Modern Quilted Tote

Have I mentioned that I have a ton of sewing to do for my sister's wedding? Well, I do. And as a true procrastinator, I decided to start a new project in lieu of working on the wedding quilt.

A few days ago Elizabeth posted her technique for creating patchwork panels, as she used in her Weekender Bag. I've been itching to make a patchwork tote lately, so I tossed aside my sewing obligations and started digging through my stash! I didn't have large enough pieces of Cotton Duck Canvas, but I do have a ton of hymo canvas (also known as haircanvas). Hymo canvas is typically used to add shape to outerwear pieces, but I've also read that it has been used in handbags. And while it's not an inexpensive supply, I don't have any plans to use it - so I cut into my yardage for this tote!

Modern Quilted Tote

I absolutely L.O.V.E. everything about this bag. At 14" tall, 11" wide, and 3" deep, it's a great size and shape, and the 25" long straps make the tote easy to carry.The hymo canvas gives the tote a lot of structure without adding ANY stiffness.

Modern Quilted Tote

For my quilting and construction, I used a slightly different style than Elizabeth. I pieced my tote panels using the hymo canvas and a layer of cotton batting as a foundation (very similar to how I piece my scrap blocks). After my panels were pieced, I quilted them with very dense organic lines.

Modern Quilted Tote

The two sides of the tote are unique.

Modern Quilted Tote

When I first started this project, I knew the approximate size and shape that I wanted for the finished tote. The dense quilting took quite awhile, during which time I started to think more about the construction. I decided to try a new (to me) style by folding the top of the tote down by 2". I attached the straps inside the tote as well, so that they appeared to be seamless from the outside.

Modern Quilted Tote

To further secure the straps to the tote, I added metal rivets. They are visible from inside:

Modern Quilted Tote

And on the exterior of the tote:

Modern Quilted Tote

You may see a few more of these totes around here soon. I have enough hymo canvas for 3 more totes, I think. After that, I may have to look into a reasonably priced source to purchase more!

This tote is now listed in the shop!

Gifts for the M Family

Here are a few more gifts that I sent off to friends this holiday season. This family has a big sister and a little brother.
For big sister, a tote bag! I could just see her packing a few things into this tote and heading to the park to read under a tree.
And for little brother, a travel checkers set! I thought up this checkers board when I was brainstorming boy gift ideas, and I'm really happy with how it turned out.
DSC_0075 A bit about the checkers board, I made the board in 4 pieces and sewed them together with a wide zig zag stitch so they can be folded up like a typical board game. Peltex provided the prefect amount of structure to the board.
Here's the back of the board:
I folded 1 side:
DSC_0080 DSC_0081
And then the other:
And then folded the board in half:
The checkers are simply wooden discs that I bought from JoAnn's. I left half of them unfinished and I painted and sealed the other half. A simple draw-string pouch for storing the game, and I think I've found a new go-to boy gift!

Market Bags!

Market bags were my go-to gift this Christmas. I love the Keyka Lou Grocery Bag pattern, and as a bonus, if you already own the pattern she has provided alternate cutting instructions for a mini size! (I highly recommend following her blog, she gives really great sewing tips plus some freebie patterns!)
The mini size bag was too cute to pass up, and comes in quite handy for quick trips to the store. I made several of these, for Addy's 5 teachers and a few friends. (The bag in the bottom row, far left was for Matt!)
I made all 8 bags slightly different by varying the outside, handle and lining fabrics:

The middle bag in the above picture has a fun pintuck fabric for lining! Want to see it up close? :)
This picture should give you an idea of the relative size of the mini bag:
Of course I couldn't make these cute mini bags for all of my friends, and not make one for myself! So I used some Ruby that I had *just* picked up:
And finally, I made a matching set of bags for the mom with whom we carpool. This time I made a regular size bag and a matching mini from Amy Butler's Lark.
The mini:
The regular size bag:
And the matching set:
The best part about these bags is that I sewed almost all of them from my stash! I did have to buy a bit more of each of the Lark prints for the bag handles, but that was it. I hope these are all put to great use, I've already used mine several times. ;)

Ballet Bag

A few weeks after school started, Addy also started ballet classes! She loves the classes, and her only complaint is that she only has class once a week.
The first day was a bit hectic with getting her ready, finding the building, parking, and rushing her inside. On my way out the door, I grabbed my purse, tote bag and a book to read when she was in class. I think I had more "stuff" with me than the mom with 4 kids trailing behind her!
So, in an effort to streamline our ballet class rush, I decided to make Addy a little bag for her things. It's so much easier to remind her to grab her coat and ballet bag!
I used the lunch bag tutorial from Pink Penguin and a Japanese print that I picked up a few months ago at a local shop. This bag is the perfect size for Addy's ballet shoes and a few other small things. During the week I'm trying to remember to store her clean leotard and tights in there with her shoes, and during class I stuff her yoga pants in the bag.
Here is the back of the bag:
 A detail shot of the drawstring closure:
I love the size and shape of this bag, plus the drawstring top is so convenient. It also sewed up really fast-I picked out the fabric, cut, and sewed the whole bag in less than 2 hours! I worked on it one morning while Addy was at school, and all I had left to do after I picked her up was to insert the drawstring cord. I highly recommend this tutorial, it was a really quick project with great instructions. I'd really like to make one of these for myself as a project bag!

Custom Diaper Bag in Heirloom

I was pleasantly surprised by how many people love my new Echino tote bag! So many great comments!
One person mentioned that it would make a great diaper bag, and asked if I would take a custom order. I love sewing customs, and she was such a great customer to work with.
I made two small modifications to the original bag - I added 2 bottle pockets to the inside of the bag and a detachable shoulder strap on the outside of the bag.
All of the fabric is Heirloom by Joel Dewberry. The amber colored blockprint is a laminate - we chose to use the laminate on the bag interior as well as the bottom of the exterior. Finished dimensions: 12" tall, 15" wide and 5" deep. The shoulder strap is extendable so the bag can be worn cross-body style on a tall dad or a petite mom.
Bag front:
Front detail with the divided exterior pocket:
 Side with removable shoulder strap:
 All packed up! I stuffed the bag with 2 bottles, 3 cloth diapers, 2 burp pads, 3 bibs, and a change of clothes. I could have fit nearly twice as much in the bag! And the bag held it's shape really nicely when full:
 Here is one of the bottle pockets. I used nylon for these pockets to reduce the amount of bulk:
(Not shown on the interior, I included a zip pocket just as in my Echino tote.)
 Bag back:
 My label!
I had a bit of fabric left over, so I sewed up this little zip pouch to send off with the bag. I try to add little extras to my customs when I have the chance. In this case, I thought a small zip pouch would come in handy for storing some cash, ID, keys, and maybe a cell phone. The zip pouch measures 5" x 7". 
It was fun to make up another bag customized for someone else, and in their fabric choices! This bag is so versatile, and I hope it meets the needs of a diaper bag!