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"alice in wonderland" cheater panel slim tote(s) tutorial

Bah!  What in the world ...???

That's what you're thinking, right?  You, dear quilter, are looking at this one-yard-cheater-panel and thinking, "Well, it's really adorable with the classic Alice illustrations and silhouettes and all, but I can't quilt with THAT!"

Maybe, maybe not.  (I thought it would make an interesting backing for a baby quilt, or cool aprons, or cushions ...)


That's not what I'm going to show you today.

Nope.  I have a better idea.

I found this fantastic Alice-in-Wonderland cheater panel by Lecien over at Fort Worth Fabric Studio and I turned into the easiest little slim tote bag.  (Slim = flat)

Actually, I turned this one-yard panel into TWO slim totes.


Yes.  Yes I did.  Keep scrolling ... you'll see.

And when I say easiest, I mean e.a.s.i.e.s.t.  This bag is as simple as it gets.  But the fabric is so cute, no one will notice that you only spent an hour making it.  Seriously.  (If I sound a little punchy, that's because it's 3:30 a.m. and I've got insomnia ... )

So if you're a quilter and can sew a straight line, you can make this tote. 

*     *     *     *     *

Here's my really quick tutorial for you.

To make TWO slim tote bags, you will need:

  • 1 yard of Alice cheater panel (click here to find a great selection of designs and colours)
  • 2 - 14" x 24" lining fabric (click here to find coordinating Alice scatter prints - so cute!)
  • 2 - 14" x 24" batting pieces (I prefer fusible fleece, but regular quilt batting works just fine)
  • 2 - 1" x 24" batting strips for long handles
  • 2 - 1" x 12" batting strips for short handles

Note - if you only want to make one tote, use the body of the second bag as your lining.  :)

Cut the panel into horizontal strips like this:

*     *     *     *     *



*     *     *     *     *

 Step 1.

Make handles.

Step 2.

Pin or spray baste one batting piece to the wrong side of the body fabric.  Quilt as desired.  (I just followed the vertical stripes so I didn't have to think.)

Step 3.

Fold the body, right sides together, and sew along the side and bottom. 

Step 4.

Turn right side out and press.

Step 5.

Baste the handles in place.

Step 6.

To make the lining, repeat Step 3 with one lining piece, but leave a 4" opening along the bottom seam.  Keep the lining inside out.

Step 7.

Insert the bag (right side out) into the lining (inside out).  Pin the lining to the bag and sew them together around the top edge.

Step 8.

Turn the bag right side out through the opening in the lining and stitch the hole closed.  Tuck the lining inside the bag and sew a row of top-stitching 1/8" around the top edge of the bag.

 Embellish as you like, or not.

So, here they are!

Do you like them? Again, you can find a great selection of prints and colours from this Alice collection by Lecien here, and even more coordinating prints here, over at Fort Worth Fabric Studio.

But here's where it gets even better - you don't need a cheater panel to make this bag, you can use ANY fabric.  You can adjust the size of this pattern to whatever you like - make it taller, shorter, wider, narrower, and even adjust the length of the handles to suit yourself.  Create your own "cheater panel" with patchwork or applique, or just use a favourite print.  It doesn't matter.

Are you inspired yet?  Happy slim-tote-making. :) xo k

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Reader Comments (21)

Love the print! And the totes! And the cat embellish (you know I love cats:-)! And now I need some Alice prints;-)
September 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHildy
Sweet and Easy! I love it!
September 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDawn
These totes are so adorable! They turned out great!
September 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKathy Hoback
Hi K
Beautiful, like everything you make. In your instructions there are a small strips of trimmed 'scrap' below each of the main panels - are these big enough to leave on the bottom to create a small box pleat across the bottom, if I want to square it off a bit?
September 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChris
What an adorable print and such a fun use, too!
My neighbour gave me 2 metres of a pre-print patchwork of a black base with 5" squares of either various flowers, or rabbits and hollyhocks. Adorable, but, with a black background, challenging. This looks like the perfect idea. I can't wait to begin!
Once again, you have inspired, Girlie :)
September 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHeather (mtl)
What sweet totes! They would make great gifts.
September 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSuper Mom - No Cape!
I always wondered what on earth those cheater panels would be good for that I would actually like and now I know - adorable. The cat embellishment is my favorite part! Great idea.
September 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDebbi
Hey Chris!

Absolutely! It is so funny you should ask. I actually made the first bag (long handles) with a squared off bottom. But I removed it at the last minute because squaring the bottom makes the tote a little "harder". also, I didn't account for enough in the width and the bottom turned out only 8" wide. It looked weird.

So. To answer your question, yes. I would add another inch or so. But I would also make it wider. A rough estimate is that for every inch you add to the height ( for the bottom, which will be doubled to make the depth) I would add 2 inches to the width.

For both options, there is a little bit of fabric to add to the bottom (one has the row of cookies and the other is just solid red) and you can always trim less at the top too. :)

Have fun! Hope this helps.

xo k
September 7, 2015 | Registered CommenterKristyne
September 8, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSusan
These are adorable! Very inspired! Thx
September 8, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJeanice Shelley
So fun! Thank you for the tutorial!!!! :O)
September 8, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBari Jo
So fun! Thank you for the tutorial!!!! :O)
September 8, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBari Jo
Beautiful tote bag.
September 9, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHandmadeDIVA
Absolutely beautiful tote bag.
September 9, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHandmadeDIVA
This is the second blog today that I've stumbled upon with story-inspired fabric. There must be stories in the air! :-) How wonderful!

Love your tote; thanks for an great tutorial!
September 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTeri
What a nice idea for using the panel. It makes a really cute tote and it's so simple. I love it!
September 11, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterbekki
Ooooooh. Sister wants one of those!
September 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJillien
These are amazing! I have the perfect fabric for this tote. I have patiently waited for 5 years to use it for just the right project because it has a similar row type lay out like your fabric does. The tricky part was finding a project that showed me how to use the fabric in a way to show off almost every bit of it in some way, and you have did that. Thank you so much for sharing your creativity with all of us. Your blog is one of a few that I follow regulary, I love the fact that there is a way for people hundreds of miles and even oceans apart to share our thoughts, projects and creativity with one another. Thank you for investing your time and being one of those amazing people!
p.s. I am also going to buy the Alice fabric you used! I have loved that fabric since seeing the water bottle cover you made for your daughter!
September 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJessica
wow they are beautiful totes! very quirky!
very easy to follow tutorial
thanx for sharing
September 27, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterselina
Fantastic way to use a panel type like this!!! You did an exceptionally fine job on your tutorial, thank you for sharing!!!
February 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGay Ferland
Thank you for sharing your very beautiful work. I do so like your Journal Cover in pink/green & cherries & lace. I'm a beginner sewer, and wondered if you would mind please, putting up a Tutorial (or a pattern I could purchase) for this Journal Cover for we 'newbies'. It is the prettiest I have seen in all my Pinterest/Google etc etc searching!

I do so hope you don't mind me asking, and hope also you wouldn't mind sharing a tutorial on your lovely Cover.

Thank you again for all your beautiful free patterns, tutorials and your fabulous colour schemes.
June 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLouise

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