So today I thought I’d share another of my not-sew-perfect projects.  I think I am going to start blaming my lack of skills on my ultra cheap sewing machine.  A piece of it actually fell off yesterday.  I didn’t know what that knob did anyway! I think maybe it’s time to start looking for a new one, so if you have any suggestions for a machine that’s not that complicated or expensive, is reliable, and suited for someone with medium level skills, please let me know!

navy white tote

I wanted to make a tote bag as a gift for my mother-in-law.  It just so happens that Randi (Fresh Squeezed Fabrics) recently had a “sew along” on her blog, I have to say….  Her tutorials are always very easy to follow and since I didn’t have a pattern in mind, I gave it a whirl.

navy white tote I did a few things differently, some on purpose, some by mistake!  I used home decor weight fabric instead of quilting fabric because I wanted some weight to it.  I used fusible fleece instead of batting because it’s what I had in my closet.

I tried to find webbing for the straps, but it was either too white, too beige, to narrow, or too purple.  So I decided to just make the straps from the lining fabric.  Which was not a problem…except that the 44″ wide fabric wasn’t going to give me enough length for Randi’s dimensions and the straps would be too short.

My panels were already pieced when I realized this, so I decided to just cut an inch off the bottom, hoping that would work.  And it did.  But I must have measured wrong somehow when I adjusted the size of the lining because once it was all sewn together and I turned them right side out, the lining was longer than the outside.  I sort of liked it though.  I liked how it made it look like piping at the top and that it might have been intentional.  So I went with it!

navy white tote edge

I used a couple of scraps from the striped fabric and turned them sideways for the inside pocket.

navy white tote inside

To finish it off I used an iron-on monogram for the front (no, I didn’t use M for mother-in-law!).  And voila!

navy white tote

Visit I have to say… for the great tutorial and learn how to make it the right way…or not! Lol!

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5 Responses to My tote bag

  1. Dana says:

    I have a Janome 8077 and love it. It’s a good solid easy machine to use. It lives on a boat with me and has been through all sorts of abuse so I can honestly say I don’t think you’ll lose any knobs. It’s more expensive than the brother above but I got mine on sale a few years ago. When I decided I wanted a new machine I went into a quilting store and they sent me to Hancock Fabrics to buy this one on sale and I’ve been happy ever since.

  2. Denny says:

    I LOVE your tote. Your “design changes” came out just right!

    I’m a Bernina person, too. They are good quality, so take a look at the Series 3 machines.

    Sewing classes are a good idea, too. You get some free classes when you buy your Bernina, but they go by so fast . . . A sewing class, either in a class setting or even an hour or two of a one on one class, teaches you so much about your machine while you’re learning more about how to sew a project. Lots more confidence! Go for it!

  3. Erin says:

    I love my Janome. I taught myself to sew on it and love it.

  4. Aubrey says:

    I own a top of the line Viking, a mid-range singer, and one of the “newer” Brother machines. My mom actually bought the same Brother one first because it got good reviews and she wanted a 2nd machine so we could sew together when I visited. However, she did not want to spend an arm and a leg to do so.

    After sewing on it for a few hours we started fighting over who should sew on the Brother! Too funny!

    This is the line:

    It is ridiculously fun and works very well for such a low price. I have been a sewing machine “snob” for many years. But I have to say that after a year I am still loving this machine! I figure if it only lasts 2 years it was totally worth it. :)

    If you get one I would love to hear if you enjoy it as much as I have! :)

  5. Belinda says:

    I’m a Bernina person so I would point you in that direction – I hear goods things about their Bernette line or the series 3 machines.
    Many folks swear by Janome. They have a nice price point and get nice reviews. Purchase the dealer as well as the machine so you have ready access to service & lessons. Good luck!