Friday 26 October 2012

Tute - A Tiny Tote for a Tiny Tot

Go on, say it fast!!
So, I was "commissioned" recently, by my daughter (best customer), to make some cookies a la Zakka, for the daughter of her friend. The little one is going to be two soon and is having a play kitchen for her birthday, hence the food related gift.
Instead of placing the cookies into a box, I thought a wee shopping bag would fit the bill and it took no time at all - I thought those of you with Tiny Tots on your Christmas Lists might like to see how I usually make my totes. This one finishes up about 7" x 7.5". Once you grasp the technique, you can use it to make big totes, sleeves for gadgets, pouches for rotary cutters, camera cases, spectacle cases - endless possibilities.
Without further ado - here goes with the tutorial.

Ingredients -

8 charms - or you can cut from scraps. Two should be your "focus" squares, perhaps a novelty print.
Lining fabric - 16.5" x 8.5" (about half a fat quarter)
Flat wadding/batting - 18" x 10"
Grosgrain ribbon - I used half inch wide - about 0.5m or 20"

Cut the two focus charms to 4.5" square
Cut one further charm to 4.5" square.
Cut four charms into 8, 2.5" x 4.5" pieces.
Cut one charm into 4, 2.5" squares.

Lay the pieces out as in the diagram below. One focus charm will end up in the centre of the front of the bag, one on the centre of the back. If the charms have a one way design, position the top one facing upwards, and the bottom facing downwards - very thin arrows on the diagram, sorry.
Stitch the patches in each row together, using a 1/4" seam. Press seams in opposite directions from one row to the next. Stitch the rows together, matching the seams as carefully as you can. 
Drat - got a twisted seam - don't look!
Now lay the bag onto your wadding/batting. You can use a temporary adhesive spray, or tack/baste the two layers together or do as I did and just put in a few pins. Quilt as desired (sorry, couldn't resist) I quilted on either side of every seam using a nice, variegated pink thread.

The quilting will have pulled things in a little - trim away excess wadding. Mine ended up measuring 16.25" x 8.25". Trim your lining to the same size.
Cut two pieces of ribbon for the handles, each measuring 10". You could of course, make fabric handles, if you prefer.
I positioned each handle so that the outside edge of the ribbon was level with the seam line. Take care not to twist the handles. Pin and stitch down.
Take your lining and place it over the bag, right sides together with edges nice and even. Pin, and stitch along the short edges. I kept my walking foot on for this and aimed for a 1/4" seam but it's not vital.

Now grab the bag by the lining - carefully press the seams towards the lining just to get everything flat and tidy.

Turn it back so that it's right sides together again, but with the two lining halves face to face, and the two tote pieces, face to face.
Stitch the sides together, leaving a gap of 3" to 4" for turning. In the next pic I have placed a slip of paper on the right to show the approximate gap.
This is a Tiny Tote so I decided not to "box" the corners. I did snip them though to reduce a little bulk.
And now - the birthing moment! Carefully turn the bag through the gap.Close the gap by hand stitching or by machine stitching (that's what I do, as close to the edge as I can.)
And voila! One side..........

and the other,.......

and the cookies? I followed the pattern in the Zakka book, but bonded "icing" shapes onto the felt instead of using beads for sprinkles - safer for a Tiny Tot.

All ready for a teddy bears' picnic

The star of this little picnic is Heather, I think this might be her first time on t'internet...........she is very old, some might say even as old as me! However I don't as yet, spend all day sitting about in a dressing gown!
For those who are interested in such beary things, I believe she might be a Chiltern Ting a Ling bear, circa 1953!
I hope you enjoyed the tute - if you decide to make a Tiny Tote for a Tiny Tot I would love it if you added a photo to my flickr group - bluepatchquilters. 


  1. This wee bag is really cute, and now that you've explained it, simple too. Cheers! :D

  2. A really lovely present and tutorial but I'm afraid my heart has been captured by Heather (and her dressing gown)!

  3. Fabulous Sheila - thanks for sharing. Will have to make a larger version for me!!!

  4. Love the tute and the tiny tot tote!

  5. I like the way the bag went together (lining to lining bit). It is a very sweet tote. Di x

  6. Great idea for a gift - I may be tempted to copy!

  7. Great tutorial and thanks for lots of photos. Sweet fabric choices.

  8. Made the mistake of reading this with the girls looking over my shoulder!

  9. great tutee Sheila. Love those cookies, very cute!

  10. What a great little tote and I love those cookies!

  11. Lovely cute wee bag Sheila. I have been looking for a pattern for a jester bag so that I can make some for Halloween. Do you have one you could send me? I have a jester bag here that Caryl gave me - if all else fails I will just reverse engineer it. It is hard to believe that there isn't a pattern anywhere on the internet for a jester bag :-)

  12. Its Sunday evening and a couple of Champers have stopped me from concentrating FULLY on your instructions. But I smirked at the "birthing" Moment and positively snorted at Heather. Is she wearing Pressure socks for her varicose veins?

    You are so clever Sheila. Love that wee bag.



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