Summer Totes - Go Big or Go Small

Categories: Gifts, Bags and Totes

Sometimes the trip to the beach, home to visit relatives, or just a quick weekend away means packing Big, sometimes it means grabbing a bathing suit, sunscreen and your favorite magazine and packing Small. With these handy summer totes constructed using oly*fun™ from Fairfield you will be packing in no time at all.

What you need to make this project

Oly*fun™ Kiwi & Blueberry
Two Buttons - optional
HeatnBond® Feather lite iron-on adhesive
Sizzix Die Cutting Machines and Die of your choice – Optional
Basics sewing supplies such as sewing machine, iron, scissors, thread, pressing cloth

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Oly-Fun® Craft Pack Brick


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Step One

Cut the following pieces from oly*fun™

Kiwi                  Pattern piece                Blueberry         Pattern piece

(2) 5” x 12”         Bottom of Tote                 (2) 10” x 12”         Body of Tote

(2) 1/2” x 3”       Strap Accent                     (2) 2” x 30”           Strap

6” x 7”                 Front Pocket Lining         5” x 7”                   Front Pocket

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Step Two

Press HeatnBond® Feather lite iron-on adhesive to the back of  Oly*fun following the pressing instructions given above. Using the Sizzix die and die cut machine , cut out accent flowers. Remove paper backing and fuse cut outs to pocket front. Sew a button to the center of the flower cut outs. With right sides together pin the two pocket pieces together along one of the 7” sides. Flip the lining section over the top of the seam, leaving a ½” extending. Top stitch through both layers of fabric; stitching next to the seam.

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Step Three

Pin the pocket to the bottom edge of one of the tote body (front) sections.

Fold over 1” along the 12” length of each of the tote body sections; repeat turning an additional 1” and press. Top stitch along the first fold through all layers of fabric. Repeat using the second tote body section. This will create a reinforced hem at the top of each of the tote sections.

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Step Four

With right sides together, stitch along the length of each of the straps. Turn right side out. Press centering the seam. Stitch the strap accent piece down the center of the strap. Repeat for the second strap.

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Step Five

Pin the straps to the tote front, covering the edges of the pocket. Top stitch along either side. Repeat stitching the second strap to the remaining bag body (back) section.

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Step Six

With right sides together; stitch the tote bottoms to the front and back sections. Press the seam down and top stitch.

With right sides together; stitch the bottom seam, press the seam to one side and top stitch.

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Step Seven

With wrong sides together; stitch the side seams using a 1/8” seam. Turn wrong side out and re-stitch using a ¼” seam. This will create what is called a French Seam. Turn the tote right side out and you are finished unless you would like to add a flat bottom to your tote. If so, follow the directions below.

  • Summer Tote - Small

Step Eight

To create a flat bottom on the summer totes:

Place the tote right side in on a flat surface and pinch one of the bottom corners, matching the side seam line with the bottom seam line. Completely flatten the tote corner to form a triangle and pin to secure. Measure and mark a line that is running 90 degrees to the side seam and 2 inches long across the width of the triangle. Laying the tote on a gridded cutting mat makes everything line up perfectly.  Stitch across the flat bottom line mark. Repeat for the opposite side. Turn the tote right side out and trim. For a more complete tutorial on ‘boxing the corners of a tote, be sure to check out my next blog post entitled Boxing Corners.

Your Small tote is complete. For measurements and a floating pocket tutorial for the Large version of the Summer Totes – Go Big or Go Small as well as a post about creating fun Tote Tags using oly*fun™, check out my blog at