These are illustrated instructions for making the new smaller totes that members of Christ the King Lutheran donate to the women’s shelter, Interact of Wake County. Originally we made larger totes with directions located here: Large Totes: Illustrated Example . A blog post I did for Peace Presbyterian church about these totes can be read here: Sewing Hearts Together: Working with InterAct .
Because Interact has been receiving suitcase donations that work better than the large totes, we redesigned the totes to this smaller, more useful design. This design includes two large outer pockets on each side and a smaller pocket inside.
The kits (available on the outreach table at Christ the King) should include a 20″ x 40″ piece of fabric, a small pocket, two 20″ long pockets, two handles about 51″ long each, and a sheet of instructions. If something is wrong or missing from your kit, call or email the address on the instruction sheet. Or just return the kit with a note about what’s wrong and take a different one.
The instructions in italics below are taken from the instruction sheet.
“Be sure all tote body (20″ x 40″ piece) outer edges are serged or zigzagged to prevent fraying.”
“Fold down ½” on both narrow ends of tote body and sew down to create the top edge of the tote. Can use a decorative stitch here if you wish.”
“Center the smallest, narrowest pocket to the INSIDE of one side of the tote and about 6½” from the top. Sew sides and bottom of pocket.”
Remember to center this pocket between the sides to avoid sewing the handles through it.
“Position matching pockets on outside of tote so they are 6″ from top of tote. Pin to each tote side. Sew the bottom of each long pocket (making sure the opening is toward the top of the tote). The sides will be sewn later.
Sometimes there is a mismatch between the width of the tote body and the the outer pockets. If in your judgement the mismatch is too big, then trim so that the sizes match. Sometimes this will require refinishing the edge if the serged or zigzagged part is cut off.
“Pin handles on outside pockets and outside of tote so that the loop extends 11” above the top of the tote. Evenly space and keep the inside smaller pocket between the handles to avoid sewing through the inner pocket, if possible. Sew handles in place down both sides of the handles’ outer edges and across the bottom. Create a box seam on the handle at top of tote to reinforce the seam here. Do this for each side.”
Turn tote RST and pin sides, lining up edges. Sew these seams twice sewing pockets into the side seams.
Create a 6” box bottom by pinching side seam at base of tote to create a triangle w/side seam of bag going exactly down the center. Mark a line 6” line across triangle keeping side seam centered. Stitch across marked line. Repeat at other corner. See illustration.** Turn tote right side out and you’re done!
The Finished Tote!
When you are finished, be sure to look over your work. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it shouldn’t be shabby. Watch out for weak seams, dangling threads or other obvious flaws that can be quickly remedied.
An assortment of totes that were completed on the Day of Service at Christ the King
Thanks for reading and let me know if anything needs to be made clearer.