Tote bags for my boys

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

On very rare occasions, and only for very special circumstances, I make things other than quilts.

Tote bags for boys

Just a few weeks ago, my oldest two boys (ages 3 and 5) started attending AWANA at our new church. When signing up, there were several supplies we needed to purchase. There was a vest that they will put patches and pins on as they earn them and books with the lessons and Bible verses. The tote bag was listed as optional but highly recommended. The price tag on the tote bag was a bit steep, so of course I said I could make them one instead!

Quick and easy lined tote bags for boys

Have you seen those memes on Facebook that say something like, "Why buy it for $7 when you can make it yourself with $92 of craft supplies!"? Well, that's a bit representative of this story too! But handmade is always worth it!



My boys started out with tote bags we had around the house while they waited for me to make some. Of course the bags served the purpose, but they weren't very boyish and were oversized.

Quilty tote bags

During a recent trip to JoAnn's, I let the boys pick out novelty prints for their bags. The 3-year-old chose Paw Patrol and the 5-year-old chose dinosaurs. I got a half yard of each, then came home and paired them with fat quarters of solid fabrics in their favorite colors.

I also matched 50wt Aurifil thread to each bag: the yellow and dinosaurs got #2135 Yellow and the red with Paw Patrol got #2250 Red.

Dinosaur fabric for a boy's tote bag
Paw Patrol fabric for a boy's tote bag

I started with Amy Smart's tutorial here, but made a few changes.

The first change I made was the size. The bags needed to be large enough to easily hold regular letter size papers. I decided it would be easier for the boys to put the papers into the bag if the bag was "landscape" instead of "portrait."

The next change I made was to use a "front" and "back" fabric piece for the outside of the bag instead of one piece. This was needed because my fabrics were directional. I cut two pieces, sewed them right sides together along the bottom edge, and pressed the seam open.

Quick and easy lined tote bags for boys

Since my bags are wider than the ones in the tutorial, when adding the handles, I used 3 1/2" from the outside edge instead of 2 1/2".

Quick and easy lined tote bags for boys

The final change I made to the tutorial was where the opening was left for turning the bag. In the tutorial, it says to leave an opening in the side of the lining, so the topstitching is inside the bag. However, I left the opening between the handles on one side, so that the topstitching around the top of the bag would also close the opening.

Quick and easy lined tote bags for boys

I'm normally quite apprehensive about any 3-D sewing, but small projects like this are really helping my confidence! I am actually pretty impressed with myself with these bags! The fact that I was able to make changes to the tutorial and the bags still turned out great is a testament that my skills are improving. I like to say, "I've leveled up!"

Quick and easy lined tote bags for boys
Quick and easy lined tote bags for boys

I have a few other 3-D sewing projects planned for next month (hello, Christmas!). Instead of my typical fear and procrastination for all things non-quilty sewing, I'm actually really looking forward to trying some new things! Let's hope they all go as smoothly as these bags!

Tote bags for boys

How about you? How do you feel about 3-D sewing? Do you have any planned for Christmas gifts?



This post contains affiliate links. Clicking a link will NOT affect the purchase price.

9 comments:

  1. These turned out SO cute! 3-D sewing gives me a LOT of anxiety, so I avoid it whenever possible. The most non-quilting sewing I end up doing is fixing holes in clothes and only then when it is unavoidable.

    ReplyDelete
  2. These are awesome, Laura, and I love how happy your boys look with them, too. Happy Thanksgiving!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm with you on the 3-D sewing. The few things I've made have all been really simple.

    Your bags turned out fabulously. Your boys look absolutely thrilled. I also leave the opening between the handles to get caught in the top stitching. That makes so much more sense to me than having a noticeable seam in the lining.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Fantastic bags. Those boys look so pleased. What a great job you did.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I started sewing all my own clothes in 9th grade, but I don't consider it 3-D!! 3-D can be scary, but once a year I usually make something small that is 3-D. Your totes are fabulous!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh, Awana. That brings back so many memories! The bags are cute, but the smiles on your two little guys are priceless! Happy Thanksgiving!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Those bags are adorable, and the landscape orientation was a great idea. They obviously love them. I had to sew all my clothes for so many years, and then make shirts and overalls for the boys when they were little. I decided once I didn't HAVE to do that any more, I wasn't ever going to. I've made skirts a couple of times for little girls of friends, but no, not sewing any 3-D, mending, hemming jeans that are too long, sewing patches on ripped knees, etc. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  8. These bags are so cute! My 5-year-old is a big Paw Patrol fan, so that one caught my eye. Your boys look like they love their new bags! I do not enjoy 3d sewing at all. I avoid it whenever possible and I have pretty much given up making bags. Every few years I convince myself that I'm not as terrible at it as I remember and try to make something, then I'm miserable making it and it doesn't turn out right. I'm trying to break that cycle!

    ReplyDelete
  9. The bags look great! I do some 3D sewing, but some parts make me a little nervous (like getting clothes to actually fit, lol!). I'm pretty comfortable with bag, but only if I have a pattern to follow.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting and for your comments! I try to reply to comments via email, so if you're expecting a response and don't hear from me, check if you're a no-reply blogger. Happy sewing!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...