Monday, July 9, 2012

Christmas in July - Reversible Wine Tote

Hi there! We're already at our 4th tutorial for Christmas in July! Jessica's was posted this morning and is so cute it would certainly melt even the Grinch's heart. And I love all the great tutorials so far! In fact, I was ecstatic when I read about this project [and I've been sitting on the tutorial for a week, so I've barely been able to contain myself]. The best part about all these lovely ladies as contributors? I let them have free reign as to what to make, and they all have such different projects that hopefully appeal to a very broad audience. Chelsea just knocked it out of the park with something that is perfect for the holidays but equally delightful for a regular old Tuesday. Or at least the kind of Tuesdays at my house. Because the wine is always flowing here!

Hey there!  It’s Chelsea from pins & bobbins.  When Rebecca asked me to write a tute for her Christmas in July series I knew I wanted to make something that didn’t scream Christmas but was still festive.  Since everyone loves the person with the booze I figured what better than a reversible tote with a special divider for protecting that good cheer.  Bring on the seasonal breezes!

  •  ¾ yard of fabric or equivalent in scraps for the outside of the bag         
  •  ¾ yard of fabric or equivalent in scraps for the inside of the bag
  •  ½ yard of binding fabric
  • ½ yard of insert fabric
  • 1/8 yard of strap fabric
  • Scrap batting or a craft size batting – a firm cotton batting like Warm and Natural works best
  • 6 bottles of your favorite Christmas cheer
 For the front and back panels, create 2 patchwork pieces 11½” by 13½”.  These will be trimmed later so improve piecing or framed blocks work best.  For mine I used 14 Dresden pieces (full ruler size) sewn into one long panel.  This was then trimmed to make two 8” by 11½” pieces, with 3¼ ” by 11½” solid pieces added to reach the final size.
Cut two pieces each from the lining and batting, 12” x 14”.  Sandwich with the front and back panels, quilt, and set aside.
For the sides and bottom, piece a panel 8½” by 37½”.  Sandwich with batting and lining fabric cut to 9” by 38”, quilt, and set aside.
Trim the front and back panels to 11” by 13” and the sides/bottom panel to 8” by 37”.
For the handles cut two pieces of fabric  29” by 7” and two pieces of batting 14” x 1 3/8”. 
Press a ¼” seam allowance along both long edges of the fabric strips.  
Mark the mid line on both the fabric and batting then line the batting up with the fabric along these lines.  Fold the fabric over so that the seam allowances meet.  
Pin the batting in place then stitch on both long edges of the strap, just slightly in from the edge.  Add another 2 lines of stitching, using the edge of your foot as a guide, just in the area with the batting.  This will give us padding in the handle where we want it but eliminates bulk by not extending the batting the entire length of the strap.
Decide where you would like your straps to to be and pin them in place.
Sew on the straps, adding an X of stitching where the new lines of stitching meet the ones that we added to the strap earlier.  This X should be right below the batting in the handle.

Sew the sides/bottom panel to the front and back panels.  Start at the top of the front panel, and lining sides together, sew along one side seam (a 13" side) stopping ¼" from the end and backtracking to anchor your threads.  Flip the piece over and clip the side/bottom panel from the edge in to the end of the stitch line.  Now pivot the side/bottom panel so that it lines up with the front panel's bottom edge.  Start stitching along the bottom edge of the front panel, until you reach ¼" from the edge.  Again, clip and pivot.  Now stitch up the second side of the front panel, all the way to the top edge.  Repeat for the back panel.

It's time for binding!  You'll need 120" of  2½" binding for the bag.  I used bias binding but if you're more comfortable with straight grain binding you can use that, it will just be a little harder taking the corners.  Just like attaching the sides together, start at the top edge of the front panel and stitch the binding down to the bottom, around the bottom edge, and back to the top.  I used just a hair over ¼" as my seam allowance to cover the previous lines of stitching.  Repeat with the back panel then sew down the binding on the reverse side, either by hand or machine, just like sewing binding on a quilt.

Finally add the binding to the top edge.  Make sure your straps are flipped out of the way and that the binding for the side seams is all pressed in the same direction.  I always pressed mine  towards the straps but you could press it away.  Stitch the binding to the inside of the bag and you're done!

Now's when the booze comes in!  We're going to be making a special insert that adds a little padding to the bottles, keeping them from moving around to much in your bag

Cut two pieces of fabric 7" by 29".  On the right and wrong sides of each piece of fabric, mark a ½" seam allowance on short ends then lines every 4" between.

Cut 7 pieces of batting, 3 7/8" by 5 7/8".

Fold a ½" seam allowance along the long edges of both pieces of fabric.  Position a piece of batting on each strip, between the first and second 4" marks.  Fold the fabric strip along the second 4" line and sew along the top and bottom just to encase the batting and along the 1st and 3rd 4" lines (that are now meeting).  Repeat from the other end of the strip.  
You'll end up with something that looks like this.

Now add a batting piece to one end of an insert strip.  Top with the second insert strip and stitch to encase the batting.  Repeat with the other end.  

Take the last piece of batting and slip in into the gap in the middle of the now almost finished insert.  Stitch the seam allowances closed  and you're done!

Your insert is done!  So gather your bottles and fill your bag.  Better yet, after all that sewing, maybe fill a glass instead.



  1. Great idea! I'm really enjoying your series!

  2. This is awesome!! My sister and her hubby drink A. LOT. OF. WINE. (not judging) so this would be a great gift when I go over for dinner and take some wine in it!! Insul brite is a good idea for the cold wine thought!!

  3. Thank you for the tutorial. Great idea to cart my bottles....Judith, Texas

  4. Thanks for mentioning my swap. It is only about half way filled up and really would like to fill it up. If you want to it is great fun. My sister said today that she just can't get into Christmas in the middle of summer. I reminded her that come December she is going to wish that she had done it. Don't live with this same regret, com on over and sign up.

  5. Just found your blog and am so excited to read more! :)

  6. This is so great! It would definitely come in handy :-)

  7. What a great idea - I believe that my parents and my sister in law will be getting these for christmas this year - full of wine of course!

  8. This is a really lovely tutorial, Chelsea! Great work with the photos and graphics, they're very clear!

  9. Got up from sewing machine yesterday to answer phone...wearing 1 sandal as the other was kicked off so I could wrap toes over the top of floor control. (Better control barefoot!)


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