It took a while, but I finally figured out how to construct a basic "magazine" tote -- made this one with a vintage Spinnerin knitting/crochet pamphlet, iron on vinyl, a few grommets, some aquarium tubing and my sewing machine.
The aquarium tubing is sort of cute, though methinks next time I'll use some lightweight chain on the inside of the tubing to give it a little extra weight and a more streamlined look.
Edited on 5/28 to add this tutorial!
What you'll need:
Iron on Vinyl (matte or luster) A little less than 1 1/2 yards
Images for the Purse
Pencil or other writing implement
Sewing machine, thread
Grommets and attachment tools
Aquarium tubing for handles
Choosing the Iron on vinyl: It's made by Therm-o-Web and is available at most major craft stores. At some shops you can buy it off a large bolt (I paid $5.99 a yard) and other places sell it pre-packaged. It's available in both matte and luster finishes, and both will work equally well, it's just a matter of personal preference. Whatever you fancy. The bags on this page were made with luster.
Making the bag:The front and back purse images that I used were both 8" x 11", straight out of a knitting/crochet pamphlet so no cutting was required. You'll also need 2 additional pieces of 8" x 11" paper for the inner lining.
For the sides of the bag simply take another 8" x 11" piece of paper and fold it in half lengthwise. Repeat the process to make the other side.
For the bottom piece of the bag use another 8" x 11" piece of paper,however, this time you'll fold it as if you were folding a letter that you'd put into an envelope. When you're done it should have three layers.
Now it's time to whip out the iron on vinyl. Lay it paper side up out on a flat surface and trace each of the purse pieces leaving a one inch border around the pieces. Using a ruler helps to make sure it's even.
For the front panel of the purse : Cut 2 pieces of vinyl, one for the front, one for the lining.
For the back panel of the purse: Cut 2 pieces of vinyl, one for the front, one for the lining.
For the two side panels: 4 pieces of vinyl, one for each side.
For the base of the purse: 2 pieces, for the bottom of the bag and for the lining.
Then, following the manufacturers instructions for use, attach the vinyl to each side of the images.
This is where the 1 inch border you allowed for comes in to play....Iron the vinyl to one panel and set it aside. Then repeat the process with it's matching counterpart. You'll then have two seperate pieces with the vinyl ironed on to them. Place one face down and place the other face up so that the sticky portion of the vinyl matches up.Follow the manufacturers instructions and iron them, hence fusing the two images together.You now have one panel of the bag.Simply repeat the process three more times with the remaining pieces.Later when the bag is sewn together you can trim away any excess vinyl if desired.
When you're done attaching the vinyl to the paper, your pieces will look a little something like this.
Almost time to start sewing! But it's uber important to note that you should not use pins! They'll leave unsightly holes in the bag. Careful, straight sewing is imperative too, because taking out seams will also leave wee holes and marks.
The next photo shows how to lay out your bag. Notice that the outer images are all face down. What you see here is the inner lining.
Whip out the sewing machine.
Take the front panel and one piece of lining and sew a straight line across the top of the bag. This is to reinforce the pieces together. Do the same thing with the back panel and the other piece of lining.
What you're going to do next is to place the front panel FACE UP and attach it to the base of the bag. In other words, sew the top panel facing upward to the inner lining. The "raw" edges of the bag will be on the outside of the bag.
When you're done, repeat the process on the other side of the base.Then do the same thing with the two side panels. Don't worry if it doesn't seem to line up 100% perfectly, just do your best to center the pieces.
So far so good! Your bag should look like this from an upside down view:
Now here comes the tricky, pain in the butt part, which is sewing the bottom corners.
Carefully press the bag flat with your fingers. Then gently sew up the side of the bag starting at the base. This will definitely seem somewhat awkward and cumbersome, but just do your best to sew a straight, even line.
Repeat this process three more times, once for each side of the bag.
When you're done simply cut away any excess threads.
Add 2 grommets on each of the front panels and thread your tubing through, holding it in place by tying a knot on each side. Trim away any excess vinyl around the bag.
Here's the finished product, shown from the front and back:
You're done! Wear it proudly. And post photos of your bag here!