dot 3x21" strip, one orange print 3x21" strip, and two orange-and-yellow floral 2x21" strips to make a pieced unit. Press seams in one direction. The pieced unit should be 22x21" including seam allowances. Repeat to make a second pieced unit.

2. Layer pieced units with right sides together and edges aligned. Sew together along bottom edge to make pieced rectangle (Diagram 2). Using tip of iron, carefully press seam open.

3. Center pieced rectangle on top of batting 22x41-1/2" rectangle; baste or spray the wrong side of each piece to be layered with quilt basting spray.

4. Quilt as desired. The featured bag is stitched in the ditch along all vertical seams.

5. Referring to Diagram 3 for placement and following manufacturer's instructions, add a 1"-diameter grommet 4-1/2" from top edge and 7-1/2" from left-hand edge of quilted rectangle. Add a second grommet 4-1/2" from top edge and 7-1/2" from right-hand edge of quilted rectangle. Add remaining grommets 4-1/2" from bottom edge and 7-1/2" from left- and right-hand edges.

6. Referring to Diagram 4 for placement, use a pencil to mark parallel lines across both muslin 6-1/2x22-1/2" rectangles 4" and 5-1/2" from top edges.

Assemble Bag Body (continued)

7. Layer a marked muslin rectangle on wrong side of one short edge of quilted rectangle (Diagram 5). Sew on marked lines. Repeat with second marked muslin rectangle and opposite short edge of quilted rectangle.

8. With wrong side inside, fold one orange-and-brown floral 2x32" strip in half (Diagram 6). Lightly press, then unfold. Fold long edges to meet at center; press again. Place one 32"-long brown ribbon over raw edges of orange-and-brown floral strip; topstitch both long edges of ribbon to make a handle. Repeat to make a second handle.

9. Referring to Diagram 7, start at one side to thread handle through casing and in and out of grommets. Pin each end of handle to edge of quilted rectangle and baste. Repeat with second handle.

10. Fold quilted rectangle in half crosswise with right sides together; pin (Diagram 8). Sew side edges together.

11. To shape flat bottom for bag, at one corner match bottom seam line to side seam line, creating a flattened triangle (Diagram 9). Measure and mark on seam allowance 2" from point of triangle. Draw a 4"-long line across triangle; sew on drawn line. Trim excess fabric, leaving 1/4" seam allowance. Repeat at remaining corner to make bag body. Turn bag body right side out; press.

Assemble Bag Lining

1. Sew together orange floral 8-1/2x9-1/2" rectangles, leaving a 3" opening along one edge for turning (Diagram 10).

2. Turn right side out through opening. Press and slip-stitch opening closed to make a pocket.

3. Center pocket on right side of orange floral 22x41-1/2" rectangle 4" from a short edge. Topstitch side and bottom edges of pocket to rectangle (Diagram 11).

4. Fold orange floral rectangle in half crosswise; sew side edges together to make bag lining.

5. To shape flat bottom for lining, refer to Assemble Bag Body, Step 11. Do not turn lining right side out.

Finish Bag

1. Matching side seams, insert bag lining into bag body with wrong sides together. With 1/8" seam allowance, baste bag lining to bag body along top edges (Diagram 12).

2. Join short ends of orange-and-brown floral 2x42" binding strips. Press seam open. Trim to 2x46". With wrong side inside, fold under 1" at one end of strip and press. Fold strip in half lengthwise to make binding strip; press.

3. Pin binding strip to right side of basted edges of bag beginning at one side seam. Start sewing the binding in place 2" from the folded end. Using a 1/4" seam, machine-stitch to top of bag. When you return to starting point, encase binding strip's raw edge inside folded end and finish sewing to the starting point.

4. Turn the binding over the edge to the inside of bag. Machine-stitch binding to the bag lining fabric.

Cinch It Tote Bag
Cinch It Tote Bag