Life is indeed a stitch!
Berryhill Heirlooms and Susie Gay present techniques, heirloom sewing, hand embroidery and other musings. Come and join in the fun with Susie, a Home Economist, and savor a little rest from your hectic day...and yes, it's a Degree she uses every day!

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Break Sewing

I have a break in my sewing schedule for Classic Sewing Magazine. So I can sew or stitch whatever I want and what have I chosen? A Tote Bag. It's not sexy sewing but functional. I have a tote I made years ago and it's finally showing some wear. But because it's held up so well over the years I'm using the same pattern for the new one: Vogue 7463, View E (bottom right in photo below). 

My challenge was using as much as I can from my stash. Considering gas prices I really didn't want to rush off to a sewing store that's 21 miles from my house one way, equal to $10 at today's horrible prices. I have a large stack of decorator fabric samples that I was given years ago. Some of the samples are quite large....and were very pricy in their time. I found one large enough for the outside of the bag. It's a heavy velvet-like striped upholstery fabric which will require some of the same techniques I wrote about earlier for velveteen...and definitely a lint roller!!

Next was finding enough large scraps for lining and trim: black synthetic fabric suede for the bag bottom, edging and handles.  A quilting fabric for the lining matches the cream of the outer fabric and has grey, too. A good enough pairing along with a black zipper for the inside pocket and enough scraps of buckram needed for stabilizing the tote top were other stash acquisitions. The only things missing were "craft weight" sew-in interfacing (Pellon Stabilizer 926) and a swivel hook from the hardware store. 

Buckram?? Yes, I use it as a base for ribbon flowers I make that''ll be sewn onto a hat or purse. It's also used for millinery structures, book binding, drapery and other uses. My piece is the open weave, heavily starched type that is found in hat forms.

Sewing this was a challenge because of the thickness of everything. At one point I was sewing through 8 layers. The entire tote took 3 machine needles, size 90/14, with the polyester thread.

The swivel hook is for car keys: you don't have to search the bottom of the tote to find them. The swivel hook on ribbon is my idea. Two different ribbons from the stash and a little bit of machine embroidery stitching to sew them together made a nice "lanyard". I threaded the hook onto the ribbon, folded the ribbon in half and used Super Weight Stitch Witchery to fuze them together. Perfect!

Heavy pins and some clamps worked to hold the lining and outer bag together for basting. Then the strip of the faux black suede for finishing the top was stitched on. 

The tote is complete with metal feet on the bottom (also from my stash) to better protect from wear and tear (unlike the first one I made). The tote bag is heavy, stands up by itself and can carry books, laptops and plenty of other goodies. It will give me years of use and I'm very pleased with it!
Happy Stitching and Sewing!

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