McCalls 6338 by Nancy Zieman 1



When thinking about Christmas gifts, I don’t limit myself to sewing creative projects for only the winter season. Case in point—a picnic! One of my most popular patterns with McCall’s is a collection of picnic or pot luck accessories. Rather than taking a dish to pass wrapped in an old towel or cookout supplies in assorted sacks, wouldn’t your friends enjoy a coordinated look? McCall’s #6338 features five component pieces: large picnic tote, small tote, wine carrier, casserole carrier, and 4-fold hot pad.

Sewing Pattern Insights

Last year about this time I was writing the instructions for this pattern. There aren’t any difficult sewing steps, just straight stitching. Rather than re-hashing what you’ll find written in the pattern guide, I thought I’d give you an insight into the way the tote pieces are assembled.

  • Large or small, both picnic totes are sewn the same way: fun fabrics, stable interfacings (Peltex), and straight stitching. The pattern guide gives specific instructions on cutting the heavy-weight interfacing shorter than the tote pattern.


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  • The details are added to each tote piece when the main pieces are still flat; before they are sewn together.

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  • Create the long handles of the totes with the Fasturn. Leave an opening from the middle instead of at the end. Turn one half of the strap then the other.

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  • The pocket is created with the help of the straps.

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  • I like to sew totes and bags from the bottom up! The first traditional seam attaches the bag at the lower edge.

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  • After stitching the side seams, the tote bottom is created with what I call the gusset seam.

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  • The lining and drawcord top of the tote are sewn together. You’ll find markings on the pattern to leave an opening in the seam for the drawcord. There aren’t any buttonholes in this project!

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  • The top edge of the tote is folded under; the edges of the craft interfacing provides the perfect fold line. With a little help of Steam-A-Seam 2, the fold stays crisp.

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  • Next, the lining/drawcord top is topstitched along this fold. After adding the drawcords, the picnic tote is complete!


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The large picnic tote is my favorite size: 20″ wide X 13″ long X 8″ deep. Think about choosing fabrics in your favorite team colors, ideal for a tailgate party. (That would mean green and gold for me!)

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

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