Whip up a tote in minutes with Lucinda Ganderton’s gorgeous tea towel project
What you need...
- Tea towels, 48cm x 80cm
- Sewing machine
- Thread: sewing, embroidery
- Buttons: 12mm, 25mm
Cut a strip, 10cm x 48cm, from a tea towel, centring the stripe. Trim the hems from the short edges of the other towel. With right sides facing, pin the strip to these edges of another towel to make a tube. Machine stitch, leaving a 6mm seam allowance.
Neaten the seams with a zigzag stitch and press them across the insert strip. Turn the bag right side out and top stitch the two seams by sewing a straight line through all the layers, 2mm from the seam. Turn inside out again. Trim 5cm from the bottom edge.
Fold the bag so that the insert lies centrally against the opposite side. Pin both sides of the bottom edge together and machine stitch 1cm from the edge. Neaten the seam with zigzag stitches, then turn right sides out and ease the corners. Press lightly.
To make handles, cut two identical strips, 10cm x 40cm, from the striped parts of the second towel. Fold in half lengthways and press. Unfold, then turn the raw edges in to the centre crease and press.
Refold and stitch along both long sides, 3mm in from the edge. Neaten the short sides with zigzag stitches. Pin and tack the ends of the handles into place, overlapping the inside edge of the bag by 2cm. Line up the stripes or position the outer edges of the handles, 14cm in from the corners. Sew securely into place with a rectangle of machine stitches, positioning a cross over the centre.
From the remaining part of the second towel, cut a 20cm x 40cm rectangle for a pocket. Neaten both short edges with a narrow double hem, then fold in half lengthways with right sides facing. Pin and machine stitch the side edges and neaten with zigzag stitches, then turn right sides out and press. Pin one edge to the side of the bag with the insert, just below the hem and sew into place.
Make a buttonhole loop on the centre-top edge, just above the pocket, and sew the button to the outside edge with a contrasting thread. Finish by
sewing a large button to the centre of the insert.