Monday, February 16, 2015

I Love Lucy expanable tote bag


My sister and I are both fans of Lucille Ball and especially the tv show "I Love Lucy". This year, for my sister's birthday, my brother-in-law surprised her with a trip to see "I Love Lucy" Live on Stage. As her birthday drew closer, I was stumped as to what to make her for her birthday. Imagine my surprise when, as I was mindlessly roaming through JoAnn's, I stumbled across I Love Lucy fabric. What luck! The pattern of the fabric was big and bold. I loved it! So I scooped it up without a thought as to what I was going to make out of it.
Joann.com
The time came where I needed to decide what to do with it. I wanted to make little make-up/travel pouches, but the pattern was just too big. I could barely fit one Lucy face on a pouch. Instead, I finally listened to my mother and husband and decided on a tote bag. I wanted to make something a bit more stylish than a plain tote so I thought about how to create a small bag and that could then expand. I was inspired by the Crafty Gemini Inprov Tote tutorial and Deby Coles zipper tutorial to create this.

Materials used:
I Love Lucy Pop Art cotton fabric
Red and white polka dot cotton fabric
Fusible Fleece
Fusible Interfacing
9" Red Zipper (can cut a larger zipper down to 9" like I did)
3/4" D-ring
Swivel Hook
Magnetic Snap for purses and totes
Purse feet
Plastic Artist Mesh/Canvas
I started with 24"x26" fabric for the outside and inside using 1/2" seams. I boxed the corners at 3.5". I cut the handle fabric 2.5" wide, per the tutorial, sewn down to 1.5".

I added a 9" zipper pocket to one side and another open pocket to the other side of the lining that I split in half with a stitch line.

I had seen tutorials on inserting zippers using thin two sided tape, but I didn't have any on hand. Then I remembered seeing someone use scotch tape. So I gave it a go. It worked wonderfully. All you need to do is tape the zipper to the back of the fabric. I did have to adjust the alignment of the zipper a bit, but it was easy to do using this method. The tape isn't super sticky which makes it really easy to move the zipper around before sewing. When you're done aligning your zipper, simply sew as you normally would right through the fabric, zipper and scotch tape. Then just peel off the tape. I have to say, the tape is a real pain to remove, but totally worth the hassle. I would have spent much longer trying to fuss with the zipper if I had used pins and I probably would have had to re-sew it more than twice. With the tape method, it turned out perfect the first time I sewed it.



Once the lining was mostly put together, I added two 3/4" straps with a d-ring at the end of one and a swivel clasp at the end on another sewn to the sides. This is what I used to pull the sides in to make the tote small. Releasing the clasp will allow the bag to be used at full width.

One tip that for the feet and magnetic snap is to add a piece of fleece to the back of each and top-stitch around each to give further stability. Some insutructions for the magnetic snap say to bend the metal tabs out to the sides, but I find that it's better to bend them in to make it stronger.

Here's the finished expandable tote bag. It was a huge hit! Now to make one for myself. :)








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