With the arrival of spring, many will be preparing to get out in the garden for some much-needed maintenance after the colder months. Make it less of a chore with Stuart Hillard’s gorgeous tote bag for storing tools, plus a comfortable padded kneeler. Sewn from Amy Butler’s luscious Dream Weaver fabrics, they look so pretty that you may want to keep the tote for shopping, and turn the kneeler into a living room cushion!
- Large floral print fabric, 50cm x width
- Small floral print fabric, 1m x width
- Green fabric, 50cm x width
- Matching threads
- Single-sided fusible foam
- Cushion pad, 27.9cm x 50.8cm
- Tote: 41cm x 43cm
- Kneeler: 27.5cm x 66.5cm (including loop)
- Use a 6mm seam allowance throughout, unless otherwise stated.
Stitch a tote
1 From large floral print fabric, cut two 22.9cm x 45.7cm rectangles for the top of the outer bag, plus two 20.3cm x 45.7cm outer pocket fronts. From small floral print fabric, cut two 25.4cm x 45.7cm rectangles for the lower part of the outer bag, and two 45.7cm x 47cm rectangles for the bag lining.
2 From green fabric, cut two 22.9cm x 45.7cm rectangles for the pocket linings. Also, cut 3.2cm strips on the bias and join end to end to form a 2cm x 1.75m strip. Fold in half so it is 1cm wide. Cut two 45.7cm x 47cm rectangles of fusible foam for the main bag.
3 Stitch one of the 22.9cm x 45.7cm rectangles of large floral print fabric to a 25.4cm x 45.7cm rectangle of small floral print fabric to make a piece measuring 45.7cm x 47cm. Repeat to make a second panel, then press the seam allowances open.
4 Layer the two outer panels and the two 45.7cm x 47cm lining pieces in a stack. Download the template pack from the link button above, print out the handle template for this project, then pin this to the top 7.6cm above the seam line and cut the curved edge only. Also mark the handle opening on both outer bag pieces but don’t cut it open. Do not mark the handle opening on the lining pieces.
5 Fuse the shaped outer panels to the corresponding pieces of foam, adhering the wrong side of the fabric to the fusible side. Cut the handle openings out very carefully and trim the edges with sharp scissors.
6 Sew one 20.3cm x 45.7cm pocket front and one 22.9cm x 45.7cm pocket lining together along the long side to make a pieced panel 41.9cm x 45.7cm. Press the seam allowance towards the green fabric. Fold the pocket in half, wrong sides together to measure 21cm x 45.7cm. Press. You will notice that there is a faux binding on one side. Topstitch along the edge of this binding to finish the pocket. Repeat to make another.
7 Tack one of the prepared pockets to one of the outer panels, aligning the lower raw edges. Stitch at the mid-point creating two pockets. Repeat for the second pocket and outer panel. Pin the front and back of the bag right sides together. Sew along the straight sides and bottom edge using a 1cm seam allowance. Leave the top curved edges open.
8 Box the bag corners by bringing the side and bottom seams together and flattening the corner triangle. Mark a line 3.8cm in from the point of the triangle then sew on this line. Mark and sew both lower corners to box the bag. Turn right side out.
9 Sew the two lining pieces, right sides together along the straight sides and bottom, using a 1.3cm seam allowance. Box the corners at 3.5cm. Drop the bag lining into the outer bag, wrong sides together. Match the side seams, pin and tack. Pin around the handle opening, tack and cut the opening in the lining to match. Use the bias binding to bind the top curved edge of the bag and the handle openings.
Sew a kneeler
1 Cut large rectangles of three floral fabrics and sew them together to make two 29cm x 52cm panels, plus a 16cm x 43cm section for the kneeler handle. Cut another 16cm x 43cm rectangle of fusible foam.
2 Press the wrong side of the handle fabric to the fusible side of the foam. Fold in half, right sides together to create a 8cm x 43cm piece. Sew down the 43cm side and turn right side out. Centre the seam at the back and press. Topstitch the handle 6mm in from the outer edges.
3 Fold the handle in half and tack to the right side of one of the kneeler panels. Place the other panel on top, right sides together and sew around the four sides, leaving a gap for the cushion. Turn right side out. Insert a cushion pad and sew the opening closed by hand.