Rarrrggghh! The fearsome beastie tote bag


Oooh … scary huh? Well, alright, not so scary but definitely schweeet. This awesome monster was inspired by this post on pinterest about customising a ready made tote with a monster appliqué – but when I saw the newsprint fabric at the fabric store I knew I had to make a bag for it to go on too.

This was my project for our Saturday Sew In, and unbelievably it took me all day! My bloke always tells me I have an amazing capacity to underestimate how long it will take me to do things, but in this case I surpassed myself. We had 7 clear hours of crafting time in the session, so I took along fabric for the bag, fabric to make a pair of camoflage shorts and fabric to make a handbag (well, you know, I didn’t want to end up with idle hands at any stage of the afternoon). Ha! I think only the Doctor (ooh, Matt Smith, gorgeous in a freakishly geeky way) could have a better grasp on redefining the laws of space and time than me. I obviously believe I am some kind of Time Lord, because when it boiled down to it, in my seven hours of crafting time I didn’t even finish the bag!

What happened? Well, it took me a while to decide on the perfect size for the tote – big enough for an A4 book and some bits and bobs, but not so huge that it would be like carrying my house on my shoulder. Then there was the problem with relating this information to the amount of fabric I bought for the bag (why on earth did I only buy half a metre of the stripe, what was I thinking?!). Would I have enough for straps? How big should I make the gusset? Did I have enough to match the stripes? Where should I start the monster in relation to the bottom, so that when the body folded under the gusset it left a two-thirds, one-third proportion? Wahh! So I did what every good sewer with a conundrum of this magnitude does … I stopped and drank tea.

Two cups in and the ideas finally started to take shape. (It’s worth noting that an hour and a half had passed by at this point.) I sketched, traced onto Bondaweb and ironed on my appliqué before finally heading to the machine. Chrissy Sue (thanks lovely) had the brilliant idea of echoing the outer machine stitch with some hand embellished running stitch in embroidery silks (silks … damn, cross off another twenty minutes as I dash across the street to home, rummage frantically in the art room for some coral embroidery thread and race back.) A word of advice here … never try to stitch through Bondaweb with a slightly blunt needle. It’s a really bad idea.

Anywaaaay … hand embellishment started, but what’s that terrible roaring noise? Doh! It’s my stomach. Somehow it’s now lunchtime, and I look down and my untouched bag construction and barely started hand finishing with complete astonishment. How can three whole hours have gone already? Time for lunch with the ladies though, so we troop to the coffee shop for some sustenance. Forward 40 minutes and we return to the crafting zone. I eye my injured finger and sigh as I realise I still have two eyes, a nose and a mouth to attach along with a chain stitch mouth to embroider. Shit.

Mustering the good ole Blitz spirit I persevere and finally finish the hand stitching. Yay! I have never been so relieved to turn to the sewing machine. Thundering along the seams I finally sew the outer bag together and construct the inner lining. It’s starting to look like a bag. I’m just about to put the inner and outer together and then realise I have a problem … I want to use buttons for eyes but I don’t have my button stash with me. If I construct it all now then I will have to stitch the buttons on through the bag and the lining, not good. I pick up a tiny bit of the lining material and start making bows … maybe my monster should be a girl. I show my Mum, “No, it’s too much” she says wisely. I reluctantly conceed, peek at the clock and realise it is now ten to five. Ten to ******* five! Realising that the time gods are really messing with me I decide to accept momentary defeat and start packing up for the afternoon.

Once we’ve said our goodbyes, I head home and straight to the button stash and find two perfect buttons. Then it’s on to the lining and straps. Yippee, it’s almost there. As the last strap gets its top stitching, it’s starting to turn dark, but finally it is finished. I love it. A simple tote bag. Surely to goodness this shouldn’t take a reasonably accomplished sewer a whole day?! Yet, it did. Ah well. Thank you to Carole, Chrissy Sue, Lucy, Yvonne and my poor long-suffering Mum for a fabulous day of crafting goodness. And yes, that it a bow you spy on my monster’s head. “Too much” is my middle name you know!


Published by t@uandmii

Colour mad designer rampages gleefully through the world of plus size sewing! Oh, and there may be shoes … and cats.

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