Saturday, February 6, 2010

Reinventing the Tote

Sometimes just checking my email, much less replying has been overwhelming these days, but things are slowing down now.
In bullet form, here are the highlights since December:

  • Daniel finished laying the wood flooring in our house!
  • Daniel stained and sealed the wood flooring and it took TWO WEEKS to dry.
  • We slept in my studio for most of those weeks. And some other times.
  • The good news is that our bed fits in the studio better than the kitchen: Another place we slept. We also slept in the barn.
  • I was freaking out because you can't have a good home birth without a home. I'm better now.
  • Because I couldn't be in the house I got quite a bit of sewing done!
Done any cool remakes lately?
The picture above was given to me by a friend as a reference. She bought a bag online which she thought was a purse, but turned out to be a tote bag. It was a beautiful hand printed linen in a lotus design from Lotta Jansdotter, but not quite what she had in mind. She asked if I could turn the tote into this purse.
Here is my result minus the handles:

It looks shorter than the original here, but that's just the angle of the photo.
The front and back of the tote bag became the front and back of the purse. I bought brown linen from Silk Road in Austin for the side and bottom gusset, and used the tote handles as the strip around the top. For the lining and piping I used brown silk shantung.
I made pockets in the lining, and used a self-covered button for closure.Linen and silk are so lightweight, but every woman has expectations about how much a purse weighs. Think about it. A light purse is a flimsy, cheap purse. I added heft by interlining the linen with a pebbled cotton I had lying around that more than doubled the weight. The thick piping also helped to provide shape.My best hint for piping is this: You can get the very same piping rope from your local hardware store at less than half the price of the trim at a fabric store.I also sewed a heavy plastic into the bottom of the bag because we expect purses to sit flat when we set them down.
It is finished with grommets and a silk shantung scarf. I left the handles up to my friend to pick, so they aren't shown here.
I am pretty happy with the results. What do you think?

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