Gusseted Tote Bag tutorial…part 2

Okay, now you have a completed shell and the liner is cut out. Time to get going again.

Step 7: Gussets. That word used to put a chill up my spine but they really are easy once you done a couple.

Pinch together a corner of the bag… thumb on the side seam and index finger on the bottom seam (or put your thumb on the bottom seam and your index finger on the side seam, either way works!). You want these two seams to line up together. Then measure half your bag depth from the tip of the corner up along the seam, leave a mark. Then pin that corner down. Sew across the seam from one side to the other.

Sewing gussets
This bag is 3 inches deep so my mark was 1.5 inches up the seam from the tip.

Step 8: Check the seam. I usually turn the bag out to check that the seams didn’t move while I was sewing (if they do, I rip out the sewing and try again). Some people chop these corners off with 1/4 to 1/2-inch seam allowance. If you decide to chop them off, reinforce the gusset seam by sewing across it again. Don’t chop off the corner until you are sure it is straight!

Gussets
If you look closely, you can see that my seams are off here. I ripped it out to line them up … I get particular that way.

Step 9: Do the other gusset, sit your shell up and admire your work.

Gusset logic
This is why I do gussets… so I can sit back and admire my work (just kidding!… ummm… hehe, sort of… look at that bag sitting there by itself!). This midpoint perk motivates me to keep going. If you get bogged down in future steps, remember Step 9!

Step 10: Enough patting yourself on the back already! Now we have some drudgery meticulous work to complete. Set your shell aside and grab some fabric. You are going to make the interior pockets. Cut out a rectangle that goes all the way across the bag and is about 6 to 7 inches deep. Sew a hem across what will be the top of the pocket.

Picture for Step 10: Close your eyes, imagine helpful elves cutting a rectangle. Don’t open your eyes until the hem is sewn!

Step 11: Now that the elves are done, grab one side of your liner. Measure on the right side (as opposed to the wrong side not the left side) to where you want the bottom of the pocket to land.

I like the bottom of this type of pocket to be at the bottom of the bag. Add half the depth of the bag to the bag’s seam allowance and the pocket’s seam allowance (my bag is 3″ deep… 1.5″ + 0.5″ + 0.5″= 2.5″). Line the bottom of the pocket fabric to these marks, right sides facing. Sew down.

Measure pocket positionAttaching pocket

Step 12: Flip that pocket fabric up so that it is in pocket position.

Fold over pocket

Step 13: Top stitch across the bottom of the pocket (1/4 to 1/2 inch). Sew in your pockets. Lock the stitches at the top of the pocket… for me that means sew forward, sew backward, sew forward, sew backward, all over a 1/2″ length… you might have a function on your sewing machine that knows how to do this (I have GOT to get a new machine already!).

Completed pockets
I also lock the stitches on the bottom of the pocket. On this type of pocket, you don’t have to sew the other side of the outer pockets because they will be sewn into the lining’s seam allowance. I used to sew them down but I have gained a lot of confidence since then.

Step 14: Sew the liner together, right sides facing.

Finished liner
Admire your pockets!

To be continued…

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4 thoughts on “Gusseted Tote Bag tutorial…part 2

  1. I so want to try to make this. It looks like great instructions. I do have a question about the interfacing, though. I recently tried to make something with interfacing which became a total disaster when I tried to sew through it. Do you have any great tips about sewing through your fusible interfacing when you are putting it all together?
    Thanks.
    Lauren

  2. Thank you Thank you Thank you !!! I feel stupid now but I could not wrap my head around the gussets til I found your tutorial.

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