Tote Bag Swap

Tote bag for swap

For the April meeting of the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild we were asked to bring a tote bag to swap. I was in the mood to make something small but challenging, so I purchased some heavy clear vinyl and intended to make a clear storage bag for the swap. But it turns out, vinyl is kind of hard to work with. And even the patterns that called for vinyl required that the piece be turned inside out, which creased and distorted the vinyl too much for my tastes.

Aborted vinyl bag

So, I decided against challenging and went with a simple and fun bag I’d made in the past. The pattern is the Reversible Tote from the book Stitch by Stitch by Deborah Moebes.

The bag is very basic, but that leaves a lot of room for modifications. Instead of cutting the bag pieces to 18 inches square, I decided to make mine a bit smaller at 15 inches square. And while the pattern doesn’t have pockets, I like to add at least one to my bags.

Tote for swap pocket piece

Tote bag for swap detail

This time I opted for a simple flat pocket that’s lined with the fabric I used on the outside of the bag. I sewed it to one of the lining pieces, adding a seam down the center to create two separate pockets.

I also added interfacing to the lining pieces, just to give the bag a bit more body. Next time, I want to remember to add the interfacing to the outside pieces rather than the lining (it just felt odd to me to have the lining stiffer than the outside), and I need to remember to interface the handles. I kicked myself last time I made this bag for not interfacing the handles, so I wrote myself a note in the book for next time.

Tote bag for swap

The interfacing gave the bag a very cute shape, I think. And look at this seam matching.

Tote for swap detail 2

Impressive, I know. Now, maybe this is the only seam that matches this well, but they’re all closer than I’ve gotten in the past.

At the meeting, I was thrilled to receive this cute bag from the lovely and talented Andie Johnson.

Andie bag

The front of the bag is a UFO block that she put to very good use. Look at all that great quilting. And her boxed corners meet up perfectly.

Andie bag detail

The inside of the bag is nice and deep, and it even included a bit of fabric and a cute note card. So much fun. And I like that the zipper allows the bag to open all the way.

As luck would have it, Andie received my tote, too. She seems pleased with it, despite the lack of interfacing in the handles. I think I officially have the bag-making bug again, so off to find some fun patterns!

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