While visiting family in Gainesville, Florida, I stopped by a charming new fabric store called Chickadee Shop. I purchased two Moda Bake Shop sets, a Layer Cake and Charm Pack–10- and 5-inch squares, respectively. I planned to make a tote for my sister Margie. She also just had an important birthday (even though I celebrated that same milestone myself three years ago, I won’t talk about the number).
Forty-two squares of fabric in each set is a LOT of fabric, especially for smaller projects, so Margie got two bags, not one. And I still have some left over for other projects! Sewists love having extra fabric–we always manage to put it to good use sooner or later.
I designed the first bag using four 10-inch squares forming two main side panels, and 5- inch squares for the sides and bottom. First I attached all sides, then quilted it; finally, I sewed the bag together. Here is a closeup of one finished panel, which will become one side of the finished tote:
This view shows one of the two main panels, with the side and bottom inserts attached.
Despite my having measured carefully, the first tote seemed larger in real life, so to speak, than it did in my imagination. Still, I think it’s a useful size, and I’m sure Margie will put it to good use! In the picture, the bag looks flat because I inverted the side panels and sewed the straps to each side. I thought it looked more attractive that way. To finish the top, I used some bias tape I’d made for another project. (See what I mean about the leftovers?) Just for fun, I added an initial. Here’s the finished tote, roughly 18″ x 18″ and 4 inches deep, not including the straps.
Margie’s second bag is a variation on one of my themes: a patchwork bag of 12 squares on each side, approximately 12″ x 16″ not including the straps. I’ve found that when carrying around books and folders, I like a bag to be a little narrow, so that my stuff can’t slide around too much. While the first tote has straps made of a purchased material, I made fabric straps for the second bag and added a narrow lace trim under the binding at the top. I didn’t want the two bags to look “matchy.” This way, each is a little different
Finally, here’s the second patchwork bag. They both traveled safely to Margie in California in time for her birthday, and she loves them!