The Reveal

Ta da:

Striped Tote Bag

This is what comes out of my head!

I started with just an idea. I read through a few tutorials on how to make tote bags, and of course I had made the little Lindie tote bag. I knew I wanted the following things:

  1. Large enough to put a full size sheet of paper in without folding
  2. Zipped
  3. Inside pockets
  4. Outside pocket
  5. Square on bottom to be wide enough to hold frozen meals for my lunches.

I couldn’t find a pattern that met all of my requirements. So I just sketched out what I wanted, cut, pressed, interfaced, and sewed.

I am very pleased with the result, and I’m starting to feel more like a sewer and less like a newbie (a little).

I probably should’ve ripped out the external pocket and re-done:


Slightly crooked. Darn stripes.

You wouldn’t be able to tell that the pocket was a bit crooked if not for the vertical lines. You’ll notice that I didn’t try to match up the fabric pattern. I like the suddenly different stripes.

My favorite thing about this bag is that I mastered the art of the recessed zipper.

Recessed zipper

Not just recessed: purple too!

And I did it all just by using common sense. I tried to read a few tutorials on recessed zippers, and they just made no sense to me. So I ruminated on it for a while until I figured out how I thought it work work. Once I cut and pinned the fabric, I was delighted to discover that I was correct. I need to start trusting myself more in construction and stop blindly following tutorials and patterns that don’t seem right to me.

My other proud moment was the boxed corners.

Boxed corner.

Pretend there's no cat hair on there. And that the stripes match up.

I had done this before, on the Lindie Bag, but it worked much better here. I was worried about how the corners would look with the stripes, but it’s a pretty good fit. I didn’t reinforce the bottom at all, so it doesn’t look terribly boxy, but the boxing allows the bag to expand, which works well with the recessed zipper.

Sew What Skirts Book Cover

Yay! Finally moving on to clothes!

I’m super-excited that my copy of Sew What! Skirts finally arrived. Tonight, I start making clothing! Okay, actually, tonight I probably just start reading about making clothing and maybe picking out fabric. But soon!

And Sunday is my Raglan Sleeve Top class at The Needle Shop. Watch out, world, my new wardrobe is on its way.


4 responses to “The Reveal

  1. Seems like you might have a natural talent for this! You have been sewing for like a week and are now making your own patterns? Umm, yeah….total over achiever! LOL!

    • Me, an overachiever? No! 🙂 Seriously, though, I found it easier to go without a pattern. And, to be fair, I had learned most of the techniques from previous patterns. I just do better when I remember to use my brain. Not sure about natural talent, but I do enjoy it.

  2. That looks great! I too like how the different stripes stand out on the pocket. And cool fabric for the lining.

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