I decided to make this tote bag using the bow tie quilt block because it has such a different look with only a few minor adjustments to the basic bow tie quilt block. I also decided to use bought in handles rather than fabric handles, just for a change.
To make the bow tie quilt block panels you will need sixteen 3.1/2" squares in both the dark brown and the light brown, and thirty two 1.1/2" blue squares. As ever, I found it easiest to cut a 3.1/2" strip across the width and then cut that at 3.1/2" intervals to make the squares.
Place a small blue square in a corner of each of the large brown squares (light and dark) and sew across the diagonal of the blue square.
This is such an easy way of adding a small triangle to a large square.
Trim the bottom two layers of the corner 1/4" from the seam and fold the remaining layer down to complete the square.
Sew a light brown square to a dark brown square and then sew the two pairs together. Repeat with all the other squares.
You should now have eight of the bow tie blocks - four each for the front and the back of the bag. Sew these together in pairs and then fours.
In order to frame the bow tie panel, I added a 1.1/2" strip of blue at top and bottom and then down each side, and then the same again with a 1.1/2" strip of brown fabric.
With right sides together, sew the two panels together along the sides and across the bottom of the tote bag.
I have used circular bamboo handles on this tote bag so I needed four straps for them. I used a strip of brown fabric 1.1/2" by 8" with each long edge folded into the middle and then the whole length folded in half. Stitch along the length to secure the strap.
Place two straps (folded in half) each on the front and the back tote bag panels. Line up the raw edges of the straps with the top of the panels, in line with the seam between dark and light brown squares and angled in towards the middle. The photo on the left shows where to place the straps, on the right shows them with the bag handle inserted, which must be done at this stage. Pin firmly in place.
For the tote bag lining, cut two 16.1/2" squares and with right sides together sew down the two sides to create a tube.
With the right side facing in, gently pull the tube of lining down over the bag, taking care not to dislodge the straps. Pin and then sew round the top of the bag. I tend to use a 1/2" seam for this to make sure that all layers (particularly the straps) are caught in the stitching.
Pull the lining up over the bag so that it is right side out. Turn under, pin and sew a small hem at the end of the tube. This will be at the bottom of the tote bag. Push the lining back inside the bag, gently pushing out the corners.
It's worth running a line of stitching round the top of the bag now just to hold the layers in place. Tote bag complete and ready to take shopping.