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Totes Cute Tote bag (and purse!)

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Tote Bag
Now that my sewing area and fabric has been freshly cleaned up and organized I am really trying to sew every day.  Last week I had my big PQW shopping spree, and yesterday I had another little spree at Joann’s.  I am all set to make a sundress for myself, a dress for Tabby, and many other projects.  Lately I’ve been thinking about sewing bags.  Long story short (finding a pattern, looking at another pattern, practicing boxing corners) I ended up making a bag yesterday and I’m really pleased with how it came out.  Not only that, but I feel pretty confident I could make up a bag with all the details I like, now that I’ve gotten the basics down.
I was (mostly) following the directions for an Amy Butler Market Tote, with a couple alterations.  My size was slightly different, I shortened the straps (but think they’re still too long), and assembled the lining and exterior using this tutorial.  I marked that tutorial months ago because it’s the simplest, most straightforward explanation I’ve come across for assembling a bag. Once you understand assembling a bag you can easily make up your own dimensions, as well as extra things like interior or exterior pockets (with or without closures), loops, a closure for the top, etc. I used to be really intimidated by boxing out the bottom of something, but it was actually totally easy:

Tote Bag
I put an inside pocket on mine, as well as a loop that I figured you could carabiner your keys to. Now I’m thinking I might actually just make a small zippered bag out of matching fabric and give it a strap that has a snap, to snap into.
Tote Bag
I love these fabrics together and although this is a floppier, larger tote than I usually like, I imagine filling it up with books and magazines and snacks for summer outings.

Update: Since I wrote this a couple hours ago I decided to make a little zippered bag to match it and to snap in.  I’m so pleased with it.
and now it's a set!
I gave it a flower as I’d seen here earlier this month.
and now it's a set!
I made the exterior and lining the reverse of the big tote, so the flower was a nice touch to plain polka dot.  It makes it so pretty that it’s a charming little purse. I was thrilled to use a vintage button and vintage snap.
and now it's a set!

This was easy to do, but one of those “plan the steps ahead” projects. For example, if you’re going to have snaps being sure to put them in so the stitching is hidden, ditto sewing on the flower.  My zipper is a bit wonky, but I really like this. I imagine that now when I stuff the bag with magazines, sunscreen, etc., the little bag can have my keys and glasses and lip balm and be secured there and nicely taken out when I head into a store (or, in this made up scenario, a beach front clam shack.) Pleased as can be!

and now it's a set!

About Sarah

I'm a librarian living with my lovely family in a gorgeous spot of New Jersey, where we raise chickens and love the outdoors. I try to find enough time to indulge all my hobbies-cooking, photography, gardening, sewing, and I write about it all on my book blog & personal blog.

2 responses »

  1. That really came out great. The flower is the perfect detail. Did you make the flower. You must have chained yourself to the sewing machine.

    • Thank you! The little bag did not take too long (Tabby had a friend over.) The flower was very easy to do-I sewed the petals, which I freehand cut out, and then loosely hand stitched the bottoms and pull the thread tightly. It’s then sewed down on to some felt and then I sewed the button directly on to the felt. I did tack the petals down with a few stitches to outside purse panel.


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