Sewing Attempt #3: Reversible Tote

Since I am WIDE awake at 3:45am, I thought to myself “what could I be doing?”, because the hour or so of reading didn’t help.  My answer was clear, blog about my latest project, the reversible tote.

Last night, Molly (our puppy) and I were home by ourselves with some time on our hands.  I knew I wanted to spend some time sewing, but I wasn’t sure what I was going to.  I had a few projects in mind, I could try one of the aprons from the book A is for Apron, or a sock animal from Sock and Glove, or another fun tote from Sew What! Bags. A sock sheep was going to be it – until I realized it was going to be mostly done by hand, and I was looking for something where I could use my machine.

My Machine and Chicken

The apron it was going to be… until I figured out that I needed the pattern that is in the back of the book to be blown up using a photocopier and after the day of driving around I had, I just wasn’t willing to go back out and copy it – besides missing a couple things I would need to get going.  The tote bag it is!  I had my practice fabric ready to go and remembered that my friend Anne and husband Nate asked me when I was going to stop practicing and dig into my “good” fabric.  New plan…GOOD FABRIC!  I picked out a great black, white, yellow combination – I think the set was called Mellow Yellow.   Anyways, I got all my supplies together, read the instructions once through, just so I knew where to start and didn’t intuitively go a step a head which in the end would cause me ten steps back… been there, done that, may trying making a t-shirt that says so.  Away I went.  I had to draw out all my “patterns” on the fabric using one of those fun pencils.  I have a neat pack with a choice of three colors – had to go with blue it showed up better on the back of the fabric.  This time for cutting I used my new shears, which went pretty well.  When people cut out their fabric is it perfectly cut and straight or is that something I also have to work on?  I mean mine wasn’t horrible, but there were some wobbles.

Cut FabricReady to be cut

All the pieces

Once I had my pieces cut, I wasn’t sure if I was going to continue or stop for the evening, since Molly was busy doing laps through the house to the back yard I figured I could keep going, especially since I actually had sewn anything.  Pockets were first and I followed the instructions to the letter – or so I thought until I flipped back to the beginning section on page 43 about making proper pockets, but mine turned out pretty well I thought.  I then pressed them, pinned them to the bag fronts and finally sewed a stitch.  I worked really hard on making sure that my fabric stayed straight and that it followed the seam allowance.  Then onto the bags – which I again pinned and stitched around, again being careful with straight lines.

After cutting off the excess seam allowance and the corners it was time to place the totes inside of each other, which took a little shimmy work.  It was actually at this point starting to look like the picture, unlike the mini tote which looked at this point like a bit of a mess.  Handles were next on the to do list.  I was working really well at the point and pleased – too pleased because I wasn’t paying enough attention and pinned the pieces together wrong and then stitched a ridiculously croaked seam.  I was a bit put off but I wasn’t going to let this mishap stop me – I as almost there, so close.  Cut out and pressed another set of handles and gave it another try.  The handles were the most complicated part of the whole project I thought – but in the end turned out pretty well so I pinned them to the bag and got ready for the final step – attaching the handles and finishing the top.

Two Totes

Attaching the HandlesHad to try and figure out how I was going to stitch the top of the bag on the machine, especially with long handles in my way.  I put the needle and foot up and practiced moving it around – once I had it needle and foot down and I was off to the races.  I really had to watch myself and make sure I didn’t get ahead of myself and rush just so I could see my finished project.  I slowed down my stitching speed just to be sure.  Some trimming here and there, an opps here, and the bag is complete and reversible.  I’m really pleased with how this turned out.  I really like it – maybe I’ll take it to the library tomorrow and pick up some magazines.

Learned today: Need to reread the manual on the seam allowances, I have one idea and Nate has another.

Flower side

Stripe Side



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2 responses to “Sewing Attempt #3: Reversible Tote

  1. Your tote looks great! I just ordered the book (wanted it for ages – I have the other 2 ‘sew what’ books already and love them) and was googling to see if I could find any reviews etc. and found your blog 🙂

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