Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Floral Tote Bag

This is what I've been working on lately, nothing quilty this time around, but thought you'd still like to have a peek.  I've been preoccupied with work, home and yard projects these last weeks, so quilting hasn't been in the forefront.  But I still needed to be sewing something in my down time!
I wanted to play and experiment with a couple of things without getting involved with a huge project like a quilt.  I also have been trying to find the perfect tote bag for hauling stuff to and from work as well as for taking needlework projects along on road trips.  Everything I've seen in the stores just didn't grab me and all were lacking in some way, especially in pockets.  So what the heck, I thought I'd make my own!

The structure of the bag is based on a pattern by Ellen Medlock, but I veered from her instructions and design in several areas and did my own thing.  I was going for a vintagey floral look (what else!).  All of the floral fabrics are old home décor fabrics I've had forever.  The dot is an old Moda fabric.  I wanted the tote to be fairly sturdy and able to stand upright on its own.  I lined all of the outer pieces with two layers of Pellon Décor Bond fusible interfacing and lined the inner pieces (lining) with a layer of cotton batting.
This side has three pockets.  The photo of the ballerina is a picture of my grandmother as a young girl.  I added the quote in Photoshop and printed it on fabric pre-treated with Bubble Jet Set 2000 on an inkjet printer.  You can also buy the already treated inkjet fabric sheets in most fabric stores in packets of 10, I just chose to do my own since it's more cost effective.  All the buttons used on this tote are from my vintage stash.  The Dream and Create charms were purchased in the jewelry section at Joann's.

Here's a peek at the opposite side and end.  Both ends are the same.  This side has one large pocket.  I made a label of my name using the same method described above.  I layered vintage buttons with a piece of gathered lace in between.  The pocket closures are Velcro. 

Here's a look inside the outer pocket.  I made a Blooming in Chintz label for fun and sewed it onto a smaller pocket inside.

And here's the inside.  I thought I would make it water-resistant since I carry water bottles with me everywhere.  I experimented with fusible matte vinyl for the lining pieces.  It worked well on this home décor fabric and it was pliable and easy to sew.  You have to be really careful after you adhere it to the fabric, though, it can't be ironed during the construction process or it will melt.  It doesn't like to be overly handled, either.  Turning the bag inside out at the end caused it to rumple and crease quite a lot and if it was on the outside of the bag, it would be very noticeable.  But since it's the lining, it doesn't show much and no one will see it but me!

More pockets line the inside. . .

. . . and a label for the final touch.

Hope you might be inspired to even make a bag of your own!  I've been having a blast on Pinterest pinning tons of inspiration in case I decide to make more.  I also stumbled on a couple of websites that have great information. . . U*Handbag and You Sew Girl have some good tutorials for anyone interested.  Happy Sewing!