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Oh, But You CAN Take It With You

Earlier last fall, my local quilt shop had a tote bag made up that I really liked. It is perfect for retreats. You can take your project (or two or three), your 6x24 ruler (fits in one of the side pockets), your cutting mat, and more! There are four outside pockets and another large pocket inside, plenty of room for STUFF!


I decided I needed to make one for me to carry supplies back and forth to our weekly open sew sessions at the shop. I followed the pattern pretty much to a tee on this one.

My First Tote Bag

I liked my new tote bag so much, I decided my mother and sister each needed one. Back to the quilt shop for fabric for theirs.

For my mom's, I saw this lovely group of cabbage rose type prints in pink. They really reminded me of her. I decided to modify the pattern and use the stripe in the one fabric print as the "border" on the outside pockets. I also decided to add a zippered pocket inside the tote bag to hold smaller items that might get lost in the bag. If you are a woman reading this, you know how things disappear in the bottom of our purses. I wanted to help corral those little thimbles and valuables.

Mom's Tote Bag
I saw a beautiful purple/white/blue flower abstract print at the shop. The colors just screamed "SISTER!". I bought that and the blue coordinates. After I started working on the bag, I wasn't happy with the blue I had bought so I went online and found the purple coordinates instead. I am much happier with the purples than the darker blue. I also found a great quilt label at the Portland Quilt Expo last fall that I sewed inside. Along with a zippered pocket of course!

For her fabric, I also opted for the no-border look. I liked the color progression in the fabric. A border would interrupt the "flow", at least in my opinion. I got really brave on the dark purple pieces and did free-motion quilting using the leaf patterns as guides. I did a random progression across each piece of the bag. I was happy with the results of my first FMQ attempt.

My Sister's Bag

Label and Zippered Pocket Inside
My mom travels frequently so I know she'll get good use out of her bag. And my sister goes on quilting retreats and her bag will come in handy, too. I just know it was fun making and putting my own touches on their bags and giving them as Christmas presents.

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