Saturday, May 11, 2013

Jeans and Windows - A free tote pattern

It's nearly Mother's Day and I was pondering what to make for my Mom and Mom-in-law.  
After spending way too much time on Pinterest, this tote came to mind.  
It's really a hybrid of two different pins. 
I do love quilting and can forsee some projects in my near future, 
It's a upcycled tote bag made with squares.  

I'm really liking the frayed denim look.  
Plus I scored a few pairs of huge men's jeans at Dollar Days at the thrift store.  
So really two totes cost me about $3.  
The window fabric was in my stash.  

It's so cute.  
I think I may add them to my etsy site soon.  
So let's get cutting and sewing.

Since I'm making 2 bags, it took 3 pairs of jeans total.

My circles are 8 inches in diameter.  I used a plastic lid to help make the template out of tracing paper.

Each tote uses 19 circles.  
Then I cut out my fabric squares for the windows.  
They are 5 inches square.
Next mark the wrong side of the circles for your stitching line.  
I ended up using a Sharpie because 
my quilting pen is blue and I could barely see it.  
Use whatever marking pen works for you.  
I measured in 1 1/2 inches and drew the square as shown.

Before putting the tote together, 
clip the edges of each circle about 1/4 inch in from the edge 
and about 1/4 inch apart as you work around the circle.  
It is possible to clip after construction, but before is much MUCH easier. 
My first bag I didn't do that, but I definitely will for the 2nd one.

Now to start assembling the circles.
Working in rows, sew the circles together, sewing along the stitch lines you drew.
Open up the seam allowance and press.

After you have a two rows made, put right sides together and seam the rows together as shown.
Press seam allowances open.

Next insert the squares of fabric in the pattern you choose.
Pin the flaps in place to secure.

For the tote, you will need 
2 rows of 4 circles, 
1 row of 3 circles (for the bottom of the tote) 
and another 2 rows of 4 circles like shown.

Note:  I changed up the assembly.  Do 2 rows of 3, then 1 row of 7, then 2 more rows of 3.  It was much easier to sew just up the sides of the tote, than the bottom corner and have to turn to go up the side.

Pin all the flaps in place except the outer edge.
You will need them for the final construction.

Stitch the flaps in place like shown.

Sorry I don't have pics of the final assembly.  
I just folded up the front and back panels, and sewed up the side and bottom corner seam, then folded the flaps out and top stitched the windows in place.

The handle is simply the inseam cut to about 1 1/2 inches, then backed with a strip of fabric used in the tote.
Attach the handles to the front and back of the tote.

Brush with a stiff brush, or just toss in the washing machine.  Mine got washed twice before I was happy with the fray.  

Reshape, and done!

A pretty tote just in time for Mother's Day!

Have a fabulous weekend!


  1. Wow! this great! Thank you for linking up with Rustic Restorations Weekend!

  2. This bag is awesome! I love how you combined 2 techniques! Hope they do well on Etsy for you, I would think they should!


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