This Oakshott Lipari is OMG gorgeous. They are jewel tones like none I have ever seen. After getting my hands on this fat eighth pack I immediately understood why quilters hoard Oakshott like garment sewists hoard good border prints. I was sent the Oakshott from Sew Mama Sew to make a tote bag, but I immediately started to rethink my original tote design so that I could use less Oakshott so I had more for other selfish projects. And then I had a stern talking-to to myself and told myself that I was being silly and greedy and I should go ahead with my original plan because I can always buy more fabric. Well, that bit about “always buy more fabric” was music to my ears, so I continued on with the plans for a large tote.
To make this tote you need: 13 fat eighths of Oakshott Lipari, 3/4 yds of 42″ wide fabric to use as lining, and 1 1/2 yds of 20″ wide fusible interfacing.
FRONT: Cut 1.5″ strips on the long edge of a fat quarter (so your strip is 1.5″ x 18″) of 13 different colors of Oakshott Lipari. Sew them together using a 1/4″ seam allowance and press all the seams to the same direction. (All seam allowances in this project are 1/4″). I picked in order Porticello, Malfa, Rinella, Lentia, Dattilo, Lisca, Stromboli, Lipari, Canneto, Gallina, Volcano Bleu, Scari, and Marina.
Cut 4 strips of the rainbow that are 1.5″, 1 strip of 2.5″, 1 strip of 3.5″, 1 strip of 4.5″, and 1 strip of 5.5″. Set aside 3 of the 1.5″ strips. Rotate the 2.5″ and 4.5″ strips 180 degrees so their rainbows are opposite of the 1.5″, 3.5″, and 5.5″ strips.
Sew the rainbow strips together and press. It should be relatively easy to get the corners to line up because you can nest all your seams. (The odd rows will have their seam allowances facing the opposite direction from the even rows.) Your pieced front will have a finished size of 15.5″ x 13.5″.
BACK: Cut a 5″ x 14.5″ rectangle of fabric from 2 colors (outside stripes) and a 4.5″ x 14.5″ rectangle of fabric from 1 color (inside stripe). Sew them together along the long edges and press. Sew one of the extra 1.5″ rainbow stripes to the top and press. Your pieced back will have a finished size of 15.5″ x 13.5″.
SIDES: Cut 4 rectangles of 4.5″ x 14.5″. Sew them together in pairs along the long edge. Grab your remaining two 1.5″ strips of rainbow and rip two a seam in each to separate 5 colors from 8 colors. Sew the rainbow of 8 to the top of each side and discard the rainbow of 5. Your pieced sides will have a finished size of 15.5″ x 8.5″.
BOTTOM: Cut 2 rectangles of 4.5″ x 13.5″. Sew them together on the long edge and press. Your pieced bottom will have a finished size of 8.5″ x 13.5″.
I strongly recommend that you fuse a piece of fusible interfacing to the wrong side of each part of the tote. This will help your tote stand up to more wear and tear and protect your lovely piecing. You will need 2 pieces of 15.5″ x 13.5″ (for front and back), 2 pieces of 15.5″ x 8.5″ (for sides), 1 piece of 13.5″ x 8.5″ (for bottom), and 2 pieces of 3.5″ x 18″ (for the handles, next step).
HANDLES: Cut 2 rectangles of 3.5″ x 18″. Fuse fusible interfacing to each piece. Sew one long edge to the other on each rectangle to make two tubes. Turn them right side out and press them flat with the seam in the center back of the flat handle. Topstitch along the long edges of each handle to help them keep their shape and structure.
CONSTRUCTION: Follow the instructions on my How to Sew a Tote Bag Tutorial for how to sew together the front/back, sides, and bottom. (Note that the sizes of this bag are slightly different than the bag in the tutorial and this bag uses 1/4″ seam allowances instead of the 1/2″ seam allowance listed on that tutorial). Once you’ve made that shell, come back here since I made a few changes to construction for this bag. First, instead of sewing the handles onto the outside of the bag, I tucked them into the top seam of the bag so that they wouldn’t cover any of the pretty piecing. To do this, pin the handles to the front and back with right sides together, letting the edge of the handle stick out past the top of the bag by a little bit.
LINING: You will need to sew a lining for this bag like you sewed the outside of the bag. You will need 2 pieces of 15.5″ x 13.5″ (for front and back), 2 pieces of 15.5″ x 8.5″ (for sides), and 1 piece of 13.5″ x 8.5″ (for bottom). I used a heavy satin since it felt like the correct level of luxury to play off the Oakshott, but I strongly recommend NOT using a slippery fabric and sticking to cotton. Once you have the lining sewn, turn it right side in and place the main bag right side out inside of the lining. Sew them together along the top edge using a 1/4″ seam allowance and leaving a gap of several inches. I recommend sewing a second layer of stitching across each handle for strength.
EDGESTITCHING: Turn the lining to the inside of the bag through the slit you left at top. Tuck the raw edges of the unstitched gap in and edgestitch along the top of the bag (like in the other tutorial instructions). In this bag I also edgestitched along all the other seams to add a bit of extra strength and structure to the bag.
I’m proud of the way that the rainbow wraps around the top of the bag. A simple detail, but one that adds a lot of pop to an otherwise pretty simple bag.
Tig definitely approves of my finished tote bag. There are several other lovely sewing bloggers making their own lovely Oakshott Lipari totes so check their’s out too! The other lovely sewists are Dandelion Drift, Anjeanette Klinder, Sewplicity, Monkey Beans, and Falafel and the Bee.