Improv Tote – MSQC and Crafty Gemini
Jenny Doan from MSQC and the Crafty Gemini, Vanessa Vargas Wilson produced a two-part video series demonstrating how to make this bag called the Improv Tote. You can find Part I if you click here. I just ordered this new-to-me product used for the tote called In-R-Form Plus by Bosal from my friends at MSQC (although you can find it at Walmart cheaper, I found out after the fact):
I decided that I am going to make this tote – two actually. It seems like a fairly easy project. Jenny and Vanessa suggest cutting the 18″ x 58″ foam in to a 15″ x 30″ piece for the tote, but instead I am going to cut it 15″ x 29″ to get exactly two totes. The extra 3″ from both halves of the foam is used to make two 1.5″ straps for each bag.
I took notes from the two videos, which I will be happy to share here but I do suggest you watch their videos for your own interpretation. Each bag uses some strips from a jelly roll – you may be able to get two bags out of one jelly roll but that remains to be seen since they didn’t really say other than there were plenty of jelly roll strips leftover. Cover the 15″ x 29″ (my size) fusible foam with the jelly roll strips however you’d like in a quilt-as-you-go method, being careful when you iron open the first strips so you don’t get the fusible coating on your iron. Trim off extra edges of the strips to match the size of the 15″ x 29″ (my change in size) foam once it is completely covered.
You can add additional quilting in straight lines just to give the bag extra texture, which Vanessa did on the second bag above (right). Fold the fabric covered foam piece in half, right sides together and stitch down the side seams using a ½” seam. The top remains open. Box each corner, 2.5” from the center of each corner up the seam (hold the seam open/flat for less bulk) and then draw a straight line across and sew it. Repeat in the other corner. They did not trim the excess fabric off.
Cut the lining piece 15” x 29” (my size modification), fold in half right sides together, sew up each side with ½” seam allowance – leave a 4” area not sewn to allow for flipping later, and box in the corners. ***My note about this – the lining may need a 5/8″ seam allowance so that it is slightly smaller than the bag. I may try it with the larger seam allowance on the lining.
The straps are made in video Part II found here. I found this to be very confusing, and would definitely recommend watching it for yourself! Straps are 2.5” x 31” of fabric and 1.5” x 29″ piece of fusible foam. Iron the fusible foam to the center of the fabric strip – iron on the fabric side! Place another piece of fabric, right sides together and sew together – seam next to the foam insulation – doesn’t have to be right next to it. Fold the raw edge of the first strip onto the fusible foam and with the tip of the iron only, iron that edge down. Then pull the second strip over the foam and tuck in its raw edge so that it meets the other edge and iron it down. Clip if needed, then top stitch along each side of the strap. You can add additional stitching if you’d like. Repeat for the second strap.
Assemble the bag: place the lining inside the bag – right sides together, match boxed corners. Match up the side seams, clip them. Straps go between the lining and the outside of the bag. Loop them in between the two layers – take care not to twist them – about 4” from each side seam (4” mark is the center for the strap) with about ½” hanging out/above the top of the bag. Sew all around the top edge with a ½” seam allowance.
Turn the bag and lining right side out now, carefully. Press the raw edges down on the opening, and machine sew it closed. Push the top edge down, and iron the top edge down – it will stick to the fusible foam. Top stitch all around the top edge of the bag. Enjoy! Oh, and post pictures so I can see what you’ve made. I am thinking of making this with the extra nursing fabrics instead of a jelly roll . . . what do you think?