Series of Bags

TFQ and I went to Quiltworks Northwest in Bellevue on Friday. At the shop, TFQ saw this bag made up and bought the pattern. The pattern is called Eco Market Tote and is from Favorite Things. I don’t normally buy or even think about non-quilt things, so I didn’t pay much attention. I was interested, but not from the making point of view. I am not sure what lit the spark, but after we visited the Quilting Loft and saw the Alexander Henry Home Dec fabrics, I knew I wanted to make one. TFQ suggested that we make them and it was a great idea. I would have never finished mine if TFQ and I had made the first ones together/at the same time. While we were working with our own fabrics, we puzzled out the directions together. We, unfortunately, got the first printing of the pattern and there are a few mistakes, which have, since, been corrected (TFQ contacted the company). We also made some adjustments, like making the handles wider than the pattern calls for.

The fabulous thing that I found is that this is a great opportunity to work in series. No, it is not a quilt, but it is a great canvas for showcasing fabric combinations. There is also a lot of room for creativity – different types of pockets, different fabric combinations, different fabric ratios and even embellishment. I know that TFQ has picked out fabrics for two more and I would like to make more as well. I have several large conversational fabrics in the quilt backs stack that would really be great as bags. I also have some great French fabrics that a friend brought me from France that would make excellent totes.

This is my bag. As mentioned, the fabrics are from the Alexander Henry Home Collection. They feel like canvas, but may be a kind of cotton duck. I am actually kind of stunned that I picked them out as the accent fabric has a lot of brown and all of the fabrics are very 1960s looking.
This was a great project to branch out in the fabric department and try something new. I wouldn’t buy these for a quilt, but for this bag, they are great!

Back of the bag in construction phase.Front of bag with pocket pinned on. The back and front are the same until you put the pocket on. The above picture is how that back looks and the picture below, as you can see from the picture of the finished product, is how the front looks.

This is the third bag. TFQ made it today.

She added two more pockets on this side to break up all the black. The new pockets do a good job of bringing the red fabric back into the limelight.

The lovely piece below has the distinction of being the first bag we completed. It is TFQ’s bag, but I think it was a real collaborative effort – at least int he brain power department. This was also the bag we learned on. The fabrics are fabulous and it turned out really well.
Detail of the the reinforcing X stitching to keep the handle secure.

Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

5 thoughts on “Series of Bags”

  1. I’ve been wanting to make some bags for awhile now and have been resistant to actually buying a pattern – a bag – how hard can that be I think. But I know I really do need a pattern and so instead I just talk about making a bag some day. Are these sturdy? Are the shoulder straps comfortable when they’re weighted down? They all look wonderful, especially the first one with the big art deco print.

  2. This bag is a great shape and big enough for stuff. If you want it sturdy, I would make it out of upholstery fabric, which is what I did with the b/w flowered fabric one. The blue one that TFQ did is very light and can be scrunched up in your purse.

    Make the shoulder strap 3.5 inches cut rather than the 2.5″ they suggest. I haven’t carried it around with 30 lbs of stuff, but it seems comfortable and sturdy.

  3. I’ve been using the red/white/black one for a couple of days and the straps are pretty comfortable — not cutting into my shoulder despite my walking a mile and a half to work with about 10 pounds of stuff in it.

    I think the straps would be less comfortable if we had not made them wider, and interfacing the handles for the lighter-weight fabric definitely helps. The bags are completely lined — in fact, they are reversible — which helps with the sturdiness factor, but for a bag you’re going to use to haul around a lot, I agree with Jaye, choose a fabric with a little body to it, like heavier linen or a lightweight home dec fabric.

  4. So, I loved the yellow and blue one, but I *really* love the b/w/r one! Almost inspired me to try my hand at one – in my free time. πŸ™‚ If you want to mail us one to enter you in the shop contest, that’s fine with me. One think you might want to consider, if you want one out of sturdier fabric but all you have is quilt-weight cotton, wonderunder the whole piece of fabric to another whole piece of cotton, either just muslin or something ugly you want to use up. The resulting new fabric will have more strength and body like the heavier home-dec stuff.

  5. Joyce: Thanks for reading! I am going to send you the bags to enter into your contest! I just haven’t gotten to it yet. My friend said that if you had a “best use of fabric” category the b/w/r would win. πŸ˜‰ Beefing up the fabric is a great idea. I was actually thinking of quilting the pieces for the next bag before I sew the pieces together. I haven’t started the next bag yet, but really like the size and shape of these bags as well as the speed with which they can be made.

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