As I said I wanted to last week, I made myself a tote bag this weekend! Words cannot properly express how excited I am about this. Sure, I know I can sew because I make quilts, but the novelty of successfully making something I didn't realize I could is pretty amazing. Saturday was an excellent day. I managed to plan ahead and stopped into Purl Patchwork for fabric on Friday evening and miracle of all miracles, I had the tiny store all to myself! It didn't take me long to find my first fabric choice though and while was initally a little worried that this fabric from Anna Maria Horner would be too pink, I quickly decided that I was being silly—it is always a good idea to buy fabric that makes you extremely giddy. And as my friend Virginia said to me when she saw it, it's me in fabric form. Perfect! I decided to use the same fabric for the entire bag (in the original there is a contrasting bottom panel) and I really like how the pieces line up. The best thing about the fabric, in addition to it being pink, is that there is a hand painted quality to the vines. Keeping scrolling down to see some of the process shots (you can see the full instructions that I followed, apart from the handles since I wanted to be able to put this on my shoulder, here).
This was the first time I've used an online tutorial and actually followed the directions exactly and it was my first experience using fusible web. It was super easy since it was iron-on and was not a problem at all to sew through. It gives the bag a nice sturdy structure.
This was the most challenging step. I think I read the instructions for the corners about seventeen times until I started to understand it. I was very proud of myself for figuring this out, particularly after I managed to repeat the process on the lining fabric and they actually matched up!
This is the top of the bag pinned and waiting for me to add the handles and stitch. As suggested in the tutorial, I made the lining peak out a bit, which is a lovely touch.
Look at how the corner is almost perfectly lined up! I'm convinced that more than anything, the way the bottom of the bag is constructed is what makes it look like someone with far greater sewing skills than myself made it. The total cost of the bag was $11, which includes the fabric (I have a bunch leftover) and the fusible web. Other than that, it was about 5 hours of my time (I am sure that someone who had a clue as to what they were doing could make it in far less time!) and a very pleasant and rewarding way to spend a day. I also learned a very important lesson: If you want to try a craft project but aren't convinced you can do it, you should always, always, try because you might just surprise yourself!