I decided to make this bag using the bow tie quilt block because it has such a different look with only a few minor adjustments to the basic bow tie quilt block. I also decided to use shop bought handles rather than fabric handles.
sixteen 3.1/2″ squares in both the dark brown and light brown, thirty two 1.1/2″ blue squares
one 1.1/2″ strip of blue and of brown fabric
two 16.1/2″ squares of lining fabric
Making the tote bag panels
Place a small blue square in a corner of each of the large brown squares (dark and light) and sew across the diagonal of the blue squares. Trim the bottom two layers of the corner 1/4″ from the seam. Fold the remaining blue triangle down to complete the square.
Sew a light brown square to a dark brown square and sew two pairs together. Repeat with all the squares. This will give you eight bow tie quilt blocks. Sew these together in pairs and then fours. This will give you two bag panels – one for the front of the tote bag and one for the back.
Sew a 1.1/2″ by 12.1/2″ blue strip to the top and bottom of each panel. Sew a 1.1/2″ by 14.1/2″ blue strip to each side of both the panels.
Sew a 1.1/2″ by 14.1/2″ brown strip to the top and bottom of each panel. Sew a 1.1/2″ by 16.1/2″ brown strip to each side of the panels. With right sides together, sew the two bag panels together along the sides and across the bottom edge.
Adding the tote bag handles
I have used circular bamboo handles on this tote bag so I needed four straps for them. Cut four strips of brown fabric 1.1/2″ by 8″. Fold the long edges in to the middle and then fold the strip in half along the length so that the raw edges are hidden. Stitch along the length to secure the straps.
Place two straps (folded in half) each on both bag panels. Line up the raw edges of the straps with the top of the panels, in line with seam between dark and light brown squares and angled in towards the middle. This shows the position of the straps. Now insert the round bag handles so that the loops go round them. Pin the ends of the loops in place.
Tote bag lining
From your lining fabric cut two 16.1/2″ squares. With right sides together sew the squares together on the sides to create a tube. With the tube still having the wrong side on the outside, gently pull the lining tube down over the bag. Take care not to dislodge the straps. The right sides of the bag panels and the right sides of the lining should be together. Line up the top edges of the bag panels and the lining and then sew round the top of the bag. I tend to use a 1/2″ seam for this part to make sure that all the layers – particularly the straps – are caught in the stitching.
Pull the lining up over the bag so that it is right side out. Turn under, pin and sew a small hem at the end of the lining tube. This will be at the bottom of the bag. Push the lining back inside the bag, gently pushing out the corners.
It is worth running a line of stitching round the top of the bag now just to hold the layers in place. That completes the bow tie tote bag.