As the clock ticks down on my 40s, I crave a new look. I have been working on an “edgy” wardrobe to take me into my next decade. I’ve made some skirts, tops and jackets, so how about a bag to go with it all?
This is the Ethel Tote from Swoon Sewing Patterns, with some modifications:
I am proud that I made this almost entirely with materials leftover from other projects. The main fabric is black denim, leftover from wide-leg jeans I made from Simplicity 3688. The lining is leftover from a tunic I made from the Japanese sewing book “Happy Homemade Sew Chic.” Yes, that is an abstract snakeskin print!
Using remnants – tight squeeze!
The lining’s interfaced with stash interfacing and the denim with leftover cordura nylon from a bag I made years ago. The bottom is reinforced with leftover buckram from yet another bygone bag project. The only new material is the faux leather piping, which I bought earlier this year to jazz up projects for my “edgy” look.
To sew it on, I used a teflon presser foot to baste it, then used a zipper foot to edge up close to it when I joined the seams. I think the piping adds a lot of interest to an otherwise basic black bag.
My major modification to the bag itself was a facing around the opening. While I love the purple, pink, black and gray snakeskin print, I didn’t want it peeking out, and I worried that it would get dirty over time, so I wanted a facing as a buffer. To draft the facing, I just removed the top 1.5 inches from the lining to make a template, added a 1/2 inch for a seam allowance, sewed it on, pressed and topstitched.
The bag has two big, deep pockets in the front and calls for two more inside. I sewed three on the inside – a skinny one in the middle perfect for holding a pen. I thought about sewing in a zipper, but the bag’s so deep that I don’t worry about things falling out.
Inside view with pockets
Overall, this is a great bag, with clear and well-illustrated directions. It’s not a quickie project – altogether there are 33 pieces because you have fashion fabric and lining, with interfacings for each. (Plus 8 more pieces for a facing and interfacing for the facing if you go this route.) The bag calls for quilting cotton and foam interfacing, but since I was using heavier denim, I used the cordura.
Here it is with my other recent “edgy” makes (Oki Style “Joker” shirt and skirt made from Vogue 1312). I am sure this bag will get a lot of use!