Sunday, June 20, 2010

Something I Finished the Other Day...

This is a tote bag I had been working on since last year.  I finished the piecing of the outside of the bag, but it wasn't the right season for the bag and I had other things I needed to do, so I didn't finish it then.  I came across it again the other day and thought I would finish it up.  It's the Victoria bag by Sue Spargo.  I have trouble sticking to patterns because I always want to make it my way.

Sue Spargo is well known for her wool applique patterns and she fearlessly combines all kinds of fabric in her projects.  So I used home decor fabrics along with the wools and cottons.  I had to improvise, too, because I didn't have enough length of the blue and yellow fabric.  So I added a few extra strips of the coordinating fabrics here and there.

Sue didn't call for quilting the bag in her instructions.  The lining had batting fused with it to provide the fluffiness.  But I actually made a quilt sandwich and quilted it with big stitch quilting and perle cotton, then made the lining separate.  I worried it might be too heavy, but it really isn't.

The inside, which I didn't photograph (what was I thinking?), has a patchwork pieced big pocket to hold stuff I don't want to lose in the bottom of the bag.

The top edge of the bag has a binding around it, which is different from many patterns.  I must say I like the finished look of the bound edge.  The fabric I used looks like it is burlap but it is a soft home decor fabric, so it isn't rough to touch.

The back is supposed to be plain, but I couldn't leave it alone.  I added this strip to give continuity between the front and the back, using the tan square just to mix it up a bit.  Then I added the yo-yo's and quilted around them is red to add a little punch.  I love the empty quilted circles against the striped fabric.

The handle instructions called for long strips sewn with batting to be turned inside out.  It was a painful and tedious process to turn the long tubes inside out.  This is not a method I would choose to do again.

Do any of you have experience with turning tubes made with heavy material?  Do the FastTurn tubes work with heavy stuff?

When I am making things, I try to make choices that are "out of the box", but then when it all comes together, the choices don't seem so bizarre.  My original main fabric I thought I'd use was much more muted than the one I chose.  I thought the vivid blue and yellow paisley would be "wild".  When it all comes together, it makes sense and nothing really stands out as not matching or fitting in.  I like the "bohemian" feel about the bag and the fact that I got to use so many techniques--wool applique, embroidery, yo-yo's and quilting.

I got to use my new bag when I went to the NQA quilt show in Columbus, Ohio, yesterday.  It held all my stuff just the way I like it.  Which is why we like to make our own things!

Thanks for watching my blog!



  1. Love your purse! I totally understand the seasonal thing. I am the same way. But that purse was worth the wait.