Adding gussets to the bottom of the tote make it even more versatile for carrying books, groceries, or supplies to your next sewing workshop!
Here are two different ways to make a gusset.
Method One: Cut First
Layer your rectangles right sides together. At each of the bottom corners, mark out a square. The size of the square will determine the depth of the gusset.
With a ½" seam allowance, a 1" square will create a 1" gusset, a 2" square yields a 3" gusset. In general, an inch or so works well.
Love math? Here's how it works. Add up both sides of the square and subtract 1. So a 3" square will yield a 5" gusset 3+3 = 6 – 1 = 5.
Right sides together, sew both side seams and the bottom seam. Open the seam allowances. Fold so that the side seam is aligned with the bottom seam. Stitch with a ½" seam allowance.
Method Two: Sew First
Again, start by layering your rectangles. This time do not cut the corner squares. Stitch down one side, across the bottom, and up the second side–pivoting at the corners.
At the bottom corner, open the seam allowances and fold so that the side seam is aligned with the bottom seam. Draw a line perpendicular to the seam an inch from the point. Trim off the corner ½" from the seam. If you want a larger gusset, stitch further from the point.
A great feature of the basic tote is that you can focus on a single, larger piece of fabric—and really make an artistic statement. There are wonderful prints and plaids to choose from, or if you're interested in creating your own fabric artwork, check out Val Holmes′ new book Print with Collage & Stitch. She discusses several methods of using fabric ink on cloth and also methods for embroidering your finished work.
I've made my share of canvas totes, but I'm curious: what's the most fabulous fabric you've ever used for a practical project? Let us know on the SewDaily blog.
Learn the secrets of today's hottest textile art technique--collagraphy.