I am starting to notice a pattern in the way I approach new kinds of sewing projects. Maybe it will sound familiar. When I start thinking about branching out to something new, like when I started quilting or sewing clothes, I find myself making excuses for why I can’t and shouldn’t try this new craft. A little voice inside keeps saying it’s going to be too hard, that I’ll just be wasting money on materials, etc. Thankfully, I’ve gotten better at telling that little voice, “Shut up, loser. We’re going shopping.”
One of my latest sewing adventures was sewing myself this lovely patchwork foldover tote bag. I’m always delighted by the pictures of handmade bags I see in books, magazines, and online, so maybe that’s what motivated me to try making a bag.
I started off by browsing bag patterns, but I couldn’t find a design that met would meet my needs as an everyday purse AND be easy to make. I knew I wanted a crossbody bag that would allow me to keep my hands free while out and about. It would have to be large enough to accommodate at least my giant sandwich-sized phone, fatass wallet, and my water bottle (which I take literally everywhere). Sometimes, I travel with my iPad mini, a small sewing project, or my sketchbook, so I wanted it to be big enough to fit those things in there too. A foldover tote seemed like a perfect solution.
|some simple sketches|
I did some basic sketches to determine the shape, size, and position of the D-rings, and everything else fell into place. The exterior of my bag was made with two QAYG panels on 100% cotton batting with a layer of medium-weight interfacing on the back. Right after finishing the bag, I regretted including the interfacing because it made the bag a little stiffer than I wanted. However, as I’ve used the bag over just a few days, it’s become more supple, so it worked out.
I did small boxed corners after sewing the shell together, just to give it some dimension. The hardest part of the whole bag was attaching the D-rings just because there were so many thick layers in a tiny area. I did a ton of backstitching just in case those d-rings had any escape plans!
|Super pretty lining!|
The lining was really simple: I cut the same shapes as the exterior from the Patty's Big Blooms print from her Emma's Garden collection and added a basic pocket to one side before sewing them together. Then I added a magnetic snap to the top before I moved on to assemble the bag. I put the lining inside the bag shell (wrong sides together), and stitched around the top with a .25” seam allowance. From there, it was exactly the same as binding a quilt. On a side note, trying to photograph the inside of a bag is just...not fun.
Although I did by the hardware to make the strap, I ended up just stealing the strap off another one of my existing purses. Thankfully, most of my bags have detachable, adjustable straps, so I can swap them out as I please!
I’m really happy with my finished bag, and the fact that I made it without a pattern makes me even more proud of it. Maybe this project will give me the courage to try making more bags!