Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mini Tote: Birthday "Surprise" Part 1

I have an embarrassing problem. I am horrible at keeping secrets from my sister Ashley. HORRIBLE! She's the same way though, so I don't feel bad when I spill the beans about a gift I'm giving her. She and I have always been this way. I can't remember the last time either one of us has been surprised when we've opened a gift from each other haha. What's the point in giving a gift to someone if you're just going to tell them about it beforehand?! I have no idea. It makes no sense at all. No one will tell us what they've gotten for us either because they're afraid that we'll tell each other. I'm 28 years old for crying out loud! This behavior is something a 5 year old would do! Oh well! :)

That being said, today's tutorial is actually one of Ashley's birthday gifts. Her birthday is on the 22nd. It will actually be her "golden" birthday because she will be the ripe old age of 22. My baby sister is all grown up *sob*.

Let's get this party started shall we? This little bag is quite simple to make. The most labor intensive part is the flower that I will be showing you how to assemble. I love this tote. I think it's the perfect spring/summer accessory. All of my supplies were purchased at Hobby Lobby (aka my home away from home).

You will need:

A medium or small cotton canvas tote
A ruler or measuring tape
Your handy dandy hot glue gun
Three strips of ribbon, ric rac, or both. You can even use fabric!
Buttons for embellishing
A felt circle
A roll of 1.5 wide ribbon (which will be used to make the flower)

Let me preface this by saying I'm not big on measuring. I'm more of an "eyeball it" kind of gal. I do this for two reasons. 1., I'm lazy (ha!), and 2., I'm not the best at reading a ruler or measuring tape. Inch and half inch increments I can do. The rest makes me say "duuuhhhhhhh". Aren't those little clothespins holding the ribbon together adorable?! I saw them one day and couldn't pass them up. I'm a big fan of anything small. I guess it's one of the reasons why I love babies and little kids so much ;).

So, the first thing you will want to do is lay your ribbon on your bag and figure out your design. In this instance I used two different patterned ribbons and ric rac. I really love using different patters in the same color scheme together. Once you figure out your placement, cut your ribbon making sure to leave a little overlap on each side.

Use your glue gun to glue the pieces onto your bag. Then trim the excess length. I like to go back and put just a little bit of glue at the ends to make sure it stays in place and doesn't fray.

This next step can be a little tricky at first (not to mention kind of time consuming), so if you are unsure about making this flower you can always make one of the fabric rosettes I posted here. If you're feeling brave, patient, and willing to sacrifice your fingertips to some extremely hot glue read on!

I'm really not sure what this flower would be called, and I definitely can't take credit for its creation. I stumbled upon it a while back, and can't remember where I found it so linking it is kind of impossible. I would love it if I could remember because I want to give credit where credit is due! This is what it looks like when it's finished. I love it!

This is where that roll of 1.5 inch wide ribbon and the felt circle come in. Grab your ruler and cut six 2.5 inch long strips, and six 2 inch strips. The first thing you are going to do is dab a bit of glue in the corner of a piece of ribbon and fold it over like so:

Repeat this step on the other side, making sure that your ends don't meet. Continue doing this with the remaining 11 pieces of ribbon.

 These next few parts require a little folding and a lot of hot glue getting on your fingers. You will need to place a dab of glue almost in the center at the bottom of your fabric pieces, then fold one side over. Make sure you leave enough overlap to fold it back over again! Hold it for a few seconds so the glue can set. It sounds trickier than it actually is. Here is an example of what you will do:

Next, put some glue on the bottom corner of the "wrong" side of your ribbon, and fold your flap back. Hold for a few seconds.

Repeat this step on the opposite side and each remaining ribbon. They should look like this when you are finished:

 Set the smaller ribbons to the side and grab your felt circle. Glue a large ribbon to the felt like so:

Glue a second ribbon directly across from your first:

Continue gluing the remaining large pieces onto the felt. You will have room to put two at the top and two at the bottom. Once you've finished placing the six large ribbons your flower will look like this:

Follow the same process using your smaller pieces of ribbon.

Finish your flower with a button, pearl, little rosette, or whatever you want. You can even use a bottle cap if you want!

Now that we've gotten the flower out of the way, it's time to decide where you want to put it on your tote. I chose to put mine in the top right corner of the bag. Once you have your placement figured out go ahead and glue that sucker down.

We're in the home stretch here people! You can stop here if you want, but I felt that this project wasn't quite complete. I rummaged around in my bag-o-buttons and found three buttons in different colors and sizes. You can sew them onto your bag of course, but I didn't feel like hunting down a needle and thread for three little i glued them. Remember the part where I said I was lazy? :)

And there you have it! One completely unique, totally adorable tote perfect for spring and summer! This bag isn't just going to be given as a purse, it's also going to be used as a gift bag for the awesome bib necklace I'll be making next. Smart idea right? I hope you have a blast making your very own tote! I'd love to see pictures of finished products too *hint hint*!

And I hope you like this bag Ashley because I know you're reading this tutorial. Maybe next year I'll be able to keep a secret...or not ;).

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