Friday, 31 May 2013

Boat Tote

Earlier this week I made a tote bag, using Alicia Paulson's "Jane market bag" pattern. I just love this tote bag! I made one a few years ago from this same pattern and had a lot of fun making it. Here's a picture of the first one. In her instructions she doesn't mention using interfacing to give your bag more structure (at least in the version that I have, which is from 2009 she doesn't mention interfacing). I was expecting my first tote bag to have a bit more structure, and was a little disappointed when it was so flimsy, but as a beginner sewer I didn't think to use interfacing with the lightweight fabrics I had chosen. I've made a few other simple tote bags since and have learned to use interfacing so bags don't look like a limp spaghetti noodle when empty. But, it is a pattern for a market bag after all, which are typically lightweight, simple bags you can wad up easily to carry in your purse or another bag to take with you to go to the market. But for the tote I had in mind, I wanted it to be able to stand alone fairly well. I wanted to make a beach sort of tote and was happy to use some charming liberty fabric that I've had lying around for a while now. I only had a small piece of this harbor sort of scene and haven't been sure what to use it for and I thought a beach-y tote would be perfect (we're headed to the beach in July, can't wait!).
The pattern calls for a pocket on the back, using the same fabric as the middle strip of fabric, but I didn't do the pocket on the backside because I didn't have enough of the boat fabric for it. But I did have a bit left to do a pocket on the inside. I used ticking for the outside side panels and back, and dark blue denim for the interior. I didn't make my handles but used a jute sort of fabric handle since I had some of it. I also decided not to do the pintucks along the sides of the bag. I didn't want it to look too boxy.
It was a little tricky to get the boxed corners correct. I had forgotten how to do it and sewed the bottom corner seams shut and wondered what in the world I was doing wrong. Duh. 
But I got it figured out. 
I love turning things out at the end! It's always exciting to be close to finishing and see how the bag takes shape. 
I originally sewed the handles inside but I decided they were too long. Rather than try to reconstruct the bag to get the handles inside again, I stitched them to the outside, and closer together as the pattern suggests you do anyway (the top photo here). Yay! Tote bag! On my list soon is a new ironing board cover. The one I have is an eye sore, don't you think? This bag is fun and easy to make. There are so many simple tote bag patterns out there, but if you want one that's fairly easy and very cute, this is a good one. Add some iron-in fusible interfacing if you want it to have a bit of structure to it. I used heavyweight but think I'll go for medium weight next time. Mine is quite firm. My sewing machine hated me, but we're both happy now. 


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Karen said...

Your bag turned out lovely! I have sewn totes with and without interfacing - the most interfacing I ever dealt with was an Amy Butler bag which I hope to blog about soon - and that bag is really sturdy! But I also quite like sewing the floppy kinds - I guess a girl can never have too many bags, right?