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Purple tote bag

Over the weekend I finished another bag–my last one for a while. This one is for the awesome friend who gave me the Saint Sebastian pin cushion. I haven’t given it to her yet, but don’t think she reads or even knows about this blog so I should be safe. But just in case, Wendy, if you are reading, stop now!

This is just a straightforward bag of the type I’ve made many times before. Wendy wears a lot of blues and purples, so I looked for something in those two colors. I ended up using the same fabric as for my sister-in-law’s bag because I really love the color and the pattern. For the lining, I used a simple lavender print. The straps are natural cotton webbing. I have a feeling Wendy will be carrying books in here, so I wanted to make sure the straps were strong.

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There is one exterior pocket and two narrow pockets on the interior, including one for pens and pencils.

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It was nice to have something turn out well after my hat failure. Now that I’ve done a lot of sewing for other people, I hope to make a few things for myself in the coming weeks.

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Gift bags

This year I tried to make as many gifts as possible. The first two were tote bags using my usual pattern, previously seen here and here. The best part about making these is choosing the patterns and trying to come up with something that suits the recipient. With so many beautiful fabrics available, it can be a daunting task.

For my mom’s tote bag, I chose a bright blue fabric with line drawings of birds on pale yellow branches with red leaves. For the inside, I chose a red and white floral print that reminded me of origami paper; since my mom likes origami, I thought this would be ideal. I loved the result–I really like color and contrast, and this is one of my favorite color combinations–but I was a little afraid that the result would be too garish for my mom, who prefers more muted colors. She seemed pleased, though.

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My original pattern for this bag has only a single, interior pocket, and that’s the way I made them for quite a while. With Erin’s bag, however, I tried an exterior pocket and I really liked it. We can all use more pockets, right? Here, I tried to line up the pattern but wasn’t totally successful.

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My sister-in-law likes purple (it was one of her wedding colors), so I chose a pretty deep purple fabric (it is not as dark as it appears in these photos). The store did not have enough of the heavy webbing that I usually use for straps, so I went with a lighter twill webbing, which made the bag really nice and lightweight.

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It was very difficult to find a lining fabric to match the exterior. Finally I found a purple, gold, grey, and white leaf print. I love this fabric and the color combination. As a finishing touch, I added some very narrow cream colored ribbon to the edge of both pockets.

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Next up–my sister’s gift and a failure.

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Sunny yellow tote bag

Yesterday I made a quick tote bag for my awesome friend Erin. It was difficult to choose a fabric for her because she likes every color. With help from Jared, I settled on a yellow stylized floral print with grey foliage and a coordinating grey print. Both are organic cotton from a Cloud 9 fabrics collection for Jo-Ann. I loved the colors and the simple, not-too-girly floral design. I chose a coordinating grey webbing for the handles.

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I have made several variations of this tote bag (including this one), and it went together easily. I did have a problem sewing through the poly webbing–I usually use the cotton stuff, but it wasn’t available in grey–but switching to a heavy-duty needle made it a lot easier. I made the bag reversible with a contrasting pocket on each side.

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I’m quite pleased with the way it turned out–love the colors and patterns.

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Reversible beach bag

My second project of the summer was pretty straightforward–a basic tote bag that I’ve made several times. This one is for an upcoming trip to Mexico. I  wanted a white bag to match my sun hat with a lining in a tropical fabric that would ideally contain red and turquoise, as those are the primary colors of my vacation wardrobe. I am a sucker for color coordination. I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for, but I did find a pretty batik that featured the shade of blue I wanted. I ended up with the white exterior and straps I’d originally intended.

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I added a single pocket to the interior. Although I’ll probably use it with the white on the outside, it looks pretty good reversed as well.

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Easy and functional!