Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tea Bag Tote Tutorial

The idea for this project resulted from a girls' weekend that I took with three of my good friends.   We went to Winnipeg, Manitoba which is a five or six hour drive.  Had a blast!  We spent a day shopping in the historical area known as The Forks.

I found this sweet little tea bag tote in one of the shops.     The "Crafty Lady" in me thought this would be a perfect gift for my tea drinking friends and family.   I picked one up to use as a pattern.  I think it was five or six dollars.  Canadian.



Sneaky?  Yes, indeedy.  Smart idea?  Yep!

So I'm sharing this tutorial with anyone who thinks a Tea Bag Tote is a nifty craft.


Here's what it looks like open.  You tuck a tea bag in each of the four little pockets.  Or sugar or creamer packets (I do not like powdered creamer but if you like it, there's a spot for it here).

Please excuse the lighting on these shots...I was pinched for time and had to go with the flow...taking pictures while I was sewing.

But I digress...here's how to make these little totes:




First, choose a pretty fabric.  Small patterns are the best and you can find dozens of small pattern fabrics if you check out the quilting fabrics.

I found the exact buttons that were used on the tote that I bought!  But you can use any sort of button you'd like, of course.

You'll also need fabric for the lining.  It goes without saying that a light lining fabric will be what you want to use. :-)

Click on any of the photos to enlarge them if you need a closer look.



Cut one 6-3/4 inch x 13-1/4 inch rectangle from each of  the fabrics.








With right sides together, stitch a 1/4 inch seam all the way around the edge, leaving a 2-inch opening in about 1-1/4 inch from one end.


Turn right-side-out and press.



Cut a 6-inch piece of 1/4" ribbon.  Fold in half and insert 1/2 inch into opening so it's 1-1/4 inch from the edge.

Pin it in place.


Fold each side in about 3-inches.  There will be a small gap in the center.





Fold in half like so:


And fold in half, again.   Using the ribbon and a straight pin, mark the spot for the button.

It helps a little to place some tea bags inside before folding.  That way, there's a little bulk because when it's finished, the ribbon will be a little more snug when you hook it around the button.


Using a fabric marking pen, place an 'x' where the button should go.


Unfold the tote and note where the button will go.  It's hard to see in the picture, below, but there IS a pin with a blue head  to the right of the arrows.  (I should have used red, dang it.)


Now, you can sew the button on at this point.  If it's a ball shaped button, though, it'll be a little trickier finishing the next stitching steps.

With the sides folded in (see below), stitch around the entire piece as close to the edge as you can, catching the ribbon in as you go.


This is the point at which I find where the button should go and sew it on.  You need to be sure you just sew it to the outside and you can do that by reaching inside the fold and stitching it through to the outside.  Make several stitches to secure the button.

(If this makes no sense to you, please let me know.  I neglected to take a picture of that step.  Come to think of it, getting a shot with one hand holding the button and one hand taking stitches would have been impossible interesting.)

Next, find the center of the folded tote.  Set your machine to a zigzag stitch.  Experiment on a spare piece of folded fabric to find the stitch you like best.

Stitch across from one side to the other making sure to secure the stitches at each end.



Then stitch down the center between the two sides (again, secure the stitches at each end).



And now all you have to do is tuck in some tea bags, fold it up and button it!




You've got a clever way to tote your tea bags.  And it's a nice gift for a tea loving friend, too.

I'd love to know if you decide to try this project.




8 comments:

  1. Ohhh so neat! My mom is a quilter but honestly I struggle to fix a button on clothes. =P I enjoyed watching how you made the tea bag. Great step by step tutorial with photos. I know it's not easy to do (I do for cooking, and it takes some time!). Thanks for sharing! :-)

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    1. Thank you, Nami, for the visit and the kind comment! I'm just getting used to this tutorial stuff so your vote of confidence is very welcome.

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  2. What a neat idea! I usually take tea bags in a small ziploc bag...so this is much classier :)

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    1. Thanks, Lizzy! It is kinda neat, isn't it?

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  3. Cheryl...cute idea. My sister has everything money can buy, but she totes tea around in a ziplock baggie. I am a novice at sewing, but my first try is looking good...I'll do a second one before giving her the tea tote. Thanks...great tutorial! Jane

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    1. Hi Jane! I'm so glad you like this idea. Good for you for trying...I'm sure your sister will be impressed! Actually, I am making more this Christmas, too. They're great little gifts.

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  4. Thank you so much for the tutorial! I have made these as gifts for my women's ministry and for my friends and everyone absolutely loves them it is a perfect gift!

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  5. Thanks, Marcia, for letting me know! Isn't it fun to discover a craft that makes such an easy and welcome little gift? I've just thought of two new friends who would like these very much so I'll be whipping up more of them, myself!

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