Friday, May 17, 2013

Teacher birthday/appreciation gift

We have really appreciated Thing 1's teacher this year, so I wanted to give her something for her birthday that would be useful but fun.  Teachers can always use tote bags for their stuff, so I thought that would be a good idea.  And I already knew (from Thing 1) that she loves pink and shoes, among other things.  When I saw the high heels fabric on the Nancy's Notions website, it was a no-brainer!  I used a pink duck cloth from JAF as the outer fabric.

I ordered 1.5 yards, because I didn't figure out exactly what I was going to do before ordering.  Later, I saw the Green Pepper Wave Bag pattern at JAF and bought it, thinking that might be the way to go. However, after mostly finishing the prototype (it's still languishing while I re-evaluate how I want to do the upper trim/handles), I decided that it wasn't going to be what I wanted for the teacher, and I went with a simple and basic tote bag design.  

I measured a good-sized tote bag we had on hand and approximated those measurements for my bag.  That one had an almost full-size pocket on the outside, which I considered using here.  In the end, I couldn't figure out how to do the handles and the upper trim the way I wanted if I put the large pocket on the outside, so instead I added it to the inside.  I did put a small pocket on the outside, sandwiched between the handles.  To make the trim on the upper edge of that pocket, I stitched the outer and lining fabrics RST, then wrapped the lining fabric to the inside - OVER the seam allowance.  This gave me a half inch (IIRC) trim at the upper edge of the pocket.  For the trim at the top of the bag, I cut the lining 1.5 inches taller than the outer fabric, then folded and pressed the lining 0.5 inches under (to hide raw edges), then another 1 inch under.  When I set the lining inside the bag, I tucked the outer fabric into that last fold, pinned it in place, and stitched it down.  I'm really happy with how this turned out.  You can also see that the lining is peeking out on the underside of the handles.  That was the suggestion of a neighbor!  The handles are tubes of duck cloth, pressed flat and edge-stitched on both sides.  I made single-fold "bias" tape to cover the underside of the handles, just for the parts that show (and extending an inch or two past, just in case).

This shows the inside.  If you look at the bottom, you can see a "bellows" pocket to the left (which I'm not entirely happy with - I think I made it a bit big) and a small flat pocket to the right.  You can also see the edge of the large pocket at the top left - that was made from one layer each of lining fabric and duck cloth.  I was thinking that it would be good for separating out papers or something.

I really like how this bag turned out, and I'm going to use the same idea again - hopefully soon for our long-intended library books.  I hope that the teacher really liked it.

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