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The Fool
With a cronic love for anything "out of the ordinary" I babble on about life's little ups and downs.
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Mar 15, 2011

postheadericon Tutorial; Piano Tote Bag

Warning; This is a looong post!

So I was kinda asked to make a tutorial on how to make this piano tote bag and I thought "why not?" and went ahead with it. Since I don't have the time to make another tote bag at the moment, I have drawn out illustrations that hopefully are quite easy to follow. If something is not clear about this, please comment and say so, so I can fix it! This is also a guide on how to make a normal totebag to be the base for any kind of decoration. This is a very easy project and can be done by anyone even if it is your first time touching a sewing machine. Believe me, I have seen proof of this with my own eyes.

So! On to the tutorial! Click the pictures to view them larger.

0. What you will need!

A.      A sewing machine.
B.      Fabric (and scissors to cut it with of course)
C.      Matching thread.
D.      Clothing iron (Optional, but I recommend it as it comes very in handy)
E.       Fabric, fabric paint, pearls, iron-ons or whatever you feel like decorating your tote with. (Optional)

1. Find your fabric and work out the design!
This is where we all need to start. Before you start making your bag and cut the fabric you will need to figure out how you want your tote to look like. Choose the fabric you want to use (it can be any kind of fabric, but for a long lasting tote, I do recommend something of good quality), find out how big you want the tote to be, if it should be lined or not and work out what kind of design you want on it. It's a good idea to sketch out the idea on a piece of paper so you have a visual of what you want.

2. Cut your fabric!
Below I have draw out the pieces you will need to make a tote bag. The meassurements here are my preffered meassurements, but you can change them as you like to make smaller or larger totes.

A.    This is the main body of your totebag. A simple rectangle. The meassurements of this should be the height of the tote x 2 times the width of the tote with a few cm added to each side for seam allowance.

B.      The lining. This will have the exact same meassurements as the main body. (Optional)

C.      The handles. This is the desired width of the handle x2, times the desired length plus seam allowance. You will have to cut two handle pieces.

D.      Decoration. The image shows the piece I cut out for the piano keys. A piece of white cotton measuring the same length as the main body and width being the desired width of the keyboard x2. (Optional)

3. Decoration!
This is the part where you decorate your lovely tote! You should do this BEFORE you assembly and sew your tote together. This makes it easier to add the decorations as you will have a flat surface to work on. When you place your decorations, it's a good idea to fold the fabric you place it on so you know where the front ends and back begins. This will help you place the decorations accuratly. Also keep the seam allowance in mind so you don't place the decorations where it won't be seen.

So how to do the piano keys? For this you will need white fabric, white and black thread and black fabric paint. You can make the black keys out of black fabric too, but it will take VERY much longer. Go ahead if you're up for it though!

First, take your white piece of fabric and fold it in two length wise. This is so the fabric of the main body won't show through when we sow the white fabric on. 

Iron it flat and pin it along the edge of the main body fabric piece and make sure to pin the raw edges of the white fabric to the edge of the main body. Sew along all edges (marked in green) with white thread. 

Pick out a ruler and a light pencil and start drawing out the white keys with even space between them. Don't care about the black keys yet as we will get to those later. Change the thread in your machine to black thread instead and sew along the lines you have drawn. This is time consuming, but do it slowly and carefully and it will look awesome.The black lines will divide the keys from each other and you will see that the keyboard is starting to come together.

Now find a brush or a thin rectangle stamp and black fabric paint and paint/stamp on the black keys. Use a reference picture of where they should be placed if you're not sure. I would reccomend doing this with a stamp as it will give a much more consistent look. Also make sure to have enough black fabric paint. I had just barely enough and because of that, some of the keys ended up a little faded...

Now let the paint dry and heat set the keys as instructed on the paint bottle. The keys are done!

4. Assembly!
Now comes the fun part! Keep up because we are soon done!

Handles: Fold the fabric you cut for the handle in half and sew along the green line as shown. Now turn the handle inside out and iron it flat.

Main body: Fold the fabric in half (with the decorations IN, VERY important!) and sew along the sides as the green line shows. 

Now grab the bottom corners and press them flat and sew a line dioganally over it. Do this on both corners to create the bottom of your tote. Turn the fabric inside out and you have a pretty, decorated, almost finished bag!

If you don’t want to have lining in it, all you need to do now is to sew a ziczac stitch along all the raw edges inside. Fold the top edges of your bag inwards twice and add the handles as illustrated (one handle on each side) and stitch along the edge. 

Sew a square and an X over the handles for extra strength and you’re done!

Lining: Now for the lining it is not much worse. Sew the lining fabric in the same way you did the main body, but do NOT turn it inside out. Place the lining inside your bag and EITHER do the top edges the same way you did without lining, or...

Fold the edges of the lining and the edges of the main body down between the two layers once, place the handles between these and sew it shut. Remember to sew the square and X over the handles here too.

5. Done!
And so your tote bag is now ready for use! Whether you're going to school, a meet, or just going to the store to buy groceries and don't want more annoying plastic bags floating around, you now have a perfect bag to carry your things in!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial (as it is my very first) and I tried to make it as fool proof and understandable as possible. Once again, if there are some things that aren't clear to you, comment and tell me and I will do what I can to fix it and/or answer your question! I would also be very happy to see your results if you should follow this and make one!

So until next time;

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