Sunday, September 21, 2014

Spectrum Tote

Happy Sunday morning to you! It's gray and gloomy here, so I hope it's nice and smiley wherever you are. A few weeks ago I was asked to test a bag for Sarah of Cozy Nest Designs (the designer of this highly versatile bag). I agreed immediately, because I loved the sample photos she sent (in case you haven't notice I happen to adore color :)  Inspired by a paint chip (!) this roomy tote has endless options for color and fabric play. I had a wicked hard time deciding on fabrics. Nothing was jumping out at me and I was seriously fretting over it. When I went through my stash I found a big chunk of fabric I've had for a long time, so I decided to make mine out of one fabric with contrasting strips, instead of various colors and patterns. I thought I was being super original, until I saw some of the other testers' bags. And yes, I do notice the irony of stating that I love color and then showing you a bag entirely devoid of it.

Anyway, here is my finished version of this bag:

I was thinking I might use this as a handbag, but it's a little too roomy (even for me, and I gravitate towards larger bags, even if I don't carry much). Any problems I had were purely of my own creation (you know how sometimes I like to pretend I know everything?), as Sarah's instructions were spot on. If you do what she says, you won't need to rip a stitch out. I've never tested a bag before, so I had a bit of a time following the instructions as I see "zippered pocket" and go rogue, instead of following the directions to make sure they make sense (as I was asked to do...ahem...). Once I got into the groove, though, all was well.

One of the key things with this bag is labeling the pieces (and there are handy labeling sheets included in the pattern). I got my pieces confused and caused myself some trouble that way, so use the labels! I was also super excited with this as I was going to use a generic version of the recommended Soft and Stable (generic version meaning headliner fabric (like what's in your car's ceiling?) that you can buy off the roll at Joann's. I underestimated my measurements and didn't have enough, so I used Thermolam Plus fusible. It has nice body and structure but I was a bit disappointed in my miscalculation (does anyone else get excited about new interfacings? It's a very unique kind of geekery). Luckily I've got another bag to test that calls for it, so interfacing joy shall hopefully be mine in the near future :)

You can see the inside peeking out a bit--it's a light tan with wee white polka dots on it. There's a zipper pocket in there, and the pattern includes directions for slip pockets but I didn't include those. There is a fair bit of cutting time involved between the pattern and the fabric, but the assembly really is quite easy breezy. I'm looking forward to making this in more summery colors and fabrics, but I'm going to wait until the fabric lines change up in the stores and I need some color in my life to get over what will become the winter doldrums in about February.

If you're interested in making these (it's really a great size for a tote--I'm going to use mine for my supplies for a garment sewing class I'm taking) you can find the pattern here. Happy sewing!


  1. That's a really cool bag! And interfacings are a good thing to learn about! I learned recently that my sewing room is quite lacking in that respect. I only have light and very heavy, nothing between them.

  2. Beautiful bag, I love the fabric.



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