Make Your Own Pom Pom ‘Toorie’ Tutorial

Highland Dance Pom Pom Toorie Tutorial r

As part of making my Highland Dancing Balmoral Bonnet tutorial (coming soon!) I needed to make a ‘Toorie’ more commonly known as a pom pom.  I thought the original tutorial was getting way too long, so here is a separate one just for the pom pom!  The above Balmoral Bonnet was given to me for Hannah, and is not the one I am making but it has a Toorie to show you!

Continue reading “Make Your Own Pom Pom ‘Toorie’ Tutorial”

Adult Colouring (Coloring) Pencil Roll


Since adult colouring (coloring) in books are all the rage at the moment I thought I better make a cute little pencil roll tutorial!  What a great way to store your pencils, they can bounce around in your bag without risking all the sharp points and they won’t rattle too!  I have to admit I am quite partial to colouring in but I usually end up colouring in with the kids in one of their colouring in books.  Drawing little doodles is fun too…no matter what you like to draw this is a great way to keep those pencils safe!


The hard part is deciding what order to keep them in…the kids had already snuck off with my new pencils so not much change of arranging them as they were!  I do like the rainbow(ish) method, it’s just fun to see if you can merge them into one another.


Then it dawned on me…should I be keeping my pencils this way around???  It would leave the points even more protected due to the bias edge at the bottom, and they are easier to put in and take out.  I’ll give this way a trial!

What you will need

  • Fabric – Two pieces, one for the inside and one for the outside.  The outside piece will be visible on both sides so make sure it is not one that has an obvious right or wrong side.  I used a medium to heavy weight for the flat layer (Black and white check) and a regular cotton blend for the pencil slots (floral). You will need both cut to 39cm (15 3/8”) x 29cm (11 1/2”)  This is depended on your pencil sizes.  See Step 1 below!
  • Bias Binding, all double fold.
    • 42cm (16 1/2”) – Bottom
    • 99cm (39”) – Sides and top
    • 76cm (37”) – Ties
  • General – Thread, Sewing Machine, Iron, Fabric pencil/marker

NOTE: Please read the whole tutorial before you start!


Step 1 – Checking your measurements


How wide do the pencil slots need to be?  I used piece of scrap fabric to check.  Mine needed to be 15mm or 5/8” wide.  This allowed a little give around the pencil but they still fit pretty snuggly to prevent them all sliding out when you open it.  Secondly I have a set of 24 pencils, 24 x 15mm is 360mm plus another 15mm allowance on each side, mine needed to be 390mm (39cm or 15 3/8”) wide. 

For the height I took the length of the pencil (175mm, 17.5cm or 6 7/8”) and added 15mm (5/8”) for the bottom bias seam, which took me to 19cm (7 1/2”).  Now I just needed to add extra for the folding flap at the top, I decided on 10cm (4”), which took the total height to 29cm (11 1/2”).


So with those sums out of the way I knew I needed two rectangles 39cm (15 3/8”) by 29cm (11 1/2”).  There they are cut out above!  While you are measuring cut your pieces of bias to length.  You should have three pieces.


Step 2 – Attaching the layers


Take your inside fabric and fold in half with the right sides facing each other.  You can see it is the short side that are now folded in half.  Press with your iron.


Lay the folded piece on top of the flat piece, lining the raw edges up at the bottom and sides.


Sew around the outside using a small seam allowance (1/4” ish), you won’t see this seam after you have attached the bias binding (tape) anyway.  That is all the layers attached!


Step 3 – Make Pencil Slots


If you are using a fabric pencil make sure it is nice and sharp, guess whose pencil sharpener I had to borrow!  It is often good to have a couple of colours of pencil if you are using patterned fabric.  I couldn’t see the white very well on the lighter areas of the flowers but the blue worked a treat.


Using a ruler (or tape measure but a ruler is easier to keep straight) mark out 15mm (1.5cm or 5/8”) intervals.  Make sure you start measuring from the outside edge of the fabric not from the seam you sewed earlier!!!


Repeat this step on the bottom edge too.


Then using your ruler join all the intervals to mark out where the pencil slots will go.  Now would be a good time to count them to make sure you have it right!  Remember not to count the gap closest to the seam on each side.

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I like to sew these in a U shape (see red lines added to photo above) so that I don’t have to cut the thread at the top and bottom every time.  Pin in a few places so that it stays flat.


Here is how it will look.  Remember to test your pencil to make sure that you have got the measurements right!!!


If you look at the top you can see that I have reversed over the edge slightly a few times to make sure that the stitching was secure.  I don’t want it to come undone later, although it would be very easy to fix!


A little hard to see but there they are all done, glad I bought 24 pencils not the 36 pack!!


Step 4 – Finish the Bottom Edge – Bias Binding (Tape)


Check you piece of bias against your bottom edge to make sure it is long enough.  I like to do the bottom separately but if you want to do the whole lot in one go, feel free!  Just keep in mind that the sides have a bit of seam allowance to remove.


Pin your bias along the bottom, on the back (outside) of the fabric.  As you can see you sew in the crease nearest the raw edge, so make sure that this crease is far enough over to cover any of stitching underneath.


Trim off any excess so that the bias can fold over neatly.


Fold over and pin in place, on the right side (inside).


Sew nice and close to the edge, and there is your bottom bias attached.  There are many other ways to attach bias I have a tutorial on that here.


Step 5 – Finish the Top and Sides – Bias


First of all we need to round the top corners.  I like to use whatever is closest and this case it was an old yoghurt container that I use as a little scrap bin on my sewing table.  I have used rolls of elastic, ribbon, cups and saucers…it can be anything that is round and the size you want!


It should look a little like this.  I also trimmed of the selvage edge while I was cutting, this fabric had a quite frilly edge I didn’t want any threads getting under my bias stitching.


Pin the bias on the same way as you did for the bottom edge.  You will need to leave a little over hang at both bottom edges.  Remember that the sides have an extra 15mm (1.5cm or 5/8”) edge on them.  So pin the crease you are sewing in just on the raw edge side of the first pencil slot.

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Here you can see what I mean, you need to pin the crease roughly where the red line is.  We will trim the excess off later so don’t worry about the bias not fitting around.


It is also time for inserting the ties.


Sew the open side together, and tie the ends in a knot.  I haven’t used the knot method before I usually sew the ends folded like I did for these drawstrings, which can be little fiddly.  Then, on a blog called ‘Craftiness in not optional’ I saw that Jess tied the ends on her gorgeous Baby Boy Baprons.  What a great simple way to finish the ends and it looks pretty cute too!


Cut your tie in half, and insert underneath the pinned bias about 10cm (4”) down from the top of the pencil slots.  Put one tie above this measurement and one below.



Sew over them a few times for a bit of extra strength!


Then it should look like this! Trim off the excess around the outsides so that the bias will fold over nicely.


Fold over and pin in place just like you did for the bottom edge.


I open out the bottom pieces and tuck them in neatly.  Full instructions on my Book bag tutorial if you’re having trouble figuring that bit out.


Sew close to the edge just the same as the bottom bias, make sure your ties are tucked out of the way!


Step 6 – Add your pencils!!


You may want to put them in the other way up!  I think that way the points will be more protected.  I also made sure there were no seams in the pencil slots so that when your pencils get shorter and disappear inside you can still slide them up without getting caught on a fancy edge.


I hope you enjoyed the tutorial, have fun colouring in!

Book Bags + Waterproof Lining = Easy As!

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I don’t know about yours but my kids seem to ruin book bags at an astonishing rate!  The plastic backing peels off in places in about three seconds flat.  So why not make my own!  And I’ll give you the usual step by step instructions so even the newest beginner can make one too!

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What you will need

  • Fabric
    • Outer – a medium weight fabric is ideal.  Like Cotton duck or lightweight denim.  As it is double layered you don’t want to go too thick.
    • Lining – PUL waterproof fabric.  This is often used for making modern cloth nappies, and can be found online and in fabric stores (mine came from spotlight).
  • Thread
  • Bias Binding – You will need two pieces one of 33cm (13”) and one of 120cm (47.25”)
  • Domes – 2 sets (or you can use Velcro)

This design is based on the school book bags my kids already use.


Step 1 – Cut fabric

Book Bag Rectangle Pattern

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All you need is a rectangle of outer fabric and one exactly the same size for the lining.  Make sure if you have a pattern (like my elephants) that they are up the right way.


Step 2 – Attach Bias Binding to bottom edge

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Lay your pieces with the wrong sides facing each other.  This means that the right sides of the fabric are on the outsides.

NOTE:  Please read ahead if this isn’t making sense!  Then you will be able to see how the fabric folds to make the book bag!

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Now we need attach the bias to the bottom, this piece of bias will be the inside part of the opening later once folded.  Insert both layers of fabric into the middle fold of the bias.

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Then peg in place.  You can use fabric clips or bulldog clips too.  You can also pin if you prefer, the reason I haven’t pinned is to prevent any unnecessary holes in the waterproof lining.

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Once the whole edge is pegged/clipped/pinned we can sew it on.  If your bias is slightly narrower on one side than on the other, sew with the narrow side up so that you don’t risk missing the underneath layer.

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I don’t recommend sewing over pins, but well pegs I’m sure I don’t have to mention to remove them as you go!  Sew nice and close to the edge of the bias.

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And it should look like above!


Step 3 – Sew Layers Together

I prefer to sew the two layers together before adding the next bias as it will be folded and four layers thick.  You would be very likely to not catch every layer, especially since the PUL lining is quite slippery on one side.

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So peg/clip/pin all the way around the fabric.  All except the bias edge that is already joined.

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Sew with a very narrow 1/8” seam allowance.  This seam will not be visible after you attach the bias binding, so don’t worry if it is not perfect!


Step 4 – Round the Top Corners

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You will need to fold the bias edge up as shown in photo above.  Adjust it till the folded piece is 35.3cm (14”), as you can see on the measuring tape in the photo.

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Grab something big and round!  The closest thing near me was my roll of elastic, you could use a saucer, ribbon reel etc.  And mark out the curve on the lining side.

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Repeat on the other side, so that both sides are roughly even.

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Stitch along the drawn line.

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Now you can trim away the excess and you have a nice curve!


Step 5 – Attaching Bias Binding to Remain Seams

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Recheck that the fold is still in the correct position

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Pin the bias in place.  Leaving a tab at each end for folding in later.  I have used this method for attaching bias many times, the first part is the same as in my Bandana-ish Bib Tutorial.

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Yes I did use pins this time, as you can see I have made sure to stay inside the seam line (fold closest to the raw edge) to prevent extra holes.  Attaching bias around corners needs pins!

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Starting at one end sew all the way around in the fold closest to the raw edge.

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When you get to the top of the pocket where the bias sits in your seam, sew over it then reverse and sew over it again.  Then carry on the rest as normal.  These few extra stitches will give this area a bit of extra strength, when the kids pull on it trying to get their book in there!

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Folding the ends of the bias is a little fiddly but can give a great result!  Sometimes photos just describe it so much better.  So that are the four steps in photos.

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Now back to the pegs I go!  This is quite thick now so I find it easier with the pegs, than trying to pin through so many layers.

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Time to sew!  You sew this just the same way as the first bias.  Start from one end and sew all the way around to the other end.

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Don’t forget to or over the opening area an extra time!

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Step 6 – Attach Domes or Velcro

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I won’t show you all the dome steps this time.  I have detailed instructions in my Baby Doll Nappy (Diaper) Tutorial if you would like to read those.

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If you are using Velcro you can use one piece in the centre if you wish.  Just position and sew around the edge to hold in place.


Step 7 – Add a Label

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If you want to add a label you can!  If you have an in-seam label then hopefully you tucked it into the bias binding earlier!

* Great tip!!!  Use glue stick to hold your label in place while sewing.  Just put the glue on the back of your label and stick in place.  Then sew around the edges, and you are finished.  When I remember where I saw this I will credit accordingly!

Triangle Folding Pouch

I used to have this cute little triangle red leather coin purse as a child.  I have no idea where it has ended up, but with more than 30 house moves in my first 20 years of life it probably got lost somewhere along the way!  Making my kids a coin purse out of the pockets I use for the Diabetic Insulin Pump Bands reminded me of the little triangle one.

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Why not fabric instead of leather?

Well I couldn’t think of a reason and if I’d had any leather I probably would’ve used it.  But there are just so many more patterns and colours available in fabric!

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It opens the same pocket from both sides so you don’t need to work out which way is up.  I was quite intrigued as a child to try and work out how it worked!

As long as your fabric is not too thin (or thick for that matter!) it should work fine.  There is nothing to stop you using interfacing or layer up a few layers either.

What you’ll need,


Step 1 – Print Pattern

This pattern is in A4 size but should print on any size paper as long as you use the ‘print in actual size’ option, or uncheck the ‘scale to fit’ option.  Measure the 2.54cm (1”) square to be sure.  The finished size is 13cm (5”) on each edge.

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Using a craft knife or scissors, cut around the pattern.

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Step 2 – Cut Fabric

There are two ways to do this, with a fold on one long side or two separate pieces of fabric.  For this tutorial I will show you the folded option, but I’ll add a few photos and explain the separate pieces option too.

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Fold your fabric right sides facing (I know mine is right side facing out but my daughter liked the wrong side better!) and lay one long edge on the fold, then trim around the pattern leaving a 1cm (3/8”) edge around the outside.  This doesn’t need to be accurate so just eyeball it!

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For the separate pieces you need to leave the 1cm (3/8”) edge all round the pattern.


Step 3 – Mark the edge of the pattern

Using fabric markers (I use dressmakers pencils) draw your pattern onto your fabric.

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I used a ruler and drew just around the edges of my pattern piece.

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You can see the blue lines on the folded version above.

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On one short side mark 2.54cm (1”) in from the ends.  This is the opening to turn it right side out.  The pencils are pointing to the marks, they are a little hard to see!


Step 4 – Sew Outside Edge

Time to sew along your drawn line.

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Remember to leave the gap between your marks open, so you will need to sew the small piece separately.  For the separate piece option you can just sew from one side of the opening right round to the other side.


Step 5 – Turn Around

We just need to trim the corners to get a nice fold in the corners.

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Time to turn it right side out!

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I like to use my dressmakers pencil (with the lid on!!!) to push out the corners from the inside.

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All that’s left is to press it flat with your iron.  Fold the opening in to match the rest of the side.

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Step 6 – Topstitch

You all need to topstitch the right round the edge, this will also close the hole used to turn it around.  Fairly close to the edge is best.

The diagonal seams are optional.  You only really need to do these if your fabric is thin.  This helps stiffen the fold and stops it sagging allowing you coins to fall out!  If you have fairly thick or stiff fabric then you can skip this step.

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Mark the points or the triangles on the long sides (one on each side).  Then draw the lines on using a ruler.

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A little hard to see!  But the blue lines are there, now you just need to stitch over them.  I do this in one go starting from the top left (in the photo) and follow the zigzag to the bottom right.

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Step 7 – Folding it up

It is really very simple to fold up.  With the inside facing up fold on the line the pencil is laying on.  I pressed mine first to make it easier to show you!

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Now head to your iron and press in the creases.


Step 8 – The Domes

The last step is to attach the domes.  I have detailed instructions for these in my Baby Doll Nappy (Diaper) Tutorial if you’d like more info.

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My dome set came with a pointed tool to make the holes for the domes.  I use this to make the first hole in the centre near the end of the point.

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Then I mark the place the point lands on the layer underneath.

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Place the first dome on the outside.

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Then the matching internal one.  You will need to fold open your pouch to do this one.

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Repeat on the other side and folded out it will look like this.

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Enjoy your new pouch!  I hope you like them as much I do!

Tote Style Handbag Tutorial Free

Tote Style Handbag Tutorial (FREE!)

Welcome to my Tote Style Handbag Tutorial! I love handbags but am always struggling to find one I like.  No matter which brand I buy, they fall apart after not nearly long enough for my liking!  So I thought I would make my own!  This one has an optional Internal Pocket.

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My Tote Style Handbag had its first outing to the Fishing Club for lunch.  The verdict…I love it!  It’s just the right size for me, it can fit everything including my cardi when I got too hot.  Perfect!

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I wouldn’t just make one to show off and not share the pattern and tutorial with you!  That wouldn’t be fair would it!


Back to the beginning…I bought this fabric on a weekend away in Hamilton a couple of months ago.  When I saw it in the shop I just had to have it!  Even though I had no idea what I wanted to use it for, I bought a couple of meters anyway.  Probably have enough to make 10 Tote Style Handbags!

What you will need to make my Tote Style Handbag

  • Fabric – Measurements in Chart Below!
    • Heavy(ish) Fabric like cotton duck or denim is ideal.  I washed mine first to be sure it would wash well later…it’s amazing how dirty handbags get!
    • Lining can be lighter weight than the outside but doesn’t need to be.  I used a lightweight denim.
    • Internal Pocket Fabric of your choice.
  • Zips (Optional)
    • 35cm (a little less than 14”) Zip for top opening
    • 18cm (7”) for Internal Pocket

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Step 1  – Cut your Fabric

I haven’t created a PDF printable for this pattern as it is all rectangles!  Check out the chart below for the measurements and quantities.

Pattern Diagram Tote Style Handbag

Step 2 – Sew Main Pieces Together (*Only if using 2 piece pattern for patterned fabric)

This really is as easy as it sounds.  Lay your fabric with the right sides facing and pin the bottom side together.  Match your pattern up if you wish, but the seam will be on the bottom of the bag so won’t really be seen.

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Sew with a 1cm (3/8”) seam allowance.

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I then overlocked the seam for extra strength, as the bottom will carry a bit of weight.  Zigzag or an overlock stitch on your regular machine will be fine too.

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Press the seam over ready to topstitch.

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As you can see I haven’t matched my pattern.  It didn’t worry me as it is on the bottom of the bag.

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Topstitch the pressed seam, making sure you are sewing on the side the seam is folded under on.  So that the topstitch will hold it nicely flat and again provide extra strength.

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Step 3 – Adding Internal Pocket (Optional!)

Take your lining piece, and lay it down flat right side facing up.

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You will now need to sew your insert pocket.  Due to the length this tutorial would be all in one, I have added a separate tutorial for Sewing Internal Pockets.  Head over there to complete this step.

Step 4 – Sewing Up the sides

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Fold fabric piece in half right sides facing and pin side seams together.  Sew both sides, I again like to overlock for added security.

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You can repeat this step for the lining piece too!  Whether you chose to do the internal pocket or not the steps are the same.

Step 5 – Boxing Out the Bottom

Now we need to box out the bottom corners.  Get your ruler (or measuring tape is fine too) ready!

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Measure 5cm (2”) up the side seam and mark with a pin (or washable marker/pencil).

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Measure 5cm (2”) in from the SIDE SEAM (not from the edge of the overlocking) and mark again.

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After I have pinned I like to add a pencil (washable marker) mark.  You can do this straight away instead of pinning, but it was easier to show the measurements with the pin over the ruler!

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Fold the fabric so that the two marks (pins) line up.  I use my pin to ensure the marks line up.  Pin in place.

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Being careful to stay square pin out to the edge of the fold.  I’m sure there is a fancy way to make sure you stay straight but I just eye ball it, as long as it looks right it will be fine!

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Sew along the pinned line.  Then overlock just next to the seam.  You can also zigzag and trim away the excess.

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Now that you’ve got it sorted, you get to practice it three more times on the the other corners!  By that I mean the bottom corners of the main fabric and the bottom corners of the lining.

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Step 6 – Making the Straps

I made my straps using the same fabric as the bag, but you can  mix it up with different fabric or even webbing straps.  To make the fabric straps you will need to have cut out the two strap pieces on the chart.

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Fold in half lengthwise with the right sides facing (Use a small seam allowance here – see photo!)

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Turn the straps around the right way.  I have created some photo steps to show you how I do it.

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Then feed the safety pin down through the tube, you may need to help it turn at the end it is gathering at by pulling the outside layer over top of the inside one.

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Now you will need to press it flat.  You may need to wiggle it to make sure it is not folded in at the seam.

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Now the last thing for the straps is to topstitch both sides to give the strap some strength and rigidity.

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Woo hoo!  Another step closer to the finish line!

Step 7 – Attach Straps

With your main fabric the right side facing out

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Lay the straps on top of the bag in this rough layout.  Then better grab that ruler again!

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Measure 10cm (4”) in from the side seam, and leave 2.5cm (1”) of the strap over hanging the edge.  Pin in place.  Repeat for the other half of the same strap.

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To do the other side turn the bag over and lay flat making sure the side seams are at the folds.  That way you can match the straps up with those on the opposite side, without having to measure again!

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Sew all four straps in place, I like to go over them a few times to be sure.  I used the edge of my presser foot for the seam allowance, so as long as your seam allowance is less than 1cm (3/8”) that way the stitching won’t be visible later on.

Step 8 – Join the Outer Fabric and Lining Together

Tuck the outer part of the bag inside the lining.

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Line up the raw edges.

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Pin at the two seams first.  I like to fold one seam in each direction so that it sews nicely and will fold over neatly.  I use two pins to keep it in place.

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You can pin all the way around the top of the bag, but you do need to leave a 10cm (4”) gap to turn the bag around the right way.  If your fabric is very thick you may like to leave a little more.  I use different coloured pins to mark the opening, double pinning also works well!

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Sew starting from the edge of the gap and sew all the way right round to the other gap marker.  Reverse a few stitches at each end (or lockstitch).

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Time to turn the bag around the right way.  Push it all through the gap you left.  Here is another set of photo steps!

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Once you have it around the right way press the seam with your iron.  Fold the opening pieces to match the rest of the edge.

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Pin the opening closed and topstitch the whole top edge to secure the seam.  This will also close the opening.

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If you are not adding a top zip then you are finished!

Step 9 – Add Top Zip (Optional)

Change to your zipper foot if you have one!

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Pin the zip in place on one side of the bag, I folded the tabs at the ends of the zips back in underneath the zip.  It’s OK to have a little gap at either end.

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Starting sewing down your topstitching seam at the open end of the zip, with the zipper head moved out of the way.  Sew up to the zipper head and stop with the needle in the fabric.  Lift the presser foot and move the zip head past the presser foot.  Lower the foot and carry on sewing till the end.  And guess what? …Yep another set of photo steps!

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Once you have sewn all the way down the one side of the zip it should look like this.

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With the zip closed pin the two strap areas in place.  This is so that the straps line up when the zip is closed.

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Then open the zip to make it easier to pin the rest in place.

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Again sew from the open end, you may need to swap sides with your zipper foot (or needle position settings).

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You will get to this point where it gets hard to reach.  Again leaving the needle in the fabric lift the presser foot and move the zipper head past the foot.

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Once you have done that you should be able to wriggle it around to get to the end.

Speaking of getting to the end…YOU MADE IT!!!  I hope you love it as much as I do, AND I would love to see a photo of your Tote Style Handbag creation.  Email, Instagram or Facebook me!

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Congratulations on your new Tote Style Handbag!