Friday, June 20, 2014

Create a tote

The other evening I whipped up a simple tote bag as a gift. My daughter bought a tote and wanted me to embroider the young lady's name on it. My Janome does basic embroidery but the letters were not tall enough to look right on a tote bag. Ugh.

I heaved a big sigh and moved the Janome to sit on the bed and pulled out my old Babylock Ellure machine. This one can embroider bigger stuff. And it was fresh from servicing when I set it aside. Of course, the machine was in one spot, the power cord and foot pedal another and the embroidery table in a third spot. I have got to get organized!

I thought I had my ducks in a row, then I tried to put the embroidery frame on the tote bag .... What was I thinking?!? The frame would hold the one side just fine but there was not enough fabric to go around the machine without catching the back side in the stitching. The bag was just too small. I know better but I am out of practice, LOL. Now what to do?

We talked and decided to make a 'patch' that could be stitched onto the tote bag. It looked fine once created but as I made a few hand stitches to attach it, I couldn't help but think how much nicer it would be if the stitching was PART of the bag. I'm a little OCD, I'm sorry.

I love having her name stitched ON the bag. 

So my mind struggled and I set the bag aside to pull out a bolt of black fabric and my cutting tools. I just love having a bolt of fabric in house. I need several. All I have is black but it has proven invaluable so many times. I cut a piece about 30 inches x WOF. Then I turned and cut two strips, 3 inches wide at the selvages to make straps. Hindsight, I wish I had made the strips wider.

By stitching the layers together and turning - no raw edges!
I then folded the WOF length in half and stitched up the one side. Turned it right side out, ironed it and that was to be the body of the bag. I put one end on my embroidery frame and stitched out the name and an oval frame. So cute!

Stitch a triangle at the bottom of the side seam and voila - the bag has width. 

I then folded the piece in half lengthwise and stitched both sides. By folding and stitching and turning inside out, the side seams had no raw edges. It may not be as slick as no seams but it is fast and easy.At the bottom, I made a triangle and stitched across it to give the bag width. I also folded the top edges inside and ironed them in preparation for inserting the handles.

Closeup of the leaf design

The handles were narrower than what I expected so I stitched a 1/4 seam on one side and turned them right side out. In my insanity, I had the machine stitch a decorative leaf stitch the length of the handles in black, tone on tone style. I inserted the handles on each side of the bag, pinned them and did 3 rows of stitching around the top edge of the bag to securely attach the handles. Did I mention I have an OCD streak?

The leaves of the handles go with the leaves of the frame.

It's a bit tall for the width but I am extremely pleased. I think the young lady will be pleased to receive it. It looks super cute and was made with love just for her :)

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