Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Scrap Therapy Beaded Tote Bag

Yey, it's finished! I finally got my new beaded tote bag completed late on Monday night. It always feels good to get another project wrapped up. I will be using it as a shopping and all-purpose carry bag when I'm out and about. At least for a little while anyway. I want to make another one in brighter spring colors so I can set this one aside to use later this autumn.

The tote bag was a class offered at a local sewing store. It is part of the Scrap Therapy series taking place at Bismarck Sewing & Quilting. It was a two-part class, but there was quite a bit of stenciling and sewing required to finish. It took me longer than I originally anticipated to complete the project. The second one should go faster. I plan to do another one with some machine embroidery instead of the stenciling you see on this bag. The bag is large; approximately 12" x 16" not including the straps.

Here is a closer view of one side. If you click onto the photo you will see a larger image. You can see I chose to do some free-motion stitching around the stenciled leaf area to enhance that feature further. That was not called for in the pattern. It basically instructed to just 'quilt as desired' but I went a bit further to embellish it.

The leaves along the upper portion of the bag and the swirls on the large and small flying geese are all stenciled. There are four large flying geese on each side, and eight small flying geese on each of the narrow ends of the bag. The pattern showed instructions to use a specialty ruler called a 'Wing Clipper' to make the flying geese. It was the first time for me to make them this different way. It was actually pretty quick and easy with the ruler. Now I want to make up some quilts with flying geese blocks. Those quilt rulers can be pretty spendy so I feel I need to use it for more than just this one project to gain from my investment in buying it. Flying geese will need to be landing here in my studio soon so I can feel I got my money's worth - that I got good use of this new tool!

Here is another view of the bag from the other side. The flying geese vary from the typical flying geese one usually sees on quilts for a couple reasons. For one, the geese are made using a darker fabric for the geese rather than the typical lighter fabric. Secondly the corner triangles are made from 2" squares pieced into nine-patches. These are sewn and cut to form the corners. It is supposed to look scrappy. I like that part. I have lots of fabric to select from my stash to use for a scrappy, yet coordinated, look.

There are lots of pockets in this bag. You will find two large outer pockets on either side and six inside pockets with plenty of room in the middle to carry things.

Initially I thought the wooden beads that are incorporated into the bag handles would press hard into my shoulder. That is not the case. At least not yet. I have only carried a few things around in it so far. I will have to judge if that is the case one day when I end up toting around a heavier load. There are also a couple wooden beads on either end to cinch in and gather in some of the width of the bag. It also adds a decorative accent to the narrow ends of the bag.

All in all, I'm pleased with how this bag turned out. There were a few variations I made in construction compared to what was shown in the pattern instructions. When I make the second one I already know a few things I will be doing a bit differently to simplify construction. My sewing friend took the class with me. I was the slow poke compared to her, but that meant I got to benefit from some of her comments as she worked ahead of me. We both liked the pattern, but both of us agreed there are a few things we will be changing when we make another bag.

It's a fun project. I love my bag! If you find a quilt shop that has this Scrap Therapy bag project you might want to take the class so you can make one, too.


  1. Thanks, Terri! I really like it and will be making my other one soon.

  2. Fantastic job on your bag. It is beautiful.


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