Jan 24 2011

New Leaf Folding Totes Sewalong: Part 1

Published by at 9:00 pm under Sewing

Many bags waiting to be sewn

Over the next two days I’ll be doing a sewalong for the New Leaf Folding Totes by Heather Bailey. The pattern itself is very good and has pretty good directions, but I always find it helpful to have photos to look at as well. This sewalong assumes you have purchased the pattern.

Cut out fabric

Start by getting all your pieces cut out. I was able to cut out the base pattern pieces by doubling up the fabric and folding it in half to cut both out at once. Technically this would make one of your pieces a little smaller than the other but I didn’t notice any issues when sewing.

For the long straight pieces (handles, band) I found it easier to just measure and use my rotary cutter and clear ruler to cut those.

Interfaced pieces

Go ahead and apply your interfacing. I used the Pellon Stacey SF101.

Pieces pinned and ready to sew

Next pin your pieces. I did my sewing a little out of order because I like to do as much sewing at once, followed by as much ironing and pinning. Lather, rinse, repeat. So above you can see that I’ve pinned my pocket in addition to the sides and band. I didn’t bother to pin my handles. I’ll get to those later. For now, go sew everything you’ve pinned.

Band side seam pressed open

Starting with the band, press open your seams.

Band folded over

Then fold in half, wrong sides together to make the band.

Band folded over

Next on to the pocket . . .

Clipping pocket corner

Clip the corners.

Pocket corner clipped

I give a little extra diagonal clip after the 45 degree one.

Pocket clipped

And clip your curves.


The pattern recommends sewing the handles, right sides together, trimming the seam allowance, turning right side out . . .

Ironed handles after turning

. . . and then top stitching.

Top stitched handles

You should feel free to do that if you have a turning tool. I did not. The best I have is some medical forceps:

Medical forceps

But it was still really hard to do and since I was making three of these bags I didn’t want to deal with the turning two more times.

So here’s what I did instead:

Handle Alternative step 1

I pressed in 1/2 inch on each side. Since it’s interfaced and it’s cotton, it held the fold pretty well.

Handle alternative step 2

Then I pinned the two sides together and top stitched down each side. This was nice and easy and fast.

The downside, it’s not going to be as strong as if you had sewn and turned inside-out since that method gives you an extra stitch down each side. However, in my opinion these bags aren’t big enough to hold enough to make them so heavy you would need that extra bit of strength — unless you’re filling them with lead blocks, I suppose. So this method works just fine for me.

Continue on to Part 2 of the sewalong.

Update: Part 2

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “New Leaf Folding Totes Sewalong: Part 1”

  1. […] the first part of sewalong if you missed it. Tomorrow I’ll show some finished […]

  2. […] New Leaf Folding Totes: Part 1 […]

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