Category Archives: Tote Bags & Purses

Fussy Cutters Club, Book Review and Giveaway!

Today is my day to post a review and host a giveaway of a fun new quilt book.  If you are here for the first time via the blog hop, welcome!  The book of the day is Angie Wilson’s Fussy Cutter’s Club published by C&T Publishing.  You may know Angie as she is the queen of online quilt alongs and swaps. She thrives on leading large groups of quilters through complicated projects such as her current QAL making Jen Kingwell’s Gypsy Wife Quilt – not for the faint of heart for sure.  For more info on the events she is currently leading and has done in the past, click here.

It was about two months ago when I was invited by C&T Pubs to review Angie’s upcoming book.  Right away I was intrigued by the title of the book and the gorgeous cover.  I know we aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, but come on.  Look at this cover!  It just pulls the reader in at the get go.  Angie’s reputation for mad skills with fabric play and use of color assured me the book would be worth the time to read, review and create with.

The premise of the book is to learn to look at your stash with a new perspective – Angie teaches the reader to use your fabric by cutting into it and emphasizing the bits you love the most.  The book is well written and the instructions for each of the 14 projects are precise and easy to understand.  Angie takes the reader through the design process, how to best use your fabrics, color theory and more, prior to introducing projects. She really did a great job with this book.  The projects range from the very simple to quite complex (again, look at the cover!)

For my project, I chose to make the tote bag.  Angie rated it as an Intermediate project but with her clearly written instructions, I didn’t have any trouble. Following Angie’s thoughts on color for this project, I chose a limited palette.

My bag is built around a piece of vintage fabric I have from the 1950’s.  It is  a kitschy print featuring red, brown and black kitchen appliances, clocks and coffee cups.  I loved the idea of using vinyl for the bottom of the bag (looks great and gives durability) and found this textured vinyl at Ben Franklin.  Once I had my focus fabric and the vinyl, the rest of the fabric was pulled from my scrap bins.

Since the red coffee cup was the primary focus, I decided to use mainly black, brown and white with the occasional pop of red. Most of my fabrics had a vintage look to them except the coffee themed text prints.  Those are clearly current and modern but I liked the idea of including the coffee text with the other fabrics, to further the coffee theme of the bag.   The main fabrics I fussy cut were the coffee cups and saucers, the text prints, and the tiny black coffee pots on the vintage fabric.

Making the slabs for the outside of the bag was really fun – I have improv pieced in the past, but it has been a long while.  Putting these scraps together was very satisfying.  I did reduce the size of the bag by a few inches in width and length. I am fairly short and the bag seemed like it would be too big for me at the original size but breaking it down to reduce it was easy.

The two main slabs and the vinyl bottom are assembled here

I learned quite a bit about fussy cutting.  Like anything, the more you do it, the better it becomes. Looking back, I feel I should have trimmed the bits I fussy cut closer in. I left too much peripheral pattern and that detracts from the focal point.  Note the cup and saucer below.  I think if I would have trimmed it down a bit and removed the little bits of coffee pots, it would have been much cleaner. In the picture above, take a look at the text print.  Were I to do this again, I would not allow the other words to appear. I really only wanted the word “coffee” to be the focus.  But live and learn (or sew and learn?).  Next time I will remember these bits and pieces that really make a difference in a project.

 

When assembling the bag, Angie’s instructions called for me to line the outer pieces with fusible interfacing and then to apply fusible batting.  I was skeptical at first but it really makes the structure of the bag a nice combination of crisp and soft (does that make sense?)  The addition of the fusible interfacing gave it a nice shape. Once I had those layers assembled, I used simple straight line quilting to hold all three pieces in place.

Her pattern calls for fabric straps but I had plenty of the vinyl so I decided to make the straps with that instead. I like the look of it and was pleasantly surprised that my machine had no issue stitching through several layers of vinyl. (I did use a heavy duty jeans needle.)

My model shows just how cute this tote bag is!

Overall, it was a great project and I felt the book was a great inspiration  to look at my fabric with a different perspective.  The tote is really fun (as you can see with my always available bag model.) It traveled with me to Vermont last week and when combined with the cross body bag I made, it was the perfect set up.

This is just one example of the projects that Angie designed for her book.  There are thirteen others though, including pillows, coasters, minis and zip pouches. To take a look at some of the projects, here is a list of the bloggers celebrating this new book.  Check them out for lots of inspiration as well as several chances to win a copy of the Fussy Cutters Club book!  As with most book giveaways, if the winner is international, an e-book will be provided.  If in the states, you will receive a hard copy of the book.

To enter to win, please leave a comment telling me your current go-to quilt book (I guarantee if you purchase or receive this book, it will be right up there on the list!) I will leave the giveaway open through Saturday, October 28th and will announce a winner on Sunday.

 

Linking up with lots of my favorites – most are listed at the top of the page, under Link Ups.  Also linking to Elm Street Quilts annual Bag It event.  Check that out here!

Cross Body Bag for Travel

Most of the time, I use a big purse. I carry all sorts of stuff, probably more than I really need to. But that doesn’t work as well when I am traveling.  If I bring a tote bag or backpack on a plane (for a book, iPad, food etc) it becomes cumbersome to also have a purse.

I decided to make a slim, simple cross body bag for these, not-very-frequent, travel days. This way I will have a purse with my wallet and phone in it while I am traveling and it won’t take up tons of room in the carry-on bag. Brilliant, you say? Aw, shucks…

I chose the Grid fabric from Sarah Golden’s Maker Maker fabric.  It is a wonderful cotton and linen blend with great texture. Andover makes it and I have a selection in my shop.  I washed the fabric before I started so it would soften up a bit.

When I was thinking about this project, I decided to model it after the 30 Minute Pouch on KelbySews.com.  I have made tons of these as gifts.  One Christmas I gave them to a number of my friends, my sisters, my mom and mother-in-law. You can check those out here.  Anyway, I thought if I just made it substantially larger, added an interior pocket, and loops for a strap, it would be a cute bag.  Guess what?  I was right!  It turned out great.  Here are some photos of my process.

I cut the exterior piece, the batting and the lining all the same size, 9″ x 20″.  Then I quilted the batting to the exterior piece with three seams.  The quilting doesn’t show at all, black thread on a black print, but it held the batting in place while making the bag.

The interior pocket came next.  It is a bit of a trick to explain but I took a 5″ square and placed it on top of the lining piece, right sides together. I drew a rectangle toward the top, on the back side of the square and stitched around that rectangle.  Next I clipped out the interior of the rectangle so I could turn the fabric to the other side of the lining.

Finally, I took a second 5″ square and sewed it to the flap of fabric that was now on the wrong side of the lining.  (I know this is hard to follow and if anyone wants further info, I can write a tutorial.  It is a nice way to add a pocket to any bag you are working on. Let me know if you would be interested.)

Interior pocket sewed to lining fabric.

Once the pocket was in place, I set the zipper – I won’t go into detail here because I used the exact process described in the KelbySews tutorial. It is very simple.

Before sewing the side seams, I placed two loops of twill tape, one on each side, to be stitched into the side seam. Then I sewed the side seams.

This bag has exposed seams (the lining doesn’t hide them) so I did run a tight zig zag stitch along each side to finish the fabric.

Once the bag was flipped right side out, it looked like this.

The final piece was to make a long strap. I pieced together two lengths of fabric that were two inches wide. By pressing the raw edges to the center first, then pressing the whole strip in half, and finally stitching the strap all the way down the length of it, I quickly had a shoulder strap. I looped one end through each of the twill tape loops and stitched them together.  This means it isn’t adjustable.  If you wanted something more flexible, you could buy the hardware to make a little looped finish on the end of one strap.

Peeking at the interior of the bag.

The lining was a scrap from a thrift store but I love it with the Grid fabric.

For measurements, in case you are curious, the bag finishes at 8″ wide, 10″ tall, with a strap that is 50″ long.  I think the size is just what I wanted.  The only change I would make is to move the zipper up about two inches so I would have a bit more usable space inside the bag.  The most functional space is below the zipper and it would be better to have less space above the zipper.

 

 

The Best Kind of Sewing

I know I am not alone when I say I love to sew for a cause. There are so many people less fortunate than us, people who are dealing with all sorts of hardship. Quilting and sewing cannot fix these things, but it can show others how much we care. One such cause is Sadie’s Dream for a Cure. Founded in 2012, this organization provides tote bags filled with toys, crayons, games and stuffed animals to children who are battling cancer. Sometimes the child regularly endures long IV infusions or hospital stays in an isolation room while their immune system is severely compromised from their treatments. These bags bring a little happiness to a scary time for a child.

This organization has several options for how we can help. They will provide an entire kit to a person wanting to sew a bag. These kits contain the fabric, fusible batting and the label for the front. Alternatively, they will send you just the label, if you would like to rather use your own fabric. I thought it would be a good use of some stash so I requested just the label. Finally, if you don’t have time to sew just now, they keep a wish list on their website of items they need for filling the bags. Here is a link to check it out.

Bags are donated to hospitals all over the country. Some of the bags are filled with adult items for parents who find themselves suddenly experiencing an extended stay at a pediatric hospital. The adult bags are stocked with toiletries and snacks.

Before I go any further, I need to make a clarification. I didn’t make all four bags shown at the top of the page. I first heard of this project on Instagram when The Quilter’s Planner announced a sew along to make these bags as a group. They did a few posts explaining the steps along the way. I didn’t join in with the sew along due to some timing issues. However, I did pass the idea along to my sister. She also loves to sew and I was fairly sure she would want to make a bag or two. Turns out she made three! Hurray for the kindness of others.

It has been fun to receive pictures of the bags my sister made over the last week or so. She did this cute one with bugs — perfect for the budding entomologist.

Who wouldn’t love the colors in this purple and blue bag? The fabric choices are perfect. It would work for a child or an adult.

For the third bag she used this sweet multicolored fabric with little cupcakes.

My bag is pink with a floral print used for the pockets and the trim around the top. I added a pop of green for the accent strip. When I was making it there was one hiccup.  After I attached the lining to the outer bag, I noticed I had forgotten to put the pocket on the lining (for the inside of the bag). Dang it. I decided to unpick the stitches on the side seam and carefully insert the pocket and try to stitch it down. It was kind of silly but it worked.

I am pretty happy with the final results! Fun, bright colors make for a cute bag.

These bags are fun to make and a simple way to help out a family going through a rough time. I enjoy bag making anyway so this was a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

Just a quick note – I want to let you know I have begun a newsletter to keep readers posted about my fabric shop. I will be sending it out about every eight weeks or so and it will contain information on new arrivals and fun promotions for my newsletter subscribers. If you are interested, there is a sign up form on the right side of the page.

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts and TGIFF.  Hope all of you have a fantastic long weekend for the Memorial Day holiday.

 

A Fresh New Totebag

I am loving having all of these gorgeous bolts of fabric downstairs. I like to look at them, rearrange them, sell pieces to my wonderful customers and best of all, make stuff with them. I know, it probably isn’t the path to becoming rich – using up my own inventory – but it’s all just sitting there, taunting me, calling out to me. My willpower only goes so far. I am human after all.

When I was in the process of selecting this first round of fabric purchases, I tried very hard to make sure that the lines I bought were able to intermingle. I like offering choices and having pieces that work well together. This pink paisley print is actually from the Modern Tykes line (from Henry Glass). The line is a set of adorable juvenile prints. But this paisley holds its own. It is a deep pink with gray and taupe accents. Pink isn’t usually my color but I like this one. I also carry a selection of Color Weaves – a textured solid made by PB Textiles.  The gray piece works perfectly with this paisley print.

I love both of these fabrics together and thought they were a good choice for a springtime tote bag.  I used (for the second time) the tutorial,  Summer Madras Tote by Anna Graham (Noodlehead.com). (Here is the first one I made, in case you want to check it out.) It is a very simple bag that takes maybe an hour to put together. The tutorial is very easy to follow. I like the outer pockets finished with a bit of trim.

 

This bag is roomy and will be perfect for shopping or filling with fresh produce at the farmer’s market. I have a feeling I will get plenty of use out of it!

I have a second bag in the making as well. This one is based on a tutorial by Beth at Cooking Up Quilts. For this, I will use a piece of fabric from Maker Maker, by Sarah Golden.  I have been wanting to try a recessed zipper and her tutorial makes it look simple. That remains to be seen!

I also finished the baby’s quilt this week. I sent it off to my kids and will share a post on that next week. The baby is due any day now.  We are all so excited to meet her.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. I am experiencing QuiltCon vicariously through all of the posts on Instagram. So many amazing quilts!!

Today is the last day for the sale on Maker Maker fabrics. I have each piece marked down by 15% – no coupon code needed.

Linking to my usuals – check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Third Time is a Charm

You know I had to do it, right? This morning I made a third Open Wide pouch. I wanted to test out the ideas I laid out in yesterday’s post. Guess what? The worked out quite well (if I do say so myself).  For this pouch, I made the medium size again, with the pouch finishing at 6.5 x 6 inches.

The first change I made was to finish the end of the zipper prior to stitching it to the fabric. So much easier! Sewing this little 2×3 inch rectangle of fabric was much simpler without having the little pouch dragging around while I manipulated the zipper under the presser foot of the machine. Score!

The second change was to leave the lining open, or unstitched, while I boxed the corners of the outer fabric.  Again, much easier.

I had everything pinned together as normal and started on one side, by the zipper. I continued up the edge, across the width of the bag and down the other side until I was back at the lining fabric.  Then I was able to box the corners and could peek inside to see that the seams were lined up properly.

Once I had the two outer corners boxed, I finished sewing the lining together. I left the usual opening at the bottom of the lining and then boxed those two corners. Bingo. It worked just fine.

I forget what this fabric is even from, but isn’t it sweet. I love these little houses. I wish I had another piece, but I don’t…. such is life. 🙂 I think it is adorable with the sweet bicycles on the outer fabric.

Here is the finished tab once the bag was assembled.

While it isn’t perfect, it is much better than the first two attempts. Yep, practice certainly makes better. I think three pouches is enough. I need to move on to something else now.

But I want to share two more things before I finish up.  First is this silly picture of Julia. I love this picture. I think is is reminiscent of a grumpy Mrs. Claus the way she is peering at me above her glasses and the Santa hat is pulled down so low.  I think I took this when we were decorating the house for the holidays a couple of years ago. It makes me smile every time.

The next thing is the little wool Christmas ornament I made. I bought the kit when I was in Maine over the summer. It is really adorable. Nothing terribly difficult about it but I enjoyed making it. I like the little beads that were included with the kit. They are just the perfect amount of bling. 🙂

Ok, that’s enough for now! I have a pile of gifts to be wrapped so I had better get busy with them. Oh wait… I have one more thing.  Yesterday the power went out and it was a pain.  I had cookies in the oven baking, raw cookies on the counter waiting for their turn.  Julia ended up studying for her Chemistry final by candlelight and the flashlight on her phone.  It was only 4:30 in the afternoon but it was so gloomy out that the house was dark (and we have huge windows in this part of the house!)  Luckily it was only out for a couple of hours.

Julia finished her finals today (I am going to brag and tell you she got a 94% on that Chemistry final.) It is officially Christmas break. I am not sure if I will post much over the holidays but please know that I wish everyone a wonderful Holiday season, whichever way you and your family celebrates.

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts.

Open Wide Pouch and Alison Glass Combo

Today was one of those days where I had plenty of things I should be doing but I sewed instead. I couldn’t get in the mood for anything on the neverending ‘to-do’ list. I just felt like sewing. Which is fine. I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon. It is pouring rain outside; so dark and cloudy it looked like evening by 2:00 in the afternoon.

Last night, I decided to pull out my dwindling collection of Alison Glass scraps. You know I love her fabric – I have used it to make a mini for an Alison Glass swap as well as two purses. Yvonne, over at Quilting Jetgirl, has been playing with, sewing with, collecting and posting about Alison Glass lately and it got me in the mood. She is hosting a little Alison Glass celebration in January and there just might be a prize of a huge set of fat eighth’s to be won.  All of this set off a bit of an Alison Glass frenzy in my sewing room. 🙂

Thinking about what I wanted to make, I ruled out any sort of mini quilt or table runner. Rather, I wanted to make a tote or a zip pouch. I poked around on my Pinterest boards and found the tutorial for the Open Wide zip pouch from Noodlehead.com.  Anna Graham is the blogger and pattern designer behind Noodlehead. You might remember that I made her 241 Totebag three times over the past year. Her patterns and tutorials are wonderful. I really like the look of the Open Wide pouch.

I made two of them this afternoon. They are that simple!  The first one was the middle size pouch that measures about 6″ x 6 1/2″. I decided to have a different fabric for the base of the bag. The second pouch was made with the smallest measurements, finishing at 4.5″ x 5″. I really like the method Anna uses for these pouches. She boxes the corners quite deep which creates a very wide bottom of the pouch, in relation to the length at the top. Because of this, the pouches open wide.  This little variation is such a simple way to get this result.

I found two challenges with this pattern. The biggest of which (for me) was boxing the corners of both the outer fabric and lining fabric without being able to peek in and see if the seams were all lined up correctly. Anna’s instructions call for sewing the lining and outer fabric together, leaving an opening in the bottom of the lining to turn it right side out.  Prior to turning it right side out, you box all four corners. It worked, but I would like it better if I could see what I was doing. I think it might be possible to stitch the outer fabric and stop. Then box the corners while still being able to look inside and see that it is all lined up. After that, one would continue to sew the perimeter and finish the lining.  Boxing the corners of the lining doesn’t matter as much since they don’t show.  Of course, I didn’t think of this until after I completed two pouches.  😉

The second challenge is not a huge deal. Anna has the tail end of the zipper extend beyond the end of the zip pouch. It adds a nice touch to the finished bag. But I had a hard time getting a decent result. It was sort of fiddly and I ended up unpicking the stitches on each of them and trying to get a better finish.  They still don’t look great. I think I would play with this next time and try to come up with a different way to finish off the end of the zipper. It doesn’t look like it should be so hard but it was difficult for me to keep the little folds in place and move the zipper around, dragging the pouch along with it. I wonder if I could have finished the end of the zipper before I even began sewing the pouch together. Questions, questions…. I think I need to make a third pouch and test out these ideas.

Anna lists fusible interfacing as optional for the pouches. I used a fusible batting. I like the bit of heft it gives the bag. When I made the second one, I decided to quilt two horizontal lines on each of the pieces of outer fabric. It looks cute and will make sure the batting stays nice and flat against the outer fabric. Overall, the pattern is great and it was a fun project for this afternoon. I love the look of the floral fabric (from the Field Day line) and the deep blue fabric together. I got my Alison Glass fix and now I can move on to the next project!

If you are a fan of her fabric, you might want to join in with the Link Up that will be happening over at Quilting Jetgirl.  I think it is good that I made my project early. Yvonne will be hosting the event for the last two weeks of January which is going to be a busy month for me. My son is getting married on January 14th so we will have all sorts of fun happening in January and, most likely, my sewing time will be a bit limited.

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict this week. Links are available at the top of the page, under Link Ups. Also linking to the Bag It link party at Elm Street Quilts.

Holiday Scrappy Project

Thanksgiving was a wonderful day for our family. I hope it was the same for yours.  There is much to be grateful for, not the least of which is our on-line quilting community.  Now there will be the transition into the Christmas holiday season. I am hoping I can convince Ray to put up our outdoor lights this weekend. I think, of all the holiday decorations, the outdoor lights are my favorite. I like to get them up as early as possible so we can enjoy them for as long as possible.

I have a new toy to share with you! The back story is that my father-in-law shares my love of thrift stores. We both enjoy the hunt as one never really knows what might be found on any given day. In October, my father-in-law called me and said he was at a thrift store and was looking at a sewing machine. He said he didn’t really know what it did but it looked interesting and was in great shape. I asked a few questions and figured out it was a vintage Baby Lock EA-605 serger. I think the model was made in the late 1970’s. It is a heavy little guy, being made of metal rather than plastic. When he said the machine was priced at $25, I asked him to grab it for me. He brought it over a few weeks ago when we were celebrating my birthday. (This was a mighty fine quilty birthday!)

img_8129

Actually, the serger won’t be used for quilting. In case you aren’t familiar, sergers are used to create a finished seam. There is a blade and four lines of thread. There are threads entering from above and below, though there is no bobbin. As the seam is created, the blade trims the excess fabric close to the finished edge. It is oh-so-cool! Having never used one, I signed up for a basic serger class at a little fabric shop in town. That helped me figure out some of the basics but there is still much to be learned. This particular machine is designed for woven fabrics, not knit fabrics. However my serger class instructor thinks I might be able to get a decent result with knits, so I will have to give it a try.

Because the machine needed a few adjustments I took it to our local sewing repair genius. Deby was able to clean and adjust everything and it runs so smoothly now.

img_8128

I wanted to practice on something simple so I made some Christmas themed drawstring bags. I have made a few each year for the past two years and have quite a collection now. I love not having as much paper to throw out come Christmas morning. I had a stack of vintage Christmas fabrics to use as well as loads of ribbon for the drawstrings.

img_8123

I think the tiny ones are just adorable.

img_8126

I turned this one inside out to show you the finished seam from the serger. I didn’t use the serger for the casing that the ribbons threads through. I switched over to the regular machine for that. Check out the clean finish on that seam. So great! I will practice a bit more and then try something simple like pajama pants.

If by chance you also have a serger, I would love to hear about any resources, blogs or uTube videos you might have found helpful for learning to use a serger.  Leave details in the comments.

 

craftsy-black-friday

Finally – Craftsy has gone all out for Black Friday this year. Beginning on Thursday, 11/24/16 classes are $17.99 each. Fabric and notions are all on sale as well. I am quite curious about the Boundless line of solids. I took a look and the prices are amazing. Solids, in a rainbow of thirty different colors, are available in pre-cuts such as layer cakes and jelly rolls, as well as yardage.

This is an affiliate link, meaning if you make a purchase after clicking over from my blog, I will receive a stipend.

I am linking up with a few favorites this week, including the Elm Street Quilts ‘Bag It’ event. Find out all about them at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

241 Tote, Version 3

Recently a friend of mine had a birthday. We used to work together for the same company. Since I retired (maybe five years ago?) we try to get together every so often for lunch or coffee. Sometimes we are good about it and set a time each month or so. Other times, we get busy and months pass. But we always find time when either of us celebrates a birthday.

I wanted to make something for her this year. Having recently made two versions of Noodlehead’s 241 Tote, I decided to go a third round with the pattern. You might want to read about the first two bags I made – to do so, click here or here. Making this tote a third time was quite easy. I decided to use a basic palette of mocha and denim blue.

To change things up a tiny bit, I bought a magnetic closure for the bag. Prior to this one, I used a toggle button and a loop of fabric. The magnetic snaps are a breeze to install. (If you have not done this before, here is a great tutorial from Craftsy.)  While the snap installed without issue, I did have a bit of a hiccup. I didn’t think two steps ahead when I placed the snaps. They were a tad too high and this made it really difficult to topstitch around the opening of the bag. When I realized what I had done, I tried using a zipper foot to enable me to stitch close to the snap. It helped but the stitching was a little bit herky jerky. It wasn’t nearly as smooth as I would have liked. Thankfully, my friend is tolerant of my less than perfect topstitching!

IMG_7163

As I did before, I added a loop for a keychain clasp so she won’t have to dig at the bottom of her purse for her keys. I love this little feature.

IMG_7164

On the opposite side is a patch pocket with a velcro closure.

On the exterior I placed a pocket as well.  It was supposed to be a zip pocket but somehow when I cut the opening for it I made it way too wide and I couldn’t install the zipper. This was so irritating. Try as I might, I couldn’t find a solution. Rather than a zipper, there is just a pouch type of pocket. Dang it. You’ll see in the picture below how wide that opening is. On the upside, it shows a peek of the fabric used for the pocket and I think that is sort of sweet.

IMG_7158

And for a shot of the back side of the purse.

IMG_7161

It is really pretty and the brown fabric should be great for hiding dirt that seems to appear after setting the purse on the ground or the floor of the car. Hopefully my sweet friend will enjoy the tote for a long time to come!

I will link this post to all sorts of fun places. For more info, click on the Link Ups tab at the top of the page.

241 Bag, Version 2

Prologue:

This morning I was feeling highly productive. Before 9:00 am I had taken photos of this great 241 totebag (with the help of my totebag model) and written this  post for you. In the middle of reviewing the post, checking for typos, etc, Julia walked up to me and said, “I stubbed my toe”.  I looked down and saw this horrific baby toe that was bleeding far more than I was comfortable with. I got a (clean) kitchen dishrag and did some high-quality first aid.

image1

Once we had the first aid under wraps (ha ha ha!), I scurried around collecting a ton of fruits and veggies that I was supposed to plate and serve to the senior class at 12:30 today, while they were taking turns presenting their senior projects. (I had a deep suspicion that I wouldn’t be there to serve them). Once the food was in a cooler and one shoe on Julia’s good foot, we got her in the car and headed to urgent care.

They were great. Got her right in (probably out of concern for the gross looking dishrag her foot was wrapped in. When the nurse took it off to clean her toe, he looks at me and says, “uhh, do you want this back??” I declined it.) A couple of hours and three stitches later, we are back home and she is on the couch (where she spent Saturday, Sunday and Monday for illness) doing homework. Poor thing is spending quite a bit of time on the couch and missing a whole lot of school this week. It really hasn’t been a great couple of days for this girl!

IMG_6484

 

And now that this is all taken care of, we can talk about my second 241 totebag!!

Let me tell you, the second time using a pattern is so much easier than the first! I made another 241 totebag this week and it came together incredibly quickly. I had the process down from the first time I made the bag. (You can check the first one out here.) This one is a keeper – a little selfish sewing for me!

img_20160525_5249

For this bag, I used more of my Allison Glass Field Day collection (the daisy print) and I had a big piece of Kaffe Fassett shot cotton (the solid rust piece). They look great together.

I was bold enough to put in a zipper pocket for this bag. I had a seven inch zipper in my collection of thrifted zippers ( I love finding these in thrift stores and can usually get zippers for 25-50 cents each.) The pattern calls for two zip pockets with them both installed on angles, vertically. I decided I only wanted to tackle one zipper and put it in horizontally. It wasn’t hard to put in this pocket though I am not completely satisfied with the corners – it was difficult to get them to lay flat enough. This is most likely because I didn’t clip the corners close enough. It’s hard to decide how close to clip toward the stitching.

img_20160525_5251

As before, I put in a clip to hold my keys and a slip pocket with velcro closure on the inside of the bag.

img_20160525_5252

I had two scraps of Allison Glass that worked for the lining of the exterior pockets and even though no one will see it, it makes me happy! Love it when the small scraps are usable and it adds a bit of interest to the purse.

img_20160525_5253

I have a bit of a purse addiction and this is going to be a perfect addition to my collection!

Linking to the usuals which can be found at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

If you are looking for classes or patterns to get you going on making a tote bag, check out Craftsy. Loads of classes and patterns to learn from!

craftsy pic

(This is an affiliate link, meaning if you click through and make a purchase, I will be paid a small amount in return.)

Cutest 241 Totebag Ever

Last weekend I finished up the 241 bag that I have been working on. The bag was made as a gift to my niece for her eighteenth birthday. Somehow I forgot to get a photo of Maddie with the bag at the party last week. She loved it though which made me very happy!

Making this bag in tandem with Tami from Sew Much for Free Time was really fun. Neither of us has seen the final project for the other yet and I look forward to popping over to her site to see her bag. I hope you will take a peek as well.

As is usual for Noodlehead patterns, this one was easy to follow and the result is exactly what I had hoped for.

img_20160509_5102 - Copy

This is the second bag I made using a tutorial or pattern of Anna Graham’s. The first was a tote for my mother-in-law. You can read about that here. Anna’s patterns are filled with small details that make for a stylish bag. For instance, I love that the side pockets have a fullness to them. They are fused with interfacing and cut so that they extend a bit from the side of the bag, making them really roomy.

img_20160509_5101 - CopyThe pattern calls for a magnetic closure but I didn’t have one. Fearing I would (yet again) lose my self-control if I returned to Ben Franklin, I searched through my buttons and found a cute wooden toggle button. Using a small rectangle of the contrast fabric, I made a loop and stitched it to the top of the bag.

img_20160509_5104I sewed the button to the other side and it works like a charm. Remember I also added a key chain link to the inside so that Maddie can hook her keys to it and find them again easily. I forgot to take a photo of the key fob that I made but it was made with webbing and the small floral print used on the side pockets. (It was just like the one I made for my sister and talked about in this post.)

img_20160509_5106Anna’s pattern calls for the handle strap to be made from a six-inch wide strip that is interfaced and folded. I wanted to make the handle with two different fabrics so I modified that and used two 3″ strips. Then I fused the interfacing to one side and sewed them, right sides together. After turning the strap right side out, I pressed and topstitched the edges. Another slight modification was to extend the length of the straps. My niece is about 5′ 7″ and the strap seemed too short. I didn’t notice this until after I had cut the straps so I just cut a few more three-inch strips and added on to the length. Just because I thought it looked fun, I used the opposite fabric on each end. If you look at the top picture, you can see the different fabrics. The inner strap on the left is floral and on the right is the big print. On the outside it is just the opposite. The handle looked so fun like this and I would definitely do that again. (These little changes are one of the best parts of making things rather than buying ready-made. Each project is uniquely its own!)

As luck would have it, since I certainly didn’t try for this, the outer seam on the bottom matched up almost perfectly.

img_20160509_5108

I love when this happens! If I actually try to match it up, I usually meet with less success. At any rate, this bag was a huge success. I highly recommend the pattern for anyone with at least some sewing knowledge. It could be a bit of a challenge for a person who is new to sewing.

I hope Tami and I will think of another project to sew together. We had a lot of fun with this one!

Linking to all the usuals. Find them at the top of the page under Link Ups.

Craftsy’s birthday celebration continues through Sunday, May 22nd. Classes are on sale for 50% off! Buying a class enables you to watch each lesson as many times as you like, when it is convenient for you! The newest class taught by Amy Smart, of Diary of a Quilter, is released and on sale.

unnamed (1)

(Because I am a Craftsy affiliate, I will receive a small payment for purchases made by clicking through from my blog.)