Sew a trendy quilted tote bag

A tote bag is a useful and easy sewing project, ideal for anyone who wants to try out their new sewing machine or start their journey into this fun and practical craft. Here is a great tote bag tutorial from Empisal, the sewing machine specialists.

Materials for a tote bag

  • 1 x outer fabric (l 50cm x W 20cm)
  • 1 x fabric for inner lining (L 47cm x W 20 cm)
  • Cord for handles (2 x 20cm pieces)

There are a huge range of colours and patterns out there to choose from, but keep in mind that you’ll need a fairly heavy material that can withstand a lot of use without ripping.

How to sew a tote bag

  1. Mark the centre of the outer fabric. Place the handle ends 5cm from the centre on both sides, leaving a 1 cm tail at each of the four ends.
  2. Place the inner fabric over the handle and pin all three layers together – outer on the bottom, handles in the middle and inner on top.
  3. Sew the layers together at the top, going over the handles twice for extra strength. After you’ve sewn it, iron down the seam for neatness.
  4. Sew in the second handle the same way, then match up the seams (keeping it right side in) and pin the seams in place.
  5. Sew all 3 of the seams, remembering to leave a gap so that you can turn the bag inside out. Iron after each seam.
  6. Turn the bag inside out, so that the inner is inside the bag, and sew up the gap by hand.
  7. The outer fabric is a bit longer than the inner, making a gap at the opening. Simply fold this gap into the liner and sew it in place.

Get your first sewing machine from Empisal – High quality, low prices!

At Empisal, we’ve been providing high quality, affordable sewing machines, sewing kits, overlockers, haberdashery products and ironing equipment to South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa for over 35 years. Ideal for anyone who wants to learn to sew as well as accomplished crafters and professionals, our machines and equipment are reliable, precise and durable.

For more information on our sewing machines and products, please contact us today.

How to sew with knitted material

sew with knitted material

Knits are lovely, versatile fabrics but they do present a challenge for anyone who has only ever used their sewing machine on standard fabric types because the knit weave behaves differently to cloth weaves. But this shouldn’t put you off! With a few tips from Empisal, the sewing machine specialists, you can start creating beautiful knit clothes and furnishings in no time at all.

What is a knit fabric and why is it different to work with?

Standard fabric is made either by weaving fibres in an overlapping grid pattern, horizontally and vertically, or simply meshing fine fibres together. Knits can be woven in numerous differently patterned loops, and this means that it can stretch and pull in any direction – making it more difficult to work with. Knowing the direction in which your knit pulls as well as how much it pulls is key to working with these fabrics.

Using your sewing machine to sew knits

  • Rather than pulling your knit through the sewing machine as it sews, let your feed dogs do all the work. This will prevent overstretching, along with wavy or curled seams. Make sure that you aren’t putting too much pressure on the presser foot, as this can also cause too much stretching. Your user manual should be able to help you manage your pressure properly.
  • Another tip is to use the right type of needle. A ball point type needle will work best with the loops of a knit fabric, while a sharp pointed needle will likely cause missed stitches or poorly formed stitches.
  • Basting is a good technique to use while hemming or seaming a knit item, as it prevents the fabric from twisting out of shape.
  • Remember to set your sewing machine to a stretch stitch setting if it has one. If it doesn’t, then you can use a zigzag stitch setting. Try out the different settings on any scraps you have to see which one holds the material the best. If you have an overlocker, now is the perfect time to use it as it makes it a lot easier to sew with knits!

This winter, get sewing with beautiful cosy knits and Empisal!

At Empisal, we’ve been providing high quality, affordable sewing machines, sewing kits, overlockers, haberdashery products and ironing equipment to South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa for over 35 years. Ideal for anyone who wants to learn to sew as well as accomplished crafters and professionals, our machines and equipment are reliable, precise and durable.

For more information on our sewing machines and products, please contact us today.