I am excited to share the tutorial for this wine tote bag that I mentioned earlier! I had fun playing around and coming up with the pattern. I have seen lots of patterns online for wine gift bags, but I wanted to make something that was more of a reusable wine tote, inspired by this BuiltNY tote. One of these would make a great housewarming, hostess, or holiday gift, but it would also be great to make and keep for yourself. I find we are often heading out to a dinner party or other gathering and grab a bottle of wine on the way out the door - and it ends up awkwardly stuffed in my purse, halfway sticking out. So I am sure we will get a lot of use out of these new totes! Even better, since they are made with two layers of quilt batting, if you wanted to really do it right, you could make one layer out of insulated batting and then the tote would help to keep white wine cool during transit, too. If you make a wine tote with this tutorial I would love to see how it turned out - you can share a photo in the Needle and Spatula Flickr group.
What you will need:
- Printout of Pattern PDF - DOWNLOAD HERE (note - I changed this from google docs because people were having trouble downloading and with the sizing - this should work better. Let me know if you have a problem).
- 2 fat quarters of fabric (or slightly less will work - see below for the pieces you need to cut)
- 4 rectangles of quilt batting, each 7.5"x16" plus two squares roughly 5"x5"
- About 1/2 yard of 1/2" double fold bias tape - I made my own for one bag and used pre-made for the other, either way is fine
- Coordinating thread
I used quilting weight fabric for both the outer fabric and the lining, but you could use home dec weight fabric on the outside and possibly skip one layer of batting and/or only lightly quilt it. I used a pretty lightweight batting and decided to double it up to give this project more heft, but if you used a high-loft batting you might only need one layer (two rectangles of batting rather than four). Also, the pattern as written is not too snug, if you want it to be more snug-fitting, you could make the outer fabric pieces below 6" wide rather than 6 and 3/8" wide.
The instructions below are for the simpler version with a single fabric on the outside and a single lining fabric - but you can easily piece two pieces together to make a two-fabric version of the outside (or you could do some other more complicated patchwork design). The most time-intensive part of this project for me was the quilting, if you want to do a quicker version you could significantly simplify or just omit the quiting and it would be fine.
Cut out the two pattern pieces from the printed-out pattern. Put the handle pattern piece aside for now and then cut the following pieces out of the fabric and batting (sorry the circle pieces are not pictured below):
- Out of the outer fabric, two rectangles 6 and 3/8"x15" and one circle (cut out according to the pattern) - I am using Robert Kaufman Metro Cafe as my outer fabric (love this!).
- Out of the lining fabric, two rectangles 7 1/4" x16" and a rough circle/square about 1/2" larger on all sides than the circle fabric piece - I am using Amy Butler Love as my lining fabric.
- Out of the batting, the rectangles described above (four 7.5"x16" rectangles) and also a rough circle/square about 1/2" larger on all sides than the circle pattern piece.
Using the handle pattern piece, on your outer pieces only, lay the fabric wrong side up and then place the pattern piece on the fabric so that the top of the handle is about 1/8" below the top of the rectangle. Then, trace the inside of the handle opening - you do not need to trace the top of the handle yet. Inside the oval that you traced, mark a dotted line about 1/4" in as shown below. Repeat on the second rectangle. The solid line will be your sewing line and the dotted line will be your cutting line (this is the only part of the pattern where you have to add a seam allowance).
Repeat on the batting with the same alignment as the lining fabric, except this time you only need to trace the oval, you do not need to add a dotted line/seam allowance.
Once you have traced the oval on the four fabric rectangles and the four batting rectangles, go ahead and cut out the inside of the ovals - on the dotted line/seam allowance for the pieces of fabric and on the solid line for the batting pieces.
Lay one piece each of the outer and lining fabrics together, right sides facing, and line up the oval holes, making sure the edges of the rectangles are parallel. Pin in place if you desire, then sew around the solid line of the oval. Clip from the seam allowance in to just before the seam (making sure not to cut the seam) in a few places at the tight curve at either end of the oval. Repeat for the other two rectangles. With the outer side on the top, lay two pieces of batting on top and align all of the ovals.
Reach through the hole and grab the lining fabric from the other side, and pull it through the hole. It will be kind of awkward at first as shown on the left below, but you should be able to tug at it and pull it into shape so that it lies mostly flat. You can iron if you need to to get both sides to lie flat.
With the outer side up, top stitch the oval handle 1/8" from the edge and then quilt each piece as desired (this just means sew all the layers together). If you have a free-motion quilting foot you can do free motion quilting but you can also do straight line quilting either with or without a walking foot and it should be fine. Be careful to quilt away from the handle so that you don't inadvertently end up with a weird bulge/fold there in your quilting. Or feel free to skip the quilting, it really is more decorative and the tote will work fine without it. Once you have quilted the pieces, lay the handle pattern piece on top and trace the top of the handle, then cut out the top of the handle shape (through all the layers) and also trim the bottom layers to match the top at the sides and bottom. Make sure the two pieces are the same height - you can trim further if necessary to get them to match. Also, I didn't take a picture of this but you should also make a quilt sandwich with the bottom circles and quilt that sandwich, then trim it to the actual circle shape of the top circle (outer fabric) - let me know if this is confusing.
From here, I tried a few different ways to do the construction and deal with the inside seams, so I will describe the options and you can choose what makes the most sense for you. The first version I sewed the side and bottom seams and then went back and covered them with bias tape, but this seemed more intensive then necessary. The second time (shown immediately below), I sewed the side and bottom seams and then I went back and zig-zagged over the seams, securing all the layers together. The third time (shown second), I zig-zagged the edges of each piece before I seamed it, which also worked fine and was a little easier on the machine than zig-zagging through all the layers (and easier to make sure I caught all the layers).
Whichever way you decide to do these final steps, as far as the actual construction goes, first you lay the two rectangle pieces with the handles right sides together and seam only the sides with 1/4" seam allowance (or slightly less) - do not sew the bottom edges together.
This is the edge where I zig-zagged it after seaming:
Then take the quilted circle piece and pin it in place in the bottom opening. You may have to tug it a bit to get it to line up, I find it helpful to pin it at each side at the seams first and then pin the rest of the way around each side. Sew a seam 1/4" in, being careful to catch all of the layers and removing the pins before you get to them.
Then on this version I zig-zagged it all in place after I seamed it:
Here is how it looked for the later bag where I zig-zagged before seaming:
Finally, you apply the binding to the top edge of the handle. As described in this tutorial, you can either sew it on all at once (one-step) or you can open it up and sew one edge, then fold it over and sew the other edge (two-step). I tried both and wasn't 100% thrilled with the way either one turned out but I guess I just need to practice more with bias tape. Either way, you will apply the bias tape with the bag still turned inside-out... it is a bit fussy to sew with the bag in the way but if you go slow you should be able to get it to work.
To do the two step approach, first you open the tape up and pin/place the open edge along the edge you are going to be applying it to. Make sure to fold the end over so that you get a neat seam, then sew along the first fold line. (If this isn't making sense and/or you haven't used bias tape before, check out a tutorial and hopefully that will help).
Sorry this picture is crummy, I ran out of light. After you sew it in place all the way around, flip it up and then fold it over to the other side.
Sew in place, either by sewing on the inside or the outside (your preference), making sure to catch the inside edge to secure it.
To do the one-step approach, you just slip the bias tape over the edge and sew it on, being careful to catch both the top and the bottom (this is the part I always have trouble with). You can be more sure to catch both layers if you use a zig-zag, so if you like the way that looks that is a bit easier. At the end, fold under the end before you sew it in place to make it look nice and finished.
Turn it right-side out and there you go, enjoy your new wine tote! I hope you like the tutorial, let me know if you have any questions or feedback!