CREATE Mental Health Week – A Summer Tote

This is a guest post in the series CREATE Mental Health. All week we will be exploring how different people use creativity to create and maintain mental health. Today’s post is by Sarah Markos. Sarah writes the sewing blog blueSusan. It’s one of my very favorite blogs, and actually got me to start sewing.  Sarah’s tutorials are awesome! Welcome, Sarah!

Hi everyone!! I’m Sarah, visiting from blueSusan today.  How fun to be able to do a guest post on Dr. Stephanie’s blog.  Thank you Stephanie for hosting such a fun event.   I love creating things.  I am a stay-at-home mom by profession and I have four sweet and silly kids, ages 10, 8, 5, and 3.Making things is my therapy, and my creative outlet these days is sewing.  I have been sewing most of my life off and on, but over the last couple of years I have really gotten into it on a regular basis.  A few years ago I was going through a particularly tough time.  I had a fairly new baby (my 4th),  my husband was gone a lot, and I was struggling to keep my head above water.   I felt like I never accomplished anything and never had time to myself.   A couple of my friends had learned to sew and started making a ton of cute things.  I didn’t want to miss out on the fun and I needed something to take my mind off of all my struggles and stresses.  So I set up my sewing machine in my bedroom and started sewing once the kids went down for the night.  Now my sewing machine is a permanent fixture in my bedroom and I use it almost daily.  Sewing helps me unwind and get the “me” time that I need.  Like I said…it’s my therapy!

I make a lot of bags and so I thought share a little tutorial with you for a chic Summer Tote that is the perfect size for taking to the pool or the beach.

This is an easy one to sew, and relatively quick too.  Want to make one??

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 yard outdoor canvas, or home decorator weight fabric.
  • 2/3 yard lining. I used 100% cotton solid.
  • 1/4 yard fabric for handles, I used small wale corduroy.
  • coordinating thread.

As a option, you can choose to omit the lining fabric, which just makes the bag a little thinner when finished and saves a little fabric cutting time.

Okay, ready to start??

Next take your long piece and pin it to 3 sides of your square, matching the seams to the corners.

Stitch around the 3 sides with a slightly less than 1/4 in seam allowance.

Pin the other square to the other side of he long piece and stitch in place.

Now you’re ready to finish the top.

Fold the seams to one side, do not press them open.

Don’t forget to back stitch a few times at the top for added security.

Almost done!! Make the handles… these go quickly.

And that’s it!! Trim your threads and enjoy your new bag!!