What’s Your Bag?

A bag is a great project, whether you’re new to sewing, or like me, have been at it for decades.  They’re relatively small, so you’ll be finished quickly.   They’re useful, too.  Lately, I’ve seen quite a few patterns for market totes.    Sew News recently posted  this “Spice Market Tote” pattern by the very talented Amy Butler, which is one of the prettier ones I’ve seen.  (Really, there’s no reason to carry around those hideous reuseable grocery totes.  How about saving the planet from ugliness?)

I adapted the pattern for this patchwork bag from Cassie Barden’s The New Handmade–note the market tote on the cover.  This is a fabulous little book.  Cassie’s whimsical fabric choices and easy-to-follow pattern directions will inspire you.  While her pattern has twenty squares (four rows of five), I used thirty (five rows of six).   Last fall, I made several patchwork bags using three different patterns from New Handmade.  (Unsurprisingly, my patchwork obsession began shortly after I got a rotary cutter.)

black patchwork bag

For the blue bag below, I used four rows of four squares.

Emma's patchwork bag

I did the same for this “Vintage Patchwork Bag” with handles.

Alyssa's vintage patchwork bag
Julia's library tote

Here’s a third (non-patchwork)bag I made using a pattern from Cassie’s book.  Although my photography skills leave something to be desired, you can see I embellished the green bag with decorative machine stitching and ball fringe.

Emmy's makeup bag

New Handmade was the inspiration for this zippered bag, too.

Mom's turquoise, green and purple Bible bag
                                          Here’s a quilted patchwork bag.

Growing up in the 1960s, we understood the question “What’s your bag?” as “What are you interested in?”  or “What do you like?”  So far, my patchwork phase has been tremendously satisfying.   Each of these efforts is beautiful in its own way.  As I cut, stitched and pressed, I tried to express my friends’ personality and style.  You might say that’s my bag.


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