I have so much to show you! I was a busy beaver this weekend. Patience, my dears, patience. I'll have to stretch it out a bit, beause I don't have time for it all right now. Besides, when school starts up again next week, all the crafting will slow down for me, so I'll need to stockpile a little. Haha.
How about if we start off my spring break week with a pattern review and giveaway? Sound good?
The other day, I was thinking, "Gee, I don't have enough tote bags. I should make myself one." LOL. Okay, I hope you're laughing WITH me and not AT me on that one. I know you've all done the same thing, despite the fact that you have more than enough totebags and purses in your closet.
This weekend, I sewed up the Gear Up Tote from Sweetwater. I really liked the look of this totebag. It's not too big...more like purse sized. I am quite short (5'3"), so large totebags sort of overwhelm me. I also thought the ruffle was cute, and you know I'm in love with this Reunion fabric (I want this little fat eighth bundle so bad). Adore it. Sweetwater has made some if its fabric in canvas, and I love canvas bags, because they are so sturdy. So, I couldn't resist this. Didn't it turn out cute? I think it's adorable, and it's such a professional finish!
Here is the back. It's identical to the front of the bag, minus the flower. On each side, there is a pocket. The ruffle forms the top edge of the pocket, and don't you love how a bit of the pocket lining also shows at the top of the ruffle?
One thing I did that was not stated in the pattern was, when I sewed the lining to the outer bag, I stitched back and forth over where the handles attach to the bag to give a little extra reinforcemet to that area of the bag.
Here is the little flower on the bag. At first, I debated leaving it off. I think it's cute, but it's a little froo froo. Not quite my style. But leaving it off seemed to leave the bag a little plain, so I decided to put it on. I think it's cute. I put two buttons in the center to give it a little extra oomph. I like the white, flower-shaped button behind the red round one.
I had about 4.5" left of the handle piece after I cut the handles to length. It was exactly 1" wide. I thought, "Wouldn't that make a cute key fob?" I dug through my stash and found one of these key fob hardware pieces. I've been wanting to make some key fobs, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. So, I sewed this cute piece of ribbon onto the canvas. The ribbon was leftover from Sweet Pea's birthday party. I loved this red and white ribbon with the flowers on it. It goes perfectly with the red Reunion fabric with the big white flowers. (That's the fabric that the top part of the flower on my bag is made out of.) How great is that?!
I bought the fabric in a kit from Sweetwater. The sample they showed online had cream-colored canvas with colored numbers. But they ran out of that kit. I really liked that one. Then, they posted this grey and red option. So, I got that one. (I tried to link to it for you, but they must be sold out again. I couldn't find them on their etsy shop. Keep checking back!) I have to say, I think I like this grey and red one even better than the cream-colored one. I am totally thrilled with this tote bag. It's just the right style for me, and I really love the finish.
As far as a pattern review, I had a LOT of fun making this. The cutting instructions are really clear and easy. There is a nice little pattern inside for making the curve at the top of the bag. It's easy peasy to add. The rest is just all rectangles. The sewing and construction techniques are also super easy. Honestly, this is the easiest bag I have ever constructed, and I think it's one of the nicest finishes. If you are new to making tote bags and you are a bit scared of them, this would be a GREAT one to start with. I mean it. Very simple!
The hardest part of this is gathering up the ruffle! That is not hard at all. (So that should tell you how easy this bag is to construct.) For me, it's just pulling the threads and getting the gathers to be evenly spaced that's time consuming. (Use a strong, polyester thread when you do this so it doesn't break on you as you pull. I actually used polyester thread for all the construction, just for strength.) But it was easy to attach and so easy to get the little red trim across the top of the ruffle. Honestly, there are no super bulky seams to deal with. They've really made this one simple to construct!
I forgot to time it, but I would say this took me 3 hours so to construct. I like this pattern so much that I would make more of these for gifts, etc. Very nice! I love it.
And Sweetwater is pretty generous with the fabrics they give you in the kit. I had a fair amount of canvas left over. I have some fun plans for that and will show you that later. I also had some scraps left of the other fabrics, and even some nice little strips to add to my scrap drawers. I always love having a little bit left for the scrap stash.
Two big thumbs up for this pattern and for the kit as well.
So, now for the giveaway....
When I ordered the kit, I didn't realize it came with the pattern. So, I bought a copy of the pattern separately. When I got the kit, I realized there was a pattern in it. I talked to Sweetwater, and they said they'd gladly take my duplicate pattern back and refund my money. How nice! BUT, instead, I decided to kick off my spring break week with a giveaway. (Besides, I just learned I won a giveaway over at The Intrepid Thread--thanks, Julie!--so, it's time for me to pay it forward.)
If you would like to win a copy of this pattern, please leave a comment on this post. I'll hold the drawing sometime at the end of the week...between Friday and Sunday sometime (whenever I get a chance). I'll send the winner my bonus copy of the pattern (value $8.50). I will send it internationally, so feel free to enter if you are an international reader. (I feel bad that you all get excluded from so many giveaways.)
EDIT: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THE WINNER WAS #16, LISA F.! CONGRATULATIONS!
You can see by my photos that it has been snowing here all weekend. It's supposed to warm up this week, but it's hard to believe it right now. It's quite cold this morning. I am sooooo ready for spring!
Until next time,