Monday, 1 October 2018

Another Tote Bag

A quick post to share another tote bag that I put together as a welcome gift for my Mum. The previous London Bag has got great use and is now very shabby, so a replacement was in order.

I wanted to use this tan/brown twill from my stash. I had it earmarked for a skirt, but the colour is not good. I'm not really sure why I bought it actually, probably carried away by new making in 2013/14.

I really loved Erin's applique on her plain sweatshirt and I used that idea to jazz up Mum's bag. I almost bought the same pink blossom, but went for the gold in the end. It arrived fast from eBay and the quality was great: no dud stitches or mistakes in the design.

I cut out a rectangle for the bag, 88cm by 35cm. The overall dimensions are good, but I went too high with the applique and didn't leave quite enough space at the top for a good facing. 90cm would have been a better height. Straps are 7cm wide by 35cm long.

I sewed on the applique before I made up the bag. I used couching to attach the stems, then machine sewed the leaves on, then ironed it on, then went over the flowers by hand. It took many evenings, but I found it so relaxing! There is something so meditative about sitting and making hundreds of tiny stitches in a piece of cloth. I listened to podcasts and sewed away. I wasn't under huge time pressure, and the work feels productive too. You can see the work growing, but slowly.

I do worry about the durability of the applique on something as hard wearing as a bag. I didn't stitch the flowers on to the edges of the petals, these will probably curl with use, but hopefully won't look too awful. Machine sewing them down didn't really work, the threads got tangled and they didn't look nice. It will work well enough for the bag, it's pretty at the moment, and I can start thinking about the next one in two year's time!

  Fabric: twill cotton, eBay, £2.87
  Decoration: applique, eBay, £3.98 
  Thread: stash, £0.00
Total: £6.85

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