So . . . I’m not sure what came over me, but I’ve suddenly taken on all these Xmas sewing projects.  I usually avoid sewing with a deadline, as it really stresses me out, but I just somehow felt the need this year.  I’ve probably got too much planned, so I decided to just get the first one done and then reevaluate if I could realistically do the others.  Here’s the first one, a tote bag for my sister, who is not a small-bag person, if you get what I mean.


Shelby was intent on getting into every picture I took this morning.

The pattern was a freebie that I found here and I recommend it; I always give a big ol’ side eye to free patterns, but this one was well-written and clear.  The only changes I made were to skip quilting the body of the bag and to add the loop closure at the top.


Everything used here was from my stash, and this is why I keep such a big collection of fabric scraps, buttons, beads, and findings.  I can look at a half-finished project, decided that it needs a closure that looks more or less like THIS, and then find what I need in my own sewing room to make that happen.


The body of the bag is a lovely thick, plush corduroy.  (I realized somewhere in the middle of the sewing process that black corduroy is perhaps not the best choice of fabric for someone with way too many furry pets, but it’s wonderful fabric nonetheless.)  The front pocket is a Laurel Burch print.


A note about the closure:  I can’t remember where I got the idea to stack up beads and buttons to make bag closures (it was years ago now), but it makes for a visually-interesting detail and is also fun to do.


You can see in this picture that I’ve got a smaller bead on the bottom as a sort of spacer that makes a niche for the loop to fit into.  Above that is an opalescent glass doughnut, a black button, and an interesting blue bead.

Sometimes you can stack them up, then run a needle and thread through the whole mess several times and be done with it.  In this case, the bottom bead wanted to slip through the hole in the doughnut, so I sewed that on first, then the doughnut and button together on top, and finally the blue bead on top of that.


So, first holiday present down, and I’m off to Joann’s this afternoon to pick up supplies for the next.