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Oakshott Lipari Rainbow Stripes Tote Bag and Tutorial

pieced oakshott lipari tote rainbow

rainbow stripes oakshott lipari quilted tote

oakshott lipari rainbow pieced tote bag

oakshott lipari tote bag back

This Oakshott Lipari is OMG gorgeous. They are jewel tones like none I have ever seen. After getting my hands on this fat eighth pack I immediately understood why quilters hoard Oakshott like garment sewists hoard good border prints. I was sent the Oakshott from Sew Mama Sew to make a tote bag, but I immediately started to rethink my original tote design so that I could use less Oakshott so I had more for other selfish projects. And then I had a stern talking-to to myself and told myself that I was being silly and greedy and I should go ahead with my original plan because I can always buy more fabric. Well, that bit about “always buy more fabric” was music to my ears, so I continued on with the plans for a large tote.

oakshot lipari collection

To make this tote you need: 13 fat eighths of Oakshott Lipari, 3/4 yds of 42″ wide fabric to use as lining, and 1 1/2 yds of 20″ wide fusible interfacing.

sew strips together

FRONT: Cut 1.5″ strips on the long edge of a fat quarter (so your strip is 1.5″ x 18″) of 13 different colors of Oakshott Lipari. Sew them together using a 1/4″ seam allowance and press all the seams to the same direction. (All seam allowances in this project are 1/4″). I picked in order Porticello, Malfa, Rinella, Lentia, Dattilo, Lisca, Stromboli, Lipari, Canneto, Gallina, Volcano Bleu, Scari, and Marina.

cut stripes and flip

Cut 4 strips of the rainbow that are 1.5″, 1 strip of 2.5″, 1 strip of 3.5″, 1 strip of 4.5″, and 1 strip of 5.5″. Set aside 3 of the 1.5″ strips. Rotate the 2.5″ and 4.5″ strips 180 degrees so their rainbows are opposite of the 1.5″, 3.5″, and 5.5″ strips.

finished tote front

Sew the rainbow strips together and press. It should be relatively easy to get the corners to line up because you can nest all your seams. (The odd rows will have their seam allowances facing the opposite direction from the even rows.) Your pieced front will have a finished size of 15.5″ x 13.5″.

tote back

BACK: Cut a 5″ x 14.5″ rectangle of fabric from 2 colors (outside stripes) and a 4.5″ x 14.5″ rectangle of fabric from 1 color (inside stripe). Sew them together along the long edges and press. Sew one of the extra 1.5″ rainbow stripes to the top and press. Your pieced back will have a finished size of 15.5″ x 13.5″.

tote sides

SIDES: Cut 4 rectangles of 4.5″ x 14.5″. Sew them together in pairs along the long edge. Grab your remaining two 1.5″ strips of rainbow and rip two a seam in each to separate 5 colors from 8 colors. Sew the rainbow of 8 to the top of each side and discard the rainbow of 5. Your pieced sides will have a finished size of 15.5″ x 8.5″.

tote bottom

BOTTOM: Cut 2 rectangles of 4.5″ x 13.5″. Sew them together on the long edge and press. Your pieced bottom will have a finished size of 8.5″ x 13.5″.

fuse interfacing to back of tote front

I strongly recommend that you fuse a piece of fusible interfacing to the wrong side of each part of the tote. This will help your tote stand up to more wear and tear and protect your lovely piecing. You will need 2 pieces of 15.5″ x 13.5″ (for front and back), 2 pieces of 15.5″ x 8.5″ (for sides), 1 piece of 13.5″ x 8.5″ (for bottom), and 2 pieces of 3.5″ x 18″ (for the handles, next step).

topstitch oakshott lipari tote handles

HANDLES: Cut 2 rectangles of 3.5″ x 18″. Fuse fusible interfacing to each piece. Sew one long edge to the other on each rectangle to make two tubes. Turn them right side out and press them flat with the seam in the center back of the flat handle. Topstitch along the long edges of each handle to help them keep their shape and structure.

pin handles to edge of tote

CONSTRUCTION: Follow the instructions on my How to Sew a Tote Bag Tutorial for how to sew together the front/back, sides, and bottom. (Note that the sizes of this bag are slightly different than the bag in the tutorial and this bag uses 1/4″ seam allowances instead of the 1/2″ seam allowance listed on that tutorial). Once you’ve made that shell, come back here since I made a few changes to construction for this bag. First, instead of sewing the handles onto the outside of the bag, I tucked them into the top seam of  the bag so that they wouldn’t cover any of the pretty piecing. To do this, pin the handles to the front and back with right sides together, letting the edge of the handle stick out past the top of the bag by a little bit.

sew lining to tote

LINING: You will need to sew a lining for this bag like you sewed the outside of the bag. You will need 2 pieces of 15.5″ x 13.5″ (for front and back), 2 pieces of 15.5″ x 8.5″ (for sides), and 1 piece of 13.5″ x 8.5″ (for bottom). I used a heavy satin since it felt like the correct level of luxury to play off the Oakshott, but I strongly recommend NOT using a slippery fabric and sticking to cotton. Once you have the lining sewn, turn it right side in and place the main bag right side out inside of the lining. Sew them together along the top edge using a 1/4″ seam allowance and leaving a gap of several inches. I recommend sewing a second layer of stitching across each handle for strength.

edgestitch on tote

EDGESTITCHING: Turn the lining to the inside of the bag through the slit you left at top. Tuck the raw edges of the unstitched gap in and edgestitch along the top of the bag (like in the other tutorial instructions). In this bag I also edgestitched along all the other seams to add a bit of extra strength and structure to the bag.

oakshott lipari tote bag back and sides

I’m proud of the way that the rainbow wraps around the top of the bag. A simple detail, but one that adds a lot of pop to an otherwise pretty simple bag.

oakshott lipari tote bag side handles

cat sleeping on rainbow tote bag

Tig definitely approves of my finished tote bag. There are several other lovely sewing bloggers making their own lovely Oakshott Lipari totes so check their’s out too! The other lovely sewists are Dandelion DriftAnjeanette KlinderSewplicityMonkey Beans, and Falafel and the Bee.

pieced oakshott lipari tote rainbow

Comments 31

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  1. Mary Danielson Perry

    Wow. Erin, this is GORGEOUS. This bag doesn’t even look self-made, because it’s so professional. I’m in awe! If it disappears in the middle of the night, don’t look my way. ;)

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  2. Kelly

    Oh wow, that is just gorgeous! The colors are amazing, and I love that crinkly texture. My mom is a quilter and once kept me on the phone for almost an hour raving about the Oakshott she saw at a quilt show… sounds beautiful!

  3. Teresa

    I actually like the back of your bag best because my attention was drawn to the rainbow strip along the top of the bag…. I just love that part!!

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  4. Michele T

    I love how you made the colour design of your tote – cool! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Lyn

    A gorgeous tote..love the way you have combined the colours..thank you for sharing how you made it

  6. Susan K in Texas

    This is a gorgeous bag. I love how the fabric being pieced like that make it look like it’s moving. And kitty approved – it’s a winner! Thanks for sharing how you made it.

  7. Jan

    Cute Cute bag – love the colors – especially against that green bamboo!
    And Thanks much for the tut!

  8. Barbara L

    your bag is just beautiful – I love what you did with the strips of fabrics – WOW !!!

  9. Sandy K

    Erin, I love the rainbow of colors you used for your tote. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Pam S

    Your bag is gorgeous! And so is our kitty with the pretty toenails! Thanks for sharing. And thanks for your inspiring blog.

  11. Cheri Barker

    Love, love, love what you’ve done with this Oakshot. I washn’t too impressed with the fabric line when I saw the picture on Sew Mama Sew…but you have really brought it out beautifully.

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