Race Bib Tote Bag

22 Nov

Okay, runner friends and crafty friends, here it is. The race bib tote bag tutorial – that is a mouthful.

Nina first put this idea in my head when she sent me a Facebook post from Runner’s World about cool things to do with your race bibs.

I make a lot of bags. I like library bags, lap top bags, makeup bags, gym bags, grocery bags, etc. So I make them for me, for family, for friends. I like experimenting with different techniques and styles. For me, it’s an enjoyable quiet time hobby – minus any explicatives I may use if I have to rip all the seams out because I sewed it wrong. But none the less, it is a hobby I enjoy. So, I was up for the task.

I made several versions of this race bib tote. The first version based off of THIS tutorial. This wasn’t the bag I ultimately wanted, I was just trying to practice with that material and see how I could manipulate it. But it is now be a great library tote and grocery bag.

race bibs

race bib tote take one

Originally, I wanted to cover or protect the bibs so I scoured the internet and fabric shops asking what would be the best solution for the project and I decided to go with Vinyl Fuse. It is an iron-on vinyl that I would use to cover the bibs but it was still thin enough for repeated manipulation (lots of turning inside out). However after I made my first tote with the vinyl, I didn’t like the finished looked so I asked Nina which one she preferred (since the gift was for her) and she liked the non vinyl one too (SCORE)!

The tote bag design I used was THIS one. I chose it because it had the least amount of turning inside out and I like the boxed bottom. For the outer fabric I used the bibs. For the inner fabric (the lining), I used a heavier weight fabric like a duck canvas. I like how this was a bit sturdier. I have made them using regular lightweight fabric as well and it is fine. For the pockets I used scrap fabric I had laying around.

tote bag

the polka dot fabric is a lighter weight fabric, the blue fabric was the duck canvas

Here is what I did.

The Bibs, Your Outer Fabric

  1. Choose the bibs you want. This bag’s dimensions were 20″wide by 18″ tall, I chose 22 of Nina’s favorite bibs.
  2. Cut the bibs down and puzzle piece them together to fit your dimensions. My dimensions were 20″wide X 36″ tall- you can have one long piece of fabric of 20×36 or 2 fabric pieces of 20 x 18 1/2 and sew them together. When doing placement of the bibs, take into consideration the direction you want your bibs facing (top, bottom and the side of the bag).
  3. Paperclip or bobby pin them together instead of pinning in place (pinning will leave hold in your bibs – if you care).
  4. Sew you bibs together. I used a zig zag stitch.
laying them all out

laying them all out

Making the Bag

  1. Once you have all of your bibs stitched together to form your 20×36 piece of fabric, you will fold your bib fabric in half right sides together so that it is 20×18. At the bottom of each corner you will cut a rectangle 3″ tall by 3 1/2″ wide.
  2. For your liner piece, fold your fabric in half right sides together so that it is 20×18. At the bottom of each corner, cut your rectangles 3″tall by 3 1/2″wide.
  3. For the bib fabric, put the right sides together then stitch up the sides. Repeat with the liner fabric. ***If you are adding pockets or snaps or anything to the liner, do it now. All bags should have a pocket, plus Nina requested a flip flop pocket. Easy enough.
  4. To create the bottom of the bag, you will need to pinch the corners together so that your side seam is in the middle. Sew straight across using a 1/2″ seam. Click HERE for the photo I followed. You will do this for all 4 corners (2 corners for the race bib fabric and 2 corners for the liner fabric).
  5. Flip your outer fabric (the race bib fabric) right side out and then tuck your liner fabric inside.
  6. Paperclip or bobby pin along the bottom of the bag on the front and back, but not the sides. Stitch along the edge with a 1/8″ seam allowance – this attaches the liner to the bag at the bottom and it looks nice.

Making the Straps (Out of race medal ribbons)

  1. Choose the medal ribbons you want. I preferred the thicker 1 1/2 width ribbons. I used 3-4 ribbons per strap.
  2. Sew your ribbons together so that you end up with one strip of fabric 5″wide by 26″long. You will have a total of 2 straps 5×26. They don’t have to match – I think that it is more fun when they don’t, but that’s just me.
  3. To make the strap, fold your ribbon in half lengthwise to make a crease. Open up the fabric and fold the outside edge to the center crease. Fold fabric in half lengthwise.
  4. Top stitch down each side of the fabric close to the edge.
  5. Repeat for the other strap. My finished straps were 1 1/2″wide by 26″long.
tote bag

the finished strap

Assembling the Bag and Straps

  1. Fold the raw edges of the top of your bag in about 1/2″ and pin or paperclip. Also, tuck the straps about 1″ down in between the two fabrics and pin in place (I used a pin for this). I placed my straps approximately 4″ from the side seam on each side – this fits nicely over my shoulder, but you can experiment with the size and placement of your straps.
  2. Now stitch around the top. Leave a 1/8″ seam allowance at the top and then sew a second seam 3/4″ down from the top. Then go back and put an X over each strap to reinforce the straps.

Project complete!





Email me at fitnesskel@yahoo.com with any questions or if you want me to do a custom order.

Happy Friday!

6 Responses to “Race Bib Tote Bag”

  1. CultFit November 22, 2013 at 9:00 am #

    This is brilliant! Thank you so much, I have collected so many of these things – Anyways, this will be a great project for my Son and I.:) Hope you have a great weekend, take care!

  2. nmcvicker November 22, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

    I love you SO much. Thank you!

  3. Debbi March 30, 2014 at 11:00 am #

    Thanks so “blazing this trail” for me. I have wanted to utilize the bibs I have been saving but I am so frugal that could not swallow the prices on the sites I found that will do it for you. I am pretty crafty and a quilter…been sewing since I was 10 (now 51) but I could not seem to but my brain in motion, stay on task, and figure out how to make this work. I have been searching for a yoga bag that will hold a mat and other gym items and they simple dont exist so this will be my goal! THANK YOU again as I have a found my motivation! Awesome looking bag by the way! Your friend recieved an amazing birthday gift!

  4. Dee Stearns December 1, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    My daughter is a Senior in high school and just completed her final cross country season. I just finished making her a tote with all of her high school race bibs for Christmas! I’m so excited – I can hardly wait for her to open it. Thanks for your awesome directions, it went together so smoothly!

    • kandjcolorado January 27, 2015 at 10:06 am #

      Let me know if I can help in any way. I have made a lot and have learned through numerous mistakes.

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