This week we are going to make a reversible fabric vinyl tote bag from a new free pattern. I had planned to make a new skirt pattern but I just didn't have the right fabric. After our recent house move, this is the state of my sewing/art room at the moment…
However, I was able to find some vinyl and a nice print fabric from the part of my stash I can locate. I will have to go with what I have on hand and force myself to stay put and not run to the fabric store, much, I'm sure, to the satisfaction of my husband.
So here we go. This project is for the temperamental person like me who gets bored with the same bag but is running out space in the closet so should not make another one.
Ideally, this project is for the confident beginner who has made other simple bags and it is looking to expand her technique. The ability to sew a straight stitch and cut fabric in a straight line is imperative since all the seams need to match.
Tote bags are super functional and there are a plethora of fashionable styles. I prefer the kind I can change according to my mood and outfit.
A reversible fabric vinyl tote bag is my way to go. The vinyl side for a more upscale look and the fabric side for a more relaxed outfit. On either side, there is a bag you can use with confidence and style.
- One yard of vinyl
- One yard of lining fabric
- One yard of sew-in interfacing
- Thread to match
- One metal snap fastener 12.5mm(1/2″)
- Glue for vinyl
- Quilting clips, wired clips or easel clips
Fabric Recommendations from Fabric.com
Pattern LayoutSewing Your Reversible Fabric Vinyl Tote Bag
THIS IS THE FIRST PART OF THIS BAG there are another two tutorials coming soon.
We are going to start this fabric/vinyl tote bag by making the handles. See my self-critique on the handles at the end of this tutorial before you start. We will sew the bag in stages, first the fabric and interfacing, then the vinyl. Lastly, we will put it all together.
Sewing The Handles
Cut two strips of fabric that are 44″ (112cm) by 1 1/2″ (4cm) wide.
Make three lines 3/8″ apart, use the first and third ones as fold lines. Bring the edges of the handle to meet at the center by applying glue.
Put the handles aside. I have left them overnight to dry.
Attaching The Handles To The Vinyl
Mark the stitching/glue lines of the handles using your pattern. I have used an erasable pen.
Sewing The Strap
Apply glue to the wrong side of the vinyl along the area that is shown as a stitching line on your pattern. Leave the glue dry for about 5 minutes.
Attach the strap to the glued area.
Sewing The Fabric
Mark the middle of the front and back of the bag as shown in the picture below marked by the blue arrow.
Place the right sides together and sew the sides at 3/8″ (1cm). Leaving a gap of 6″ (15cm) to be able to turn the fabric print side out.
Attaching The Snaps
Glue the round vinyl pieces to the lining.
Open a hole in the middle and attach the snap using a kam tool.
If you do not know how to do it, follow this tutorial on how to apply snap fasteners:
If you don't have a traditional snap fastener, you can also use a magnetic snap. Here's a tutorial for placing this type of closure:
If you are using a magnetic snap, wait until the lining and the interfacing is sewn together to apply it.
Sewing The Vinyl And Stabilizer
Mark the middle of the front and back piece as it was done in the lining. Shown below in the picture below with the blue arrow.
Sew the sides at 3/8″ (1cm).
Sew the bottom at 3/8″ (1cm). This part is tricky for the beginner so I suggest you read through the tips I have given you on this post to successfully sew a curved piece.
Cut another bottom piece but take away the seam allowance and glue it to the wrong side of the bottom of the vinyl part. This step is so that the bag can stand on its own. It's optional but it will improve the look of your bag.
Repeat with the stabilizer. We will have three layers of material that we will put together in the next step in a slightly different way.
Assembling The Reversible Fabric Vinyl Tote Bag
Turn and glue the edge of the bag 3/8″ (1cm).
Finger press the edge to make sure the glue has taken both sides. Leave to dry for a few hours.
In the meantime, we can sew the interfacing and the fabric together.
Mark the placement of the magnetic snap over the small vinyl circle you have glued previously.
Place the right side of both fabric and interfacing together.
Sew the top edge will be sewn at 3/8″(1cm) making sure you will maintain strict seam allowance or the bag will not fit together. Reduce the seam allowance and turn the lining right side out through the gap you left on one of the sides.
Iron the fabric and interfacing together making sure you leave a crisp top edge.
Insert the fabric and interfacing inside the vinyl part. Use quilting, wired or easel clips to hold the layers together.
Apply glue to the vinyl layer limiting the amount to 3/8″ (1cm) then press the fabric/interfacing on top. This part will go slowly but it will join both sides together.
Let the reversible fabric/vinyl tote bag dry for at least an hour before topstitching.
Finally, close the gap in the fabric by using a running stitch with a needle and thread.
There are three things I would change to make the bag more interesting and better looking. Admittedly the weak spot in this bag are the handles. I would make the handles 3/8″ (1cm) wider and sew and glue a strip of the fabric on the side where the sides meet.
I would also like to explore the use of patchwork on the vinyl side to make it more attractive and tie in the lining with the vinyl. So I am giving myself a B- but since this is my sample I will go back to the working table and improve on my observations.
Do you agree with this critique?
Join me next week when I will be showing you.
- How to turn any bag into a crossbody bag.
- How to make an adjustable strap for any bag.
- How to make a reversible clutch.
- And I will be sharing my favorite blouse in the world (in the last decade)
I have to admit I am looking forward to your reversible fabric vinyl tote bag pictures on Instagram. I hope you take on the challenge and share your pictures with me using #soseweasyoffical, #soseweasypatterns #soseweasy. I'm very curious to see what interesting combinations everyone will come up with.
What other bag and combinations would you like to see? What would you add to the bag? Do let me know in the comments below. Happy Sewing!