Welcome to the tutorial for the Boho Style Market Tote!
This is a roomy and sturdy quilted tote suitable for carting all manner of stuff around in. The leather and rose gold accents give a lovely pop of bling and take this bag to the next level.
This is rated for a confident beginner, as it contains zipper insertion and working with leather. You will find synthetic leather much easier to sew with than real leather, as it is thinner and more forgiving.
My leather is genuine cows leather from some old offcuts that I had, and while tricky to work with, lends a beautiful authentic finish. It’s worth it if you can get your hands on some!
All my bag hardware is from Who Says Sew, a fantastic shop with a large range.
Have fun swapping out different fabric combinations and accent colours to give this tote a completely new look of your own…this fabric is kindly supplied by ADORNit fabrics, who are the essence of boho chic! Stop by their shop to pick up your own range of Flamingo Fever.
You will need to download the cutting and template sheet above. Make sure your printer is set to ‘no scaling’ so that the template prints out at the right size. Check that the scale square measures 1 inch square for you.
Seams are all 1/4″ throughout. I recommend reading right through before beginning!
Let’s get started!
Cut out all your pieces as per the instruction sheet.
Join left front, contrast strip, and right front, sewing right sides together. Press seams open.
Fuse to flex foam.
Begin quilting by stitching in the ditch down each seam of the contrast strip. Then continue quilting as desired. I used an uneven straight line pattern to add to the boho look.
Attach the lower contrast by sewing right sides together, and stitching right through the foam layer as well. Flip the contrast fabric back to the right side, and fuse to the remaining foam. Continue quilting as desired.
You may wish to sew the four pieces of the bag front together before fusing to the foam, but I wanted to have my quilting running different directions.
ZIPPER and ZIPPER POCKET
On the wrong side of your zipper pocket, using a fabric marker, mark a 1/2″ wide by 8″ long rectangle, 1/2″ down from the top of the fabric, and 1/2″ in from the edges. (I found the flex foam seemed to stretch slightly upon sewing, so you may want to mark your rectangle at only 7.5″ long, then check the length before you cut it open.)
Place this wrong side up on the bag front, and position it 3″ down from the top, and 10″ in from both sides. Pin in place.
Sew along the rectangle that you marked. I recommend going around twice for extra reinforcing.
Carefully cut along the middle of the rectangle with small sharp scissors. As you get near the edges, cut a V shape into the corners, being sure not to cut through your stitching line.
Now pull the pocket through to the wrong side, and press accurately to get the seam line exactly on the edges. You will have to pull fairly hard to get this to stay in place.
To help this, I held this in place temporarily by topstitching in a 4.5 length stitch, 1/4″ away from the opening. I took this stitching out after I had the zip stitched in place.
Because my foam stretched the zip opening a little too big, I had to add in an extra tab on the end of the zip so there wasn’t a gap.
Pin and sew the zip in place with a zipper foot, stitching 1/8″ away from the opening.
Now fold up the pocket to line up with the top of the zipper seam, and sew on all three sides to enclose the pocket.
Whew! One zip inserted, and pocket made…well done!!
Repeat assembly as for bag front, omitting the contrast strip. Sew upper back to lower contrast, and fuse to foam.
Quilt as desired.
Cut required amount of bias strips, and join if necessary into roughly 21″ lengths.
Sew these lengths right sides together with a 1/4″ seam, and turn through to the right side using a tube turner or a safety pin.
Tape the end of your cording tightly with sticky tape, and fasten a safety pin through the tape. Thread this through the lengths of bias tubing, trimming the cording at the end, and repeating for six strands.
Check that your handles measure at least 20″.
Line up three strands of fabric covered cording, and stitch together to secure into one strand sewing right through the cording for extra security, using contrasting thread, as shown. Wrap thread around about 20 times with one colour, then wrap either side with a second contrast. I spaced mine roughly 3″ apart, and finished 2″ from each end, for a total of five separate groups of thread per handle. Fasten off and bury knot inside strands.
Keep lining both handles up, so you can check that you are getting them pretty symmetrical.
Trim handles to measure 20″ and trim ends to 2″ from last thread wrapping.
Pull the cord out from the end of the bias fabric, and trim off 1″ of cord, then slide fabric back down again. This makes attaching to the bag much easier.
LEATHER and RIVETS
Trace leather template onto your leather, and cut out carefully.
You may wish to do a practice run for sewing this leather, as it’s not forgiving with unpicking! My stitching is not perfect, but I’m ok with that.
(Please disregard the rivets for the above pic…arrgghhh!! Here’s where I had a disaster, and lost a batch of process pics when they didn’t transfer to my computer!! So apologies for some of these being after the fact!)
Glue leather into position at either end of the zip, with fabric glue in the centre of the patch. Using topstitching thread, sew closely around the edges. I would recommend attaching the handles with their leather accents now too before fixing any of the rivets in place.
Also, keep checking you are not letting the pocket behind get caught in your stitching.
Put all three of the handle strand ends so they are on top of each other as best you can.
Sew handle ends onto the bag, 2.5″ down from the top, and about 6″ in from both sides, back stitching to reinforce several times. The idea is that the second leather patch will hide the ends of the handle, so keep checking that the patch will fit on top in the right place. You may have to adjust for your particular bag.
Repeat for other side, and for both handles on the bag back.
Glue remaining leather patches on top of the handle ends, and top stitch in place.
NOW we are setting the rivets.
Bored a hole with an awl through the leather, then insert a rivet front, and push the back of the rivet on underneath until you feel it ‘click’.
Then place the rivet setter base underneath, and using a hammer, tap until it feel secure.
Turn under and press edges of pocket. Topstitch the top, then stitch the remaining three sides onto the right side of one of the lining pieces where you would like it to go. I made mine to finish about half way up the inside.
Cut two pieces of interfacing 3″ x 2″, and attaching to the top centre of the wrong side of both lining pieces, 1/2″ from the top.
Cut out your leather patches, and glue with fabric glue onto the right side of lining pieces, centred over the interfacing on the other side.
Top stitch around leather patches.
Using the back of the magnetic snap, mark the centres where the prongs of the snap will go.
Carefully cut along the marks with sharp scissors.
Insert snaps, and fasten securely on the back with the reinforcing plates.
Sew lining sides and bottom right sides together. Be sure to leave a 4″ gap in the bottom seam, so you can turn through the bag later on.
Box both bottom corners, by matching the bottom and side seams as shown, and stitching a 3″ line across. Trim off the corner to 1/4″.
FINAL BAG ASSEMBLY
Sew the bag front and back right sides together along the bottom ONLY to start with.
Pin sides where the the two contrasting fabrics meet, to make sure they will line up accurately.
Push up a 1.5″ pleat from the bottom edge of both sides of the bag. Fold these edges together, making sure the bottom two layer are even and pin through all layers.
Stitch down the length of both remaining sides of the bag.
This will give you a pleated bottom that looks like this.
Join the lining onto the bag by turning it inside out, and sliding it up over the outside of the bag, right sides together.
Match side seams, sew around top edges.
Turn bag through the opening in the lining. Press.
Top stitch along the top edge. Sew up the hole left in the bottom of the lining.
Did you make it this far…my heartiest congratulations! I really hope my instructions are clear enough, despite some missing pics.
I’d love to see if you make one of these…feel free to tag me on Instagram and hashtag #bohostylemarkettote.