More Totes than Ol’ Man River Remnant Project

Sewing and knitting come together.
In the midst of chaos and uncertainty, I stole a few hours of so-called free time and finished, finally finished, two projects. Two tote bags.

lined Fair-Isle tote

Cotton remnant-lined Fair-Isle Tote #1

Both of these have been featured on the Knitting Blog (see link to it on the side bar), but they needed a remnant sewing component to finish them off.

cut thumb

Sliced thumb made it difficult to knot the thread

I sliced my left thumb with a serrated knife at lunch the other day. It wasn’t so bad until I tried to finish the hand-sewing on these projects: I just couldn’t roll a knot in the end of the thread with a band-aid on my thumb. So I took off the band-aid and yuck, that’s an ugly brut (bruise-cut).

The pattern for the Sari-ribbon tote called for a store-bought leather bottom, which I didn’t have, so I made one out of a fabric remnant. And my knitted tote-bag body turned out to be a very different size than the one in the pattern, so I had to do some improvising on the lining, and then make the bottom.

purse bottom

improvising the purse bottom

Wonder where the word “tote” came from? “Tote that barge, lift that bale…” ❤

Sari-ribbon Tote bag

Sari-ribbon Tote bag

I used a remnant of .89 yard of outdoor canvas fabric for the tote bag bottom and lining that was a perfect color match to the Louisa Harding sari-ribbon yarn and leather handles. And it sewed like a dream come true! I used a Kwik-Sew shopping bag pattern bottom and altered it to fit, and after three tries and a lot of ripping and tearing, I got it together. Next stop: shopping? Beach? Picnic?

Walker Tote Bag from Remnants

I visited a relative recently, who is living in an assisted living apartment building. She lives on a way upper floor, and I noticed that when she goes down to get the mail, she would hold the letters in one hand while trying to maneuver her walker at the same time. After I got home, a subsequent search of the Internet revealed that lots of creative sewists have posted many awesome free patterns for “walker bags;” I had plenty of designs to choose from!

I picked this one from Debbie Colgrove at About.com. I liked it because it has pockets, looks like it holds its shape, and has sturdy straps to attach it. I snagged some collegiate sports fabric while I was in the vicinity, knowing that it’s football season and boy, does she love football! Of course, in my remnant bin I happened to have some pre-quilted fabric for the body of the tote, which the pattern called for, in a relatively decent color match! I thought personalizing it would be a nice touch, and I love the script lettering in bold crimson red (I didn’t say Crimson Tide, here, slow down, buddy.)

machine embroidery on the pre-quilted remnant

machine embroidery on the pre-quilted remnant

The bag’s wide top straps button over the upper bar of the walker. It also has two bottom straps that can be fastened to the walker legs by lacing through D-rings. Hmmm, I just might have some D-rings in the old button box here—wait, here are some! Just the right size, too (1-inch)!

D-rings

D-rings

The best way to sew those D-rings to the straps was with a narrow zipper foot. That foot is a trouper!
Narrow Zipper Foot to the rescue

Narrow Zipper Foot to the rescue

Er, pay no attention to the fact that you only see one D-ring in this pic: I had to rip out the seam because I forgot to insert TWO D-rings onto each strap. No biggie: I also have a LOVELY seam ripper that gets more use than any other attachment!

finished bag

finished bag

I had buttons galore to choose from, stashed.

Thank you so much, Ms. Colgrove of About.com, for the wonderful free pattern. The changes to the original pattern that I made were the embroidery and the center button: I sewed a velcro strip inside rather than adding another button right over the embroidered name. Why? Because I thought the button might detract from the embroidery and make it look even more off-center than it is. Plus, I don’t have the greatest button-hole making capability with my machine and my teeth were already grinding plenty enough enamel after making two buttonholes and having to trim bird nests off the underside of the buttonholes and repair with a satin stitch. 🙂

The only other little quirks I noticed with the pattern were that it directs you to do something with one side of the body: if you personalize it with a name, it does make a difference which side you do some things to, like attaching the straps. And in attaching the top straps, it directs you to place them 2″ away from the seam but the picture shows 2 1/2″ from the seam. I chose the 2 1/2″ distance. I thought the collegiate fabric added a nice touch, what do you think? An elderly person has seen lots of purty flowers in their lifetime, but what’s not to love about a touchdown? Northern Illinois University actually played the Florida State Seminoles last year in the Orange Bowl. At the time, we were all saying “NIU who?” But it looks like a pretty good little football team!

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.

20130903-172747.jpg
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!

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