Sew Alongs, Chamomile Tote

The Chamomile Tote Day 4: Attaching the Handles and Contrast Bottom Panel

This is a tricky step for both versions of the Chamomile Tote, especially if you are using waxed canvas. The reason for this is that it is pretty much impossible to secure your handles in place before you sew if you are using waxed canvas. Don't worry, we've found the best way to get these handles on, and we are going to walk you through it!

Attaching the Handles, Both Versions:

Switch thread to match the webbing and contrast panels. Cut webbing into two equal lengths to create your handles.

Using a marking tool such as the edge of your scissors, draw a very light vertical line on one Outer Body piece (A) to mark the position of the outer edges of each handle, referring to the measurements on the pattern.  Lay a handle down to check the position, and draw a horizontal line on the webbing 2” down from the edge of piece A. Note: If you are not using waxed canvas, you may find it easier to pin or use fusible tape to first secure your handles, then sew them in place.

Without pinning, edgestitch the webbing onto the bag one side at a time, starting at the bottom outer edge of the webbing, sewing up to the marked line, across the line, and back down the inner edge of the handle, making sure that the outer edge of the webbing is matching up with the placement line you drew on piece A. When sewing on the handles, it may help to roll up the part of the bag that you aren't working on so that it stays out of your way.

Start on outer edge of webbing...

Start on outer edge of webbing...

Pivot at marked line

Pivot at marked line

Sew back down other side

Sew back down other side

To reinforce the handle, sew a line 1” down from the top line of stitching on the webbing to create a 1” x 1” box.

Apply a metal spot to the center of the box by using a seam ripper to carefully open up two small slits for the spot’s prongs, piercing the webbing and the main body fabric. Insert the spot, then use pliers to bend the prongs towards each other so that they are flush with the back side of piece A. Repeat on the other side of the handle.

Mark center of box

Mark center of box

Place prong centered on mark

Place prong centered on mark

Mark placement of the prongs

Mark placement of the prongs

Carefully make small slits

Carefully make small slits

Insert Spot

Insert Spot

Use pliers to flatten prongs

Use pliers to flatten prongs

Now for the other side: lay the pocket on top of the other Outer Body piece (A) with both pieces facing right side up (refer to pattern for placement). Mark the position of the pocket by lightly tracing it onto piece A, then baste in place along the side edges and bottom with a 1/4” seam allowance. 

Lay out the other handle according to the measurements given on the pattern. The inner edges of the handles will overlap the edges of the pocket by 1/2” (for both versions). Use the same method to sew the handle onto the Outer Body piece (A) as you did for the first side, being very careful when sewing over the zipper on Version A. Go slowly and use the hand wheel as needed. Once the handles are attached, add the metal spots.

Attach Contrast Bottom Panels (Both Versions):

Fold the top edge of each Contrast Bottom Panel down by 1/2” to the wrong side. Lay one Contrast Bottom Panel on top of the Outer Body piece (A) with the pocket on it, both pieces facing right side up. The Contrast Bottom Panel will overlap the bottom of the pocket by 1/2”. Use clips to secure the Bottom Contrast Panel in place, then topstitch 1/8” away from the top edge, attaching it to the Outer Body (A). Repeat for the other Outer Body piece (A). 

Now, I just want to mention something: at any time if things that should be lining up perfectly (such as the Contrast Bottom Panel and the Outer Body) aren't quite lining up perfectly because, you know, we are humans and not robots, it is perfectly OK to do a little trimming here and there to tidy things up. You don't want to make any changes that will alter the size of shape of the bag, but a little snip here or there is just fine.  You have permission.

OK, your Outer Body pieces are assembled- tomorrow we will start tackling the lining.