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Ballerina’s Tote Bag ~ Free Tutorial ~ how to make your own ballet tote bag

January 18, 2012

Ballet Tote Bag

I’ve written a step-by-step tutorial for the most recent bag I made which is a ballet tote bag for my Little People’s friend’s birthday next week. I’ve made my Little People their own bags with different designs on and they love them, so am hoping a personlised one for their friend will go down well too.

Easy tutorial for a simple Tote Bag for a budding ballerina

Materials Needed

Main fabric (I used one piece of 35 x 60cm including seams, but you could just as easily use two pieces of 35cm x 30cm)
2 lengths of ribbon for the handles (I used a 48cm length for each handle)
Rectangle or square scrap of different material for the pattern (I used white cotton, 12cm x 18cm)
Fabric pen
thread (Contrasting thread)
fabric scissors
  1. Draw your silhouette onto the white fabric with the fabric pen and iron to secure.  Slightly fray the edges for a pretty effect.
  2. Using a zig-zag stitch, sew the ballerina silhouette onto the right side of the main material, making sure it’s central width-ways. (Pic.1 & Pic.2) 
  3. We’re now going to stitch an initial outline onto the outside of the bag by using a template inside (a bit like appliqué but without the extra material showing); Draw your initial onto a bit of kitchen towel and, making sure it’s the right way round for the design to come out the right way round on the outside of the material, pin it to the inside of the bag. (Pic. 3) When done, you can just tear the tissue/kitchen towel away.
  4. Pin your ribbon handles in place and fold the top of the bag over two times to contain the loose threads. (Pic. 4) Pin in place and stitch over two times (Pic. 5) making sure you secure it by back stitching a couple of times at each end.
  5. Next, stitch the side seams closed with the bag fabric right-sides together. (Pic. 6)
  6. Then use a zig-zag stitch to keep the loose threads in place. (Pic. 7)
  7. We’re going to ‘square’ the corners to give the bag a flat bottom. Turn the bag on its side (still inside out) and, holding onto one of the corners from the bottom of the bag, lay it out so that the corner makes a triangle, and the bottom of the bag lies flat against the sides of the bag. (See Pic. 8)
  8. Measure a width across the triangle (I measured about 5cm) and draw a line. I used crayola washable pens as the Little People leave them lying around, they come in nearly ever colour I could wish for and they wash out nicely!). (Pic. 9). Stitch across this line (Pic.10), turn the right way out (Pic. 11 shows the bag from the side with the ‘squared’ corner)
  9. You’re done! Made By Yours Truly. Now add the ballet shoes and paraphernalia and sit back and admire the dancing bag.

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