Here's a little known fact: Ele Story almost became a bags and totes company...😳
My old workplace would host annual craft fairs around the holidays for anyone who had anything to sell. One year, I decided to take the plunge and sign up for a table without knowing what I would make to sell. I had never sold anything I made before, so I had to think fast.
I finally decided on making totes and purses, designed and sewed like a maniac for 2 weeks, and showed up at the fair. It was such a hit, that for the subsequent years, I continued to make bags for the fair, and it served as an artistic outlet for me.
A few years later, when hubby and I decided to start a company, it seemed natural to start a totes and hand bags company-- it was what I knew, and definitely appeared simpler because there was no sizing/fit involved. But deep down, I knew my dream was to design clothes for little ones (I had already been sewing baby June some outfits) even if it was uncharted territory for us. And the rest is #EleStory history.
In celebration of #NationalWatermelonDay, I decided to take one of my old tote designs and simplify the pattern a bit to make a child's version. Since June's favorite fruit was always watermelon as a baby (her daddy nicknamed her "Watermelon Himei" himei = princess in Japanese), I made a Watermelon Tote with scraps of fabric I had lying around. I hope you enjoy our first #EleSews #DIY project! To do this project, you should have basic/intermediate sewing skills.
DIY: Tote-tally Adorable Watermelon Bag
Project Time: 1-1:30 hours
Age: Best for children 6+ (regardless of age, always with adult supervision)
• Orange fabric - Watermelon Body: large enough for 4 pieces approx. 12" x 6.5", including lining (if desired, lining can be separate fabric, in which case you only need enough for 2 x (12" x 7").
• Green fabric - Rind, Rind lining, and shoulder strap
- 3 strips measuring 21.75" x 3.5" (this again, this includes lining of the bag, but lining can be swapped out if desired.
• Contrast fabric - Top of the bag (yellow in picture)
- 1 strip measuring 24" x 3"
• Black yarn, or felt: approx. 4" long, cut into 1/2" strips for the seeds
• Fabric Scissors
• Sewing Machine
• Iron (great to have, but optional)
Note: Please use 3/8" seam allowance when sewing
Step 1: Cut out all fabrics following dimensions above and diagram below:
Step 2: Pleat all 4 pieces of tote body fabrics, including lining, and baste (a loose stitch on the sewing machine at 4-5 stitch lengh) in place. Set aside.
Step 3: Cut Yarn into 1/2" pieces and arrange on 2 of the 4 "Watermelon Body" pieces.
- Remember we only need the outer 2 body pieces to have watermelon seeds. Lining will be on the inside so can be plain.
TIP: You can run an iron over the yarn pieces to keep them in this "seed" formation. Then pin "seeds" down and stitch by running stitches back and forth at the tip of the seed. The yarn loops can remain un-stitched for more textural interest.
Step 4: Pin 1 "Rind Strip" to 2 Watermelon Body Pieces, right sides together.
Clip Corners if desired, to make the round corners smooth.
Step 5: Flip inside out. Then repeat with the lining pieces ("Watermelon Body" lining + "Rind" lining). Then, place lining inside the outer bag, lining up all seams and pin in place.
Step 6: Sew Contrast Strip (Top Band), right sides together, into a loop. Then, with right sides together, pin the strip around the outside of the bag body. Stitch in place. Then, flip top band so the outer fabric is facing the outside, and iron the band in half, length-wise. Stitch down the other side of the band onto the inside of the bag with a clean finish.
Step 7: FINAL STEP! Take the Shoulder Strap, fold in half and iron. Then, open the strip up and iron the edge of the strip by folding the fabric by 1/4". Then, re-fold the strip back and top stitch shut. Attach the strap to either end of the "Rind" piece of the bag. And it's ready to go!
Now, we would love to see you make it! Be sure to tag us #EleDIY #EleWatermelonTote to be featured!