Friday, December 4, 2009

Super Duper Tote with a Zipper (& pattern review)

Unfortunately, more than one of the projects I've worked on the most lately have been TOP secret. So I am very happy to be able to share this one.

It came as a special request from Rob's cousin. She asked me if I could make a tote bag with a zipper. She said she was looking for something that she could carry snacks and drinks around in, but that could pass for a handbag. My two kids are ALWAYS asking "what do you have to eat?" and oddly enough, there's usually something rumbling around in my purse. But I love the challenge of custom requests, so I started hunting.

I asked my fellow Tweeps for suggestions on a pattern to use. I figured that I at least needed a place to start. Melanie, (owner of Above All Fabric) who has now pretty much become my "go to" fabric/sewing resource suggested this book:

It looked like it had exactly what I needed so I ordered it right away. I decided on the tote from the back that has pink and purple stripes and black buttons, but I knew that I was going to choose a single fabric so I thought it would be pretty straightforward.

Well, pretty straightforward. I am a huge grosgrain ribbon fanatic. So I try to put it on just about as many things I make as possible without it looking silly. After two other fabric choices which ended up getting cut and then re-folded and re-stashed (that's a whole 'nother story!) I found this Joel Dewberry Tiles fabric and knew it was the right choice. I have the most awesome huge amount of siler/grey ribbon in a few different sizes, so I dug in.

The pattern was pretty clear, and well written, but as with many other patterns, it was really important to read through the whole thing a few times and have all of the pieces they told you to cut, ready. I tried to skip right to the directions, without being properly prepped and it didn't make any sense at all. Once I got into the meat of the pattern, it was easy to follow.

I will say that because the fabric was home dec weight, by the time it had a front, back, lining, and padding, it was pretty thick. I broke not one, but TWO needles going around the outside edge to finish it.

But finish it I did and I love the end result. I worked very hard to line up the sides,

and outside of the zipper...

and the inside is lined with some pretty plain, tonal cream color paisley fabric. It does, however, have a pocket made from my precious stash of Pussy Willow fabric from BariJ's Full Bloom line. These birds just make me HAPPY, so I fit them in where ever I can.

I am totally thrilled with the finished product

although it is much more than the quick bag I thought I was going to throw together. I realize with my horrid photographic skills the grey grosgrain actually looks like reflective tape! But I promise it's not.

Now I just hope Jessica likes it!

Next up, I"m going to do a little show and tell about my day of Serger School on Thursday. It was fantastic...


Anonymous said...

It is awesome! And I'm so impressed that you thought about lining up the pattern. I'm usually in to much of a hurry and then I'm not satisfied whe I finish! I'm particularly excited to hear about your serger school.

eileensideways said...

love the fabric choice. you are very creative. i have a pfaff as well but it is very intimidating. i have had two classes and i must admit they do help.