I decided to make a fairly complicated and large tote bag for me to use on weekend shopping expeditions.
The pattern is the Lemon Zest Produce Bag, from the Mount Redoubt Designs Market Fresh Produce Bag Collection. I didn't use the recommended fabrics, but rather the Farm Fresh (Fruits & Veggies) collection from Timeless Treasures, because that's what my local quilt shop carried.
The finished bag has a large pocket on the front, and pockets on each side of the bag for glasses, keys, phone, pen and a water bottle, all very handy. Pretty colorful, isn't it? The pattern is somewhat complicated, what with all the pockets, but the instructions are, for the most part, fairly clear. A good idea is to cut out all of the pattern pieces in the beginning, and label each on, preferably with a post-it or a small sticker. I didn't do this, and realize that I should have done so. I was measuring each and every piece, sometimes several times, to figure out which one I needed to use next. The pattern calls for some applique on the front pocket, which I didn't do. A few comments about the instructions: 1) the strap directions were a bit odd, the strip was 6 inches wide, and the pattern said to fold it in 1 inch on each side, then fold in half for a 2 inch wide strap. Since this would have made a strap of uneven thickness, I fused interfacing to the 6 inch strap, then folded the sides to meet in the middle, and folded again for a 1 1/2 inch strap. It was fairly thick, but at least it was even. But as I used thick fusible interfacing, it may not have mattered much at all.
2) The bag has a vinyl bottom, and the lining has vinyl on the inside bottom and two thirds up the sides of the bag. The organizer strip is pretty loose, with no bottom on it. I think the idea is that whatever you put in the organizer will sit on the vinyl bottom of the bag. It's rather difficult to see in the photo, but the organizer is essentially a set of tubes sewn onto a strip that spans the length of the bag. I'm thinking of sewing the bottom of the tubes to the strip, but I'll try it out for a few weeks to see how comfortable I am with it.
I decided to sew in a key clasp. I know, the sewing is a bit messy, but at least it's secure. After the bag was finished I decided to add two more features.
The first is a zippered pocket, which I made and hand stitched to the lining. Then, as I forgot to add a magnetic clasp while I was constructing the bag,
I made a strip of the binding material and looped it around a button. I can't claim credit for this idea, as I got it from Hooked on Needles, somewhere on the post - I can't find it now.
All in all, it's a great bag! It took me about a day and a half to make, and I'll test drive it next weekend to see how it works.
Happy Mother's Day to all of you Moms out there!