Everything Tote in Orla Kiely

My second finished project from Heather Ross’ Weekend Sewing is the Everything Tote. I wanted to make a tote perfect for summer trips to the park and farmer’s market, so the pear print seemed perfect. Some may recognize the pear fabric – it is the Orla Kiely dishtowel everyone scooped up at Target a month ago. I used the solid green towel for the handles, bindings and pockets. The lining is an unfinished cotton I had on-hand. To give the bag more body, I added a cotton flannel layer inside. I decided not to add gathers to the bag; it was just too difficult with the extra flannel layer and I just wanted to move ahead with the project!

Because the towels were a bit small to fit the pattern, I redrew the main pattern piece to reduce slightly. Even with the pattern reduction, the bag is still huge! I should mention that I ripped out all the seams on the pear print towel (yes, it took forever) to add about 3-4 inches of width and length. Also, since the pear pattern is directional, I had to cut the main body panels as two separate pieces.

As many have commented in the flickr group discussion, the instructions for the binding and handles are a bit curious. I will say that to achieve the look shown in the book photo, with inch wide bindings, you cannot follow the book instructions. The instructions call for the bindings and handles to be attached similar to bias tape. If you do that, your finished binding will only appear about half an inch wide. For my binding and handles, I just pressed the pieces in half and sewed on. It was tricky sewing, but I like the outcome, where you can see a little of the lining along the edge of the binding. As you can hopefully see in the picture, I sewed the handles in half only just past the body of the bag and left the rest open, so the lining fabric will show and so the wide handles will be comfortable on my shoulder.

For the interior, I added two large pockets, one divided. I also added a loop of fabric with some elastic sewn down the middle. It is hard to see in the picture, but the fabric loop is just sewn perpendicular into the side seam of the lining bag. What is the purpose, you ask? I want to carry a refillable water bottle or coffee tumbler upright in the bag. Let’s hope it works.

My daughter thinks it makes a great messenger bag!


4 thoughts on “Everything Tote in Orla Kiely

  1. I came over here from flickr – and have to repeat, what I said there: really really great bag! clever work done at the handles and I am still totally fond of that great fabric (still sad not being able to buy it here…)kindest regards,dolores

  2. Beautiful! I followed the same altered method for sewing on the binding and handles. I really think it made it easier, and looks the way I imagined it should. I got the idea from the discussion on Flickr, so thanks!!

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