Ahh, Spring is finally here. The buds are blooming, the sun lingers longer, my motivational reserves are filling up! Sometimes, on a beautiful day, inspiration strikes and we are like two peas in a pod!
Back in March, I was looking at one of my favorite bags - the extra slouchy, extra large schlepping tote you see below from PINK. While I have a respect for a good structured bag, a roomy and soft tote like this one just warms my heart!
I imagine it being dragged along to the seaside... it being filled with towels, bathing suits, and magazines... and when it is all stuffed to the gills in all of my favorite squishy things, it doubles as a pillow on those long rides home from the beach!
Or, maybe, it is filled with laundry... and is being used by a busy university student? Who knows!? What you can do with such a tote is just endless!
Unfortunately, these days I am not near a beach... and so this tote holds a ton of fabrics for a project that I am working on. It has a simple shape... little self ties to keep all of the stuff inside... and the material is the softest cotton. I'm amazed such a thin material can have the strength to hold a load of laundry!
Well, now that you know what sparked this journey... I had to make a few adjustments. While I wasn't going to the beach any time soon... nor do I have to walk a mile to the nearest laundry mat... I do, in fact, always need a good, roomy tote for those trips to the market... or when I go pick up the girls and they no longer want to carry their own jackets...
So, I made the bag slightly smaller... into a more reasonable weekender/shopper tote size.
I moved the ties to the sides. I wanted the ties to be more prominent on this tote... so, I tied them to the front and made them quite a bit longer. Happy with the shape and size, I disassembled the muslin sample... and after a bit of pressing, my patterns were ready.
Lookie! A bit of post inspiration boost:
Now, originally I wanted to make the entire bag out of one material. I picked up a beautiful bluey/denimy Italian linen from Das Blaue Tuch in Munich (Hi, Katja!).
|[Credit: Das Blaue Tuch]|
Beautiful shop with beautiful fabrics. I would know, El & Lil have a closet full of clothes made of fabrics from this shop (Thank you, Phia!!).
The heavy 18 oz navy canvas twill was from my own stash from NYC... and the bling was crystal mesh from Swarovski.
It was only after I found my stash that I decided to use it as the exterior bottom trim and as complete interior liner and pocket for the tote. Notice, the tote has started to evolve into its own look. It's no longer big and super slouchy (as it would have been if I used only the Italian linen)... the heavy canvas lining gives it a bit more structure (from the inside out!).
I put in several layers of heavy filler to keep the bottom from giving way (just say no, to droopy bottom bags!).
Originally, I thought of maybe color blocking the tabs with some bright color fabric... but for the Italian linen and the heavy canvas... that just wasn't enough.
Enter, the Swarovski bling... I hot pressed the mesh strips to a suede like material... then turned and glued those strips to the bag straps... the crystals are folded onto both sides of the tab. The effect? Solid weight end tabs that feel like crystal bars on the tie ends... definitely dresses the bag up a notch!
The interior pocket - the universe KNOWS that if you have a big, oversized bag, you need a big roomy interior pocket for the most important items you don't want to have to dig around for at the bottom of the bag!
The little seahorse label is the label I've been using on all the things I've made... name is still TBD.
And so, voila! A big, extra roomy summer, Saturday tote... one to be taken anywhere and everywhere. (Secret P.S.: Happy Birthday, Phia!)