Shopping Bags from Remnants

Stars & Stripes Tote Bag Pattern

Stars & Stripes Tote Bag Pattern

When I visited Texas recently, my DIL carried me (Southern for “drove me”) to A Sewing Basket, an adorable little quilt shop in Salado. She fell in love with this pattern for a patriotic tote bag, and the accompanying Stonehenge fabrics that were used in the cover photo. When I got back home and started sewing the bag, inside the pattern envelope was plain ol’ (but still cool) unpatriotic Kwik Sew K3612, 3 reusable shopping bag patterns.

I made the patriotic one with the Stonehenge fabrics (not remnants) first. We loved the beige fabric with the American eagle silhouettes, and the others that had matching, coordinated beige in with stars and stripes. In fact, the fabric line is called Stonehenge Stars & Stripes, and it was created by Linda Ludovico in support of the Quilts of Valor Foundation.

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This one has handles 2 or 3 inches longer than the pattern per DIL’s request (she likes tote bags with longer handles). That was all the longer I could get them due to my not realizing at the time of purchase that I needed more of that fabric; instead I bought more of another fabric that I didn’t need as much of. Sigh. But I will still have some of the other left for remnant projects in the future.

I liked the Kwik Sew pattern so much that I made two other DIL shopping bags (so far). The RealTree® camouflage fabric was not a remnant: I got a whole bunch of it at Joann’s because I realized after my trip to TX that camo fabric is insanely popular. The other fabrics in these tote bags are remnants, including the 7″ x 12″ plastic needlepoint canvas that sits in the bottom of the bag and stabilizes it. This time, I decided to machine-embroider their names on the bags. The bad news is that, if they don’t like the bags, and wanted to regift them, someone would have to do some work on the embroidery with a seam ripper. Unless they wanted to give them to someone with the exact same names. Anyway, I hope they like them. I enjoyed trying to match up pink with camouflage fabric; I found it somehow deeply satisfying! And one of the pink centers, if you zoom up really close, is a licensed collegiate lady gator pink fabric! Go Gators! I realize that everyone doesn’t lean toward the redneck side of life, like I undoubtedly do, though…

these handles are the size the pattern gives

these handles are the size the pattern gives

these handles are extra long

these handles are extra long

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve posted a remnant project; I have been such a slacker. And although no one is on my back making sure I deserve my paycheck (duh, I don’t get a paycheck for this) I still want to be successful! So one day while I was searching the net and wasting time, I came upon this mighty post, 13 Reasons Why You’re Not Successful, and I pondered the wisdom this author imparts. Sometimes you’ve just got to stop pondering and do stuff! Get busy!

Deep in the <3 of Texas, with Remnants

Deep in the heart of San Antonio

Deep in the heart of San Antonio

El Mercado, San Antonio

El Mercado, San Antonio

Any vacation, for a fiber-holic, must include a sojourn to a local craft, hobby, fabric, or yarn shop. We went to Salado, called “The Best Art Town in Texas,” which has over 60 artsy-craftsy shops filled with antiques, home decor, savory adornments, glittering jewelry, food!

Recurring themes and motifs: glitzy crosses of all sizes. Camouflage on clothing, recliners, purses, hats, cars. For women, pink camo. Duck Dynasty. Stars: most buildings have a lone star somewhere.

We sauntered through the shops with wonder and appreciation, taking in their marvelous textures and colors. When we got hot and thirsty, we simmered down with some Texas pizza and calzones, then bought a cute little cake at the Ambrosia Tea Room, to go with the pulled pork sliders D wanted to make for dinner.

raspberry lemonade layer cake

raspberry lemonade layer cake

We found http://www.thesewingbasket.com/home.aspx, and I knew right away that place was going to be the new home for my Florida tourist spending money. This little quilt shop was busy! They specialize in cowboy fabrics, and also serve the sewing population around Ft. Hood, one of the world’s largest military bases. The shop was teeming with fabric eye candy; sadly their website doesn’t begin to convey the excitement and thrill that you get when immersed in the atmosphere of this awe-inspiring place. Even my DIL began to believe, with some encouragement from the staff, that she might want to come in and take a sewing class! I love it when someone feels inspired to try sewing!

Being me, I raided the remnant bin of any small bits and pieces of cowboy fabrics, anticipating DH’s delight. He loves to watch Westerns…so much that after looking at the “recents” page on Netflix, I was afraid I might have to schedule an intervention on him. I fear he’s spent more time with 1960’s images of John Wayne than with me :(.

cowboy fabrics from the remnant bin

cowboy fabrics from the remnant bin

I also snagged some fabs with military and patriotic themes. (And when I say military, I mean primarily ARMY.)

military fabs

military fabs

I could kick myself with a spurred boot for not taking a picture of some of the paper-doll quilts hanging up in the back of the shop. I have never seen a photo on the internet that remotely compares with the adorable quilts and blocks I saw there. Quilt block kits were on display, and sign-ups for the classes to make them were all around. I thought vaguely that such things would be available in other places, too, but after doing a search I sadly realized that Texas must have a corner on those darling, over-the-top girly paper doll blocks: little cowgirl outfits and frilly, frothy dresses the likes of which must only be found in these parts. Sad enough that quilt shops in every locale seem to get swallowed up by the big box venues. Oh please, let the creativity go on!

A Sewing Basket had on display several bolts of Texas fabric that will be available for purchase in September. Until then, I’ll have to get busy with all this cloth festooned with boots, saddles, horses and hats and see what comes of it!

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