The Ollie Bag Mini Tote

September 18, 2013 in Projects

Its that time of year again.  The pools close, the house is quiet (at least, quietER), and my youngest is ready to start preschool.  Of course he wants to be like his big brothers and have his own school bag.  And he should have one, you know, to hold his one scribbled paper that I will proudly display on my fridge every Tuesday and Thursday.   But, he is just barely 3 and way too small for the boys hand me down backpacks and too small for the bazillion totes I own. Plus, I’m too cheap and too creative to spend $50 on those really cute tiny ones that Pottery Barn Kids sell.  I figured I could make one that was just as cute as PBK.  I think I came close.

Introducing, “The Ollie Bag”.

Totally Stitchin': The Ollie Bag

Its a mini tote, just the right size for our little preschoolers, or for trick or treat bags or for gift bags or for whatever you want to put in it bag!  Here is how I did it:

1. Cut 4 pieces of fabric (2 interior, 2 exterior) at 12″ x 16″

2. Cut 2 pieces of fabric 5.5″ x 6.5″ – I used that for the pocket

3.  I also cut out an “o” but you could cut out a child’s favorite animal, their initials or nothing at all.  Its all about preference and what makes your life easy.  An O was much easier then a tractor! 🙂

4. Cut your handles (or make your handles) to measure 17″ long. You should have two of them!

Totally Stitchin': The Ollie Bag

5.  Make your pocket first.  Sewing on your letter, animal, person or item of interest first on one of the pocket pieces.  Next you will sew the pocket pieces together by sewing together right sides.  Make sure to leave an opening at the bottom of the pocket to pull the fabric through.

6. Once the fabric is pulled through and pressed – making sure to press in your “hole” you left open to pull the fabric through..  Sew it on the front piece of the exterior fabric with the bottom of the pocket facing the bottom of the exterior fabric – imagine that!.  Then sew around both sides and bottom, leaving the top open as your pocket.  This will be a top stitch so make sure you use thread that matches.

7. Sew the straps on the exterior fabric.  I like my handles a little more spread apart so I placed then at 2″ from the sides.  The handles will be sewn on the top of the exterior piece with the handles pointing down.  I know it seems unnatural but trust me, when we finish it, they will be facing the right direction.  Make sure to secure the handles in place by sewing over then a few times.   I use a 1/4″ seam allowance for this.

8. Sew the exterior pieces together.  Right sides together, the handles will make it a little bulky but if you pin all the sides you should get a nice straight stitch.  Stitch bottom and both sides, leaving the top open.

9. You can either box your corners if you’d like or skip.  Again, preference and easy my friends!

10. Pull the bag through.  You should now have an exterior completed.

11.  Take your two interior pieces and sew them together right sides but make sure when you sew one of the sides you leave an opening about  5″-6″.  We will need to pull the entire bag through this hole.  So – sew the bottom, sew one side completely and the other side leave your hole closer to the bottom so its easier to sew up.  Leave the top open.

12. Once that is done put the exterior piece into the interior piece.  I know it sounds weird, but trust me!  Make sure your interior piece is the wrong side out and make sure the handles are in between the interior and exterior piece.  Once you have everything lined up and in place, sew across the entire top of the bag.  I use a 1/2″ seam allowance for this step.

13.  Pull the entire bag through the hole that you left on the interior piece.  Look…the handles are the right way and the bag actually looks like a bag!  Before you stuff the interior in the bag you’ll need to sew up the opening.

14. Once the interior is stuffed back into the bag, top stitch the top of the bag to reinforce the top.

15.  Sit back and pat yourself on the back.  Job well done!

Totally Stitchin': The Ollie Bag

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