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Build Your Own Tote Bag: Custom Exteriors

Lesson 1 of 7

Tools & Materials for Exteriors

Betz White

Build Your Own Tote Bag: Custom Exteriors

Betz White

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Lesson Info

1. Tools & Materials for Exteriors

Lesson Info

Tools & Materials for Exteriors

I'm that's white, I'm a sewing pattern designer and I'm the author of three craft and selling books I love to so and I've been selling my whole life this class we're going toso tote bags, which are super great project for beginners really approachable and it's a great project to hone your skills and even if you're a little apprehensive about sewing bags, we're really going to break it all down and make it approachable. This class focuses on customizing exteriors, so really any outward feature that you have in your bag is not only great for organization but also really conveys your style, so we're going to go over pockets and zippers on other little details that'll just make your toe really customized and special just for you, I'm going to use three different bags a cz examples and we'll go over different features and talk about which items you can use to customize your own tote. All right, before we go into the piping, I'm going tio talk a little bit about the tools we're gonna be usin...

g for this class, so you're gonna need some cutting tools. I like to use a large pair of shears and also a smaller paris scissors just by my machine for snipping threads these air pinking shears, which have jaggi teeth and they're great for trimming seem allowances on curves and just getting rid of extra bulk and a also often use a rotary cutter in a mat in a ruler on and that's just great for, you know, cutting out big blocks of fabric for pockets and things like that then marking tools are really important and there's a variety of tools that you can use depending on the situation this is a disappearing ink marker sometimes you have a darker fabric where something like this won't show up and that's when I like to use this chock liner has this little part here that with chalk dust in it in a wheel on the end and so you could make a line with that and it shows up on darker fabrics this time is a fricassee on pen which eyes actually not sewing tool technically but people use it for sewing and embroidery because, um the mark is removed with friction or heat so basically you could mark a placement of something and then when you iron at the mark disappears it's also a good idea to have some turning tools. So when we're going to sew pockets and we want to really work the seam allowance out in the corner, you can use the point of a tool like this or two like this which is for turning long tubes of fabric then of course we have thread and I just use a regular standard all purpose thread and same with machine needles I usually use a universal needle um there's also some fancy your needles like this is a top stitch needle and this is a twin needle which can make a parallel line of stitching before sammi seam ripper and I also have a new all which is great for just poking a hole for inserting hardware and we'll get into that later also, if you're going to poke a hole in your fabric it's a good idea to have, um, frey check or some kind of it's like a lightweight glue that just kind of like, keeps that, um, this little threads from frank um and then we have a couple of wonder tapes this is called wonder taping this is called wonder under wonder tape is a double stick tape that washes away, and we use that for installing zippers and wonder under we're going to use for piping, and that is kind of like a double sided interfacing it's it's just it's feasible and you can hold two layers of fabric together we'll get into piping um this is pre made piping and this is courting to make your own course you have pinned and then we're going to be installing a lot of different hardware we have a twist lock and purse feet, this is a tough catch or a thumb catch and then we have magnetic snaps and then for pressing those things not the hardware, but for pressing your your materials. I also recommend having a cotton press cloth to cover your work, a spray bottle for water and then also spray starch.

Class Description

Don’t let your fear of zipper installation or inexperience with pocket construction and hardware closures stop you from ornamenting your tote!

Join Betz White for Build Your Own Tote Bag: Custom Exteriors and learn tricks and techniques for getting professional-looking results. 

You'll learn how to:

  • Add custom details to make your bag look more polished
  • Experiment with a variety of exterior pockets
  • Work with hardware closures and zippers

Betz will give you step-by-step instructions for making a bellows pocket, a pocket with corner darts, and a pocket flap. She’ll also show you the best way to construct concealed zipper closures and add metal base feet.

If you want to advance your sewing skills and make a more polished bag, join Betz White in Build Your Own Tote Bag:  Custom Exteriors.

Learn how to add a pop of color with two-sided handles or create a leather strap in Betz's tutorials on the CreativeLive blog 

And be sure to check out Betz's other class "Build Your Own Tote Bag: Custom Interiors".

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Custom Exteriors Resource List

Custom Exteriors Tool Kit and Materials List

Custom Exteriors Pocket and Flap Templates

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Chrys Elrod

This was an amazing class! I wish I had Betz in my sewing room with me on every project I sew. Her patterns are wonderful and easy to understand. Thank you Betz!!! I appreciate this so much....the tips and tricks you showed are sure to make my bags even more impressive! I love having the videos to watch.

Christine See

Most excellent course. This class explains, in detail how to add multiple different exterior pocket to take your bags up a notch. Also shows different types of closure techniques including zippers, snaps, press lock, etc. Great close up shots to see how everything is put together.

Liz Hanes

Thank you, thanks you and thank you! Your instructions on how to do dimensional pockets and piping were so clear and informative! I have had difficulty with both of these things in the past and now I feel that I should just go cut some fabric right now and make a tote!