Totes interesting…

After the successful completion of my recent “quilted bucket” I decided to sign up for another swap.  This time I signed up for a brown bag tote swap for the PNW Modern Quilt Guild meet up.  I really must learn to say “no”…

As with the bucket I worked myself up into a tizzy about the whole thing. I mean a quilted container is one thing, a bag is a whole other kettle of fish.  After weeks and weeks of procrastinating I finally found a pattern I thought I could do without going crazy and set out on the adventure.

The pattern I choose was from Purses Bags & Totes which I borrowed out of my local library (and which may or may not be a little overdue!).


I then had to make a paper pattern, piecing together bits of letter sized sheets. Somehow I found it easier to do this while watching Project Runway for some reason!

pattern making

For the fabric we were given 1/2 a yard of denim from Robert Kaufman and I choose to supplement it with Michael Miller’s “Maze” and a selection of solids.

fabric detailOnce the pattern and the fabric where chosen the fun began.  There were at least 386 steps this time (double the steps of the bucket) and I was so busy making the sucker I forgot to photograph everything.  There was however a lot of sewing, a lot of pinning and a lot of swapping out thread – I constantly alternating between white and fuchsia bobbins.


There was also the wonderful step I love… that step that lets you know you are nearing the end… the step that is hard to do with a hand brace on… the step I like to call “turning the sucker right side out through a small hole in the lining”.

turning inside out

Finally, after more steps that I had counted on, I was left with this…

finished tote bag

My tote has two pockets – one in the front and one in the back. I bordered the front one with a solid fuchsia to make it stand out a little…

back side of tote

To tone down the fun, loud feature fabric I made the bag gussets out of solid purple…

gusset detail

and  used solid fuchsia to line the bag…

tote detail

There are also little fuchsia ties on the side to bring the top part of the bag in…

bow detail

And a large, vintage button as the front clasp (though I am not sure how effective it is!)…

button detail

The tote is complete and will be swapped out this week at our Meet up.

Now to what I have learnt.. next time I would:

1.  Not leave it to the last-minute.

2.  Quilt the body of the bag.  The pattern did not say to do this but I think it would add a strength and structure to the tote.

3.  Use a fusible fleece instead of a just a heavy-duty fusible.  The pattern calls for just fusible but again I think the fleece would add a softness and structure that is needed.  I think this would also help with the bag creasing (it looks like it needs ironing constantly).

4.  Add a Wombat Quilt label… forgot to do it with this bag.

As they say…”live and learn”.

16 thoughts on “Totes interesting…

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