The Nautical Mile Tote
A few months ago, I was in the mood to attempt my first sewn bag. It's funny that I've worked as a handbag/accessories designer for years in NYC... and I never made my own bag (?). I've been accumulating a lot of material with my quilting adventures... and so, why not?
I was feeling a bit nostalgic for summer in the States (again)... and there are a number of things that always make me think of summer. Ice cream cones, barbecues, iced coffees, strawberries, and all things nautical. A few of the images below struck a chord with how I was feeling... or wished to be feeling since it was recently rainy and cold here in the Alps.
|These jeans [Credit:Link]|
|By the water [Credit: Link]|
|Dogs & Beach Houses [Credit:Link]|
|Soft Shoes [Credit:Link]|
|This Tote [Credit:Link]|
|Wide Stripes [Credit:Link]|
I looked around for a few easy patterns that I could sink my teeth into... this was my first attempt, afterall. I tend to throw my hands up and walk away if I can't get things relatively quickly... but, my stubborn side brings me back to the table to try it again.
I found this pattern from Leanne Barlow from Elle Apparel that looked like a good first tote:
|Canvas Beach Bag [Credit:Link]|
I had some material that I bought a few months earlier from Ikea. They have tons of fabrics! And, even sell a sewing machine! I like this material's weight... makes for a good tote that isn't too stiff and isn't too flimsy. I added a layer of Ikea's light white cotton as an interlining.
|Blue & White Stripes from Ikea [Credit:Link]|
Leanne's instructions were very clear on the dimensions to cut the pieces for this tote. I opted for a contrast coral orange material for the lining.
Feeling nostalgic for summer in the States, I added a star applique to the front pocket.
Everything was moving along smoothly... until I found an old Muji canvas tote with an interesting seam technique. The original bag pattern had the seams turned inward... while this Muji bag had exposed French Seams. I didn't know that this type of seam is great for lightweight or sheer fabrics. I had THREE layers of fabric... which were DOUBLED inside the French seam... and so, by the time I got around to joining the bottom seam to the side seams... things got a little crowded under my sewing foot!
But, that didn't stop me! I aborted the French seams right as we got to the bottom seam... and continued sewing the tote in similar fashion to Leanne's pattern.
I used self handles following the Muji tote - using the materials striping as a design element (top side white, underside blue)... So, I strayed off the path a bit... but I'm still happy with how things turned out! Inspiration happens at any moment... it's fun to let it in sometimes... always be flexible and let creativity happen!
|The Nautical Mile Tote|
Love this tote... It's soft, it's relaxed... it's roomie... It's a great tote for lazy summer weekends when you just want to throw everything in a bag and get out the door. Hope your summers are going well so far. There's still July and August to go!