My quest for the perfect bag continues. Actually, I need two bags: a small purse to tuck my wallet, keys, and Starbucks card into because I usually leave the pockets off my clothes and a big tote bag to put all my crap in that I seem to need to lug everywhere. So I decided to give the Totes a Lot pattern a try. It’s by Nancy Mirman.
The pattern calls for quilting cottons and batting or fleece or something between the layers. I decided to use bottomweight fabric that was left over from previous projects, so I didn’t need the middle layer/batte. The fabric with the embroidery is a navy flannel that I made pants out of. The plain denim was a jacket that didn’t work out. DH bought the striped denim for temporary shades, and the light colored denim was a pair of pants.
I’m very pleased with how the embroidery came out. I digitized the oak leaf. Beth told me that it is a red oak leaf. Anyway, there are 2 different patterns, the solid leaf and the outline. I randomly placed the outline leaves.
I wish I could say I am very pleased with the rest of the bag. I do really like the size and all the pockets. The construction method leaves a lot to be desired. This bag is constructed of rectangles. Each piece is cut out of the “main” fabric, the … um … “lining” fabric, and a piece of batting or fleece. The instructions tell you to layer the 3 pieces like a quilt sandwich and bind the top edge of each piece. Except for the 2 main pieces, there are no instructions to finish any other edges.
The instructions say to sew the bag right sides together and then to enclose the seams by resewing the edges wrong sides together. This was really hard to do on my sewing machine, and if you look closely at the image on the right, you can see I only encased the seams close to the top of the bag. It was just too many layers to go thru once I got down near the pockets, so I have many unfinished seams, on grain, in the interior of the bag.
The only other issue, that I have is that the length of the key holder is way too long for me. Well, and I refuse to use velcro. I’d much rather put in a snap or a zipper.
Overall, I really like this bag. It’s a good size for me. I like the chance for embellishment on the front pocket. The back pocket is perfect for my purse. The side pockets are great for my cell phone and camera. I can carry my journal inside and some art supplies, plus my makeup (that I almost never wear) and my allergy meds.
I made some other changes in addition to not using the fleece filler. I took tucks in the top of the side pockets. The pattern called for elastic threaded in the binding. I had very securely finished my binding with decorative stitches, so I was unable to thread anything through the binding. One of the interior pockets is supposed to run the length of the bog and be secured with velcro. I hate velcro, so you know I didn’t do that. I split the pocket into 3 pockets and omitted the closure.
I need to use the bag for a while before I can pass final judgement, but as of now, I like it.