Friday, February 14, 2014

Quilted Big Tote Bag

It's Valentine's Day today  - hurrah if you are into it, but personally I always remember my awkward teenage self who never received anything for V Day while girls around me at school were showered with flowers and cards. It can be a wonderful day, but man - it can be a terribly lonely one too! (Note to self: do something sweet for my girls on future Valentine's Days when they are teens.)

A few weeks back I signed up for the Secret Valentine's Exchange hosted by Sanae and Ute. I got my details and discovered I would be making something for Stephanie from Sew A Crooked Line.

As I always do when sewing for others, particularly for people I don't know, I went through a crisis of confidence, then took weeks to settle upon a project to make for Stephanie. If you are regular reader of my blog, you'll know my love for zipper pouches knows no bounds, but this time I wanted to make something I hadn't made before.

Stephanie said in her info that she liked the colours pink and mint. Pink I can do, but mint was a bit tricker, so with that colour palette in mind I made the patchwork panels for the bag with lots of pinks and a variety of greens moving into aquas. I also used any fabric I had that had a love theme.

For this side of the tote I decided to make this elephant print the feature - so glad I did as it turns out Stephanie is a huge fan of elephants and sponsors three of them.

I really love those TVs.

The pattern for this bag is the awesome Big Tote Bag designed by Abby from Things for Boys. We are friends in real life so I thought, perfect, I can give her a buzz if I need help. Didn't need to - this bag is so simple. Cut 2 exterior pieces, cut two lining pieces, follow some simple construction steps, wham bam DONE. Obviously the quilting made my construction process a bit different - I made two patchwork panels, basted and free motion quilted them, then cut them out. From there the bag construction was the same as the pattern. I used some simple hot pink cotton drill for the lining.

Then once I had finished the bag, I stressed out again. This bag is kinda LOUD. Bold prints, bright colours. What if Stephanie has a more understated style? But then I thought, it's not an everyday bag. It's large, so it's more of a beach bag or library bag. Maybe a gym bag. Or even a bag to keep her latest unfinished sewing project in, so all the pieces are together.

The size of this bag is really great so in my head I am already planning another one, this time for me to take to work so I can fit my lunch, drink bottle, book and handbag. Better add it to the ever growing to-do list...

Sending you all lots of love on this Valentine's Day!


  1. Love the bag Ros! The colours are great, and I am sure Stephanie will come up with a thousand and one ways to use it :) Well done!

  2. I absolutely love this bag! I'm going to have to make one!!

  3. Very nice. I think I am going to make my girls one for their weekends away with Jule's Mum it's the perfect size. I love the TV fabric I'm sure she will be thrilled with it.

    1. Thanks Mel! It's definitely a perfect size for an overnight bag. Great idea :)

  4. What a lovely bag, Ros! I'm sure it will be treasured! Well done! Sending Valentine hugs from Edmonds, Washington to you and the girls and I never got anything for Valentine's Day either!!! :-)

  5. Excellent job, as always. I use the pouch you made me every day for school. Keep up the awesomeness

  6. What a great bag! Good size too. I am sure the receiver will be delighted. I know I would be over the moon if someone made a bag like that for me.

  7. Gorgeous Ros!! You are a real wiz with your bags!

  8. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your bag, Ros!!! ... the fabrics, the shape, the quilting.

  9. I love the bag - the bold prints are fun! What a great V-day idea, I don't celebrate either so I also did something a little different for some one this year

  10. Love the bag! Perfect combination of colors, lucky partner!!

  11. Hello on a beutiful sunday!

    I´am wild about your quilted bag.
    It´s really great work, very beautiful too:-)


  12. The bag is amazing Ros. I know what you mean about loud and bright but for an occasional bag - what does it matter. It is a statement piece!

  13. I want one! No really I need to learn to make it. Ok, I'd rather just you make an identical one for me : )
    Love it! New follower!

  14. Beautiful bag, so nicely quilted, no crisis of confidence necessary! I have been admiring it in the flickrpool.

  15. You've got a real knack for putting fabrics together Ros. Just beautiful. I find it hard to believe you weren't inundated with flowers and chocolates. And anyway, who cares what happened when you were a teenager. Look what your gorgeous husband got you.

    Anne xx


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