A Patchwork Tote

A project that combines new skill learning with using up stuff from the stash is a winner right? Even more so if it’s something that ticks those boxes and that I’ll use, is how I feel about the bag I made earlier this week.

Sewing and I haven’t seen eye to eye recently. After a run of successful projects, the bottom fell out of my sewing mojo. I felt like the magic of those early months where I was learning and having fun came to an abrupt halt. Everything felt wooden, stilted. It got me down.

So when I was standing on the precipice of a week off, I didn’t plan any sewing that involved garments. If a bag or other practical item doesn’t turn out perfectly it doesn’t matter, it’d probably still be something I’d use. It was a way to ease back in.

I chose a bag designed by a woman whose work I’ve used before. Remember the quilted hot water bottle cover? Yeah, her. Here it is.


On reflection, the fabrics I chose make it look a little old fashioned. Rose florals will do that, I guess. It’s not quite the funky-adorably-handmade thing I imagined but it’s mine and I made it and I like it. I especially like the ruffled middle section. I didn’t think I’d be able to pull that off but I did. It’s also not quite as pink as it looks here. (Don’t worry RoseRed, I’m not turning into a pink girlie girl!).

Here’s the ruffle section up close.

bag ruffle

It’s all stash fabric. The Moda charm squares, in Luna Notte, I’ve had since almost the first month I started sewing (last year). The black linen of the base and handles came from a remnants sale at Cleggs in Melbourne in June. The lining was also an early purchase.

The lining. Yes. It’s not the same red. I kinda knew that when I was planning it but I’ve ached to use it and thought it would be that flash of funky red print the bag needed. It’s not the same kind of red at all and I could have used something better suited. I’ll get over it. Although to be honest in the photos the lining looks like a better match for the red in the squares than it does in real life.


I learned to use fusible interfacing in the handles and interior of this bag. I’d been afraid of it for so long but it was easy! And the effect is so worth it! Between a sturdy linen outer, interfacing and batting between the layers, the bag has a nice smooshy yet solid feel to it.

So I think this will be the bag I carry to work with extras in it that don’t fit in my handbag. Like knitting. And lunch. An umbrella. That sort of thing. The one I’m using is just too small. Or perhaps I’m just carrying too much stuff. It’s been said before.

I’ll leave you with the shawl I recently mentioned. My new, exciting project that’s been in the planning stage for some weeks. In November my baby brother is getting married and I’m wearing a blue Mad Men style dress. I wanted something delicate to go over my shoulders, particularly in the evening. So I’m knitting a Lilac Leaf Shawl from one of my favourite books – Knitted Lace of Estonia. Two days of having a head cold and spending a lot of time on the couch and it’s going swimmingly.


It feels good to be back in Estonia.



22 thoughts on “A Patchwork Tote

  1. I think the lining matches quite well. In the photo it seems to be a similar colour to the red square next to the square with the dark background.

    Your shawl is looking good!

    These colds are the pits, aren’t they? This is my third since July!

  2. I want to make a bag to practice patchwork too, I think. I love that you tried and learned new things while making it–the mark of an excellent project!

    And the lace. Well, I’m not at a point where I could ever attempt that, and in fuzzy yarn, too. It’s beautiful.

  3. I love the ruched section, it’s all the go and very fashionable. I think you should call it vintage and then you are very trendy. Your bag looks great and I like the lining. Do you put some batting, thin cotton batting, in the handles too?? It does make them very comfortable to hold.
    Sorry to read you are poorly, hope the Swimmingly shawl helps you feel well. It looks beautiful, and I love the sound of your dress!!

  4. I like the bag. Pk was recently telling me I need a new work bag. It carries my umbrella and my lunch and my mp3 player and my knitting. All the things that don’t go in my purse. I have a red leather bag that is old and is starting to show it’s age. I want the same bag but I think I may be out of luck.

  5. For what it’s worth, I adore the floral fabrics and definitely think it looks funky rather than old fashioned! Even if the lining colour doesn’t match completely, it helps the bag look retro rather than fuddy duddy. In my opinion, anyway…

  6. Dude. That bag is AWESOME! That ruffle is spectacular. I think you did great work. And I can’t believe how far you’ve already come on the shawl – sick or not. You’re a MACHINE! Hope you feel better soon!

  7. The lace shawl is exquisite. I have to say the bag looks very nice, and you can always make another one in some funky fabrics and gift that one to someone else who make like it better. At least you had a practice run which went pretty well!

  8. I quite like your bag. Funny I have a Luna Notte charm pack and I was going to use it for a tote, but maybe a different design. Not sure yet.

    Thanks for the link.

  9. The bag is smashing. I have a bit of a thing for patchwork bags. I think they look really individual and classy. I shall be adding ruffles to mine from now on. That looks great.

  10. Well, for what I can see you’ve done a very funckyfied job indeed 😀 ..very pretty and you did pull of that ruffle section very well. Love the lace looking forward to seeing the progress on it.

  11. Oh that shawl is heavenly! I have a plan to knit lots of lace this summer.
    I love the bag, I don’t think it looks old fashioned at all. It good to try new things that you don’t think you will be good at. The ruffle looks great!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s