Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tutorial: How to make a Capri Sun Bag/Tote

               Supplies needed: 30 prepped pouches (see purse tutorial for directions on how to prep)
                                         thread (your choice of color)
                                         beverage (today I chose refrigerated tap water, yum) :)

Time to complete: approx 1 hour

First lay out your pouches in a design pleasing to you.  You'll use 8 pouches for the front, 8 for the back, 2 for each side (4 total), 3 for the bottom (use least desired pouches here), 3 for each strap (6 total), and 1 for a pocket (optional).

Feel free to change the dimensions of your bag & plan accordingly.

Once you're are happy with your layout, start sewing! :)

Make sure your settings are correct:   zigzag stitch, length- just under 1, width- just under the 3

 Starting with the top left pouch, overlap 2 pouches and stitch.  (I backstitch at the beginning and ends to ensure thread doesn't become undone.)

Add your next pouch moving to the right of your layout and continue until your top row is complete.

Now stitch the bottom row together as you did the top- left to right.
 Join the 2 rows together by over lapping the top row over the bottom and stitch.

Ta-da!!!  Pat yourself on the back. The front of your bag is done. :)

And take a drink.  You need to stay hydrated when crafting. :P

Now stitch together the back of the bag just as you did the front.

Aren't you loving this?

Lay out the pouches you chose for the sides.  Stitch together, overlapping the top row over the bottom.

 On to the bottom of the bag!  Set your 3 pouches alongside the bottom of the front section of your bag so you can gauge where to overlap your pouches.  Stitch together.

Next we'll add the inside pocket.  This is optional, but I think it adds a nice touch, and then you'll have somewhere to keep your phone or your keys when you're out and about.

Decide where you want your pocket.
(I used to stitch it right over the other stitches, but when you stitch in the same place, it weakens the bag, leaving it prone to breakage.)
Stitch one side of the pocket.

 Push the pocket over and stitch, holding it in place.  It should look like an arch.
Carefully fold in the sides and push down the bottom of the pocket so it lays flat.  Stitch across.

Yay!  You now have a nice looking pocket. Feel free to add another if you like.

Yes, you can see the stitching on the front side, but it isn't that noticeable from faraway; Plus I think it adds a little character.  

We're now ready to start piecing the bag together.  Start by stitching the sides to the bottom with insides together and leaving a 1/4" gap at either end.

Likewise stitch the other side to the bottom, leaving a gap at both ends.

Can you see the gaps below?  You'll need them later in order to stitch up the sides of the bag.

Line up the front of the bag to the bottom section with the insides together.  Steal your daughters' barrettes to hold in place if you need to.  Stitch together, again leaving a 1/4" gap at both the beginning and end.  Stitch the back section of the bag to the bottom portion in the same fashion.

Occasionally  your sewing machine might get "stuck".  Just nudge your project forward as you sew as needed.  This usually is especially the case with the straps, which will come next.

Using your thumbnail on one side, and your hand pressed against on the inside, fold the bag up along the stitching to give it some shape.  This should make the bottom flat, allowing the bag to stand upright on it's own when assembly is complete.

 Woo hoo! The bottom is all stitched.
Put the bag aside for the moment, and let's do the straps.

Stitch 3 pouches together------>

Fold into thirds....

And stitch along each side, being careful to keep your seam straight.

Repeat for the other strap.

This part is optional, but you can add a center seam to your straps if you like. 
 I change the setting on my machine... 

 And stitch along the center of your strap. Repeat with the other strap.

Your straps are complete! ------>

Stitch the straps to the top of your bag, approx 1   1/2" from the edge.  
Make sure you stitch 2 rows to add strength and durability.

Watch where your straps line up- keep them even on both sides, and be aware of how you twist them when stitching the other end.
Repeat with 2nd strap on the other side.

Now on to the trickiest part of all tricky parts! 
 Our last and final step is to stitch up the 4 sides/edges of the bag.

Pushing the bottom up so it folds diagonally, pinch the bottom of the sides together and line them up.

Fold any excess bag out of your way and starting from the top stitch the sides together.  Take your time and be careful to keep the sides lined up and DON'T stitch off of the bag! :)

Stitch all sides in similar fashion.  If you feel like you need more room for the bag, feel free to separate the extension table on your machine.

Ta-da!   Ta-da ta-da ta-da!  Your Capri Sun bag/tote is FINISHED!!!  Take a bow and admire your work.   Take a picture and post it on your facebook page.  You know you want to show it off and tell everyone how you learned to make it!   

See you again soon!
~Happy crafting!~


  1. Such a fun tote, which effectively, cost you nothing to make... other than your time. Another fabulous, easy to follow tutorial. Thanks for sharing!!!

  2. Thanks Pam! Friends and family have told me I need to sell these, but I've found that I'm a designer- not a mass producer, and so I generally only make them as gifts. Glad you found my instructions clear! :)

  3. Hi Michka. What a hilarious and awesome bag. Great tutorial. Congrats on your feature at Threading Your Way :)

  4. That is awesome.i will definetly give it a try.

  5. Pretty beautiful tote you made. I'll try to make my capri sun tote here in Brazil with similars. Congrats! Tks for the hints. Erika.


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