my hope tote – Sewvivor – Challenge #2

First off, I want to thank everyone for all their support and votes in the Sewvivor competition, Challenge 1. Because of you I made it through to round two!! Thank you SO much. You can read more about who else made it into the top ten here. (To vote for round two, click here.)

The second Sewvivor challenge is to make a quilted bag, any type, by personal design or someone else’s pattern, and of any size. I waffled a bit on what type of bag to make but settled on designing my own perfect bag. I wanted to make something that I would use, that would be very practical, and as I am the worst packhorse, would be large enough to suite my needs.

So, I designed a bag that would be perfect for my impending return to work, post maternity leave. I’ve called it my “hope tote” as it will serve as a reminder that there is life after work, and that I can get through the next six months, after which I will hopefully return to my life as a stay at home mother with my babies. I LOVE color, and decided to use only fabrics that made me happy, and instead of keeping them on the shelf, I used my absolute favorite fabrics.

For this first side, I used equilateral triangle piecing. I’ll be honest, I had no idea how difficult they were to piece and plan in terms of beginning size and finished size. But they worked out in the end, after a bit of creative thinking, and the addition of a print that would end up being my favorite part of the entire project (the Love Notes text print).

I chose to let this side focus on the fabric in all it’s happy, floral gorgeousness.

The dominant fabric line in this bag is called “Lucky Girl” by Jennifer Paganelli. I used one of it’s prints to line the pouch and included three pleated, and lined pockets on the inside. The top part of the pocket is elasticized to hold items securely.

Speaking of storage, this tote carries every essential thing I could possibly need for work, knitting, notepads, pencils, hexie bag and still contains room for the extra non-essentials like lunch, wallet, and sweater. 🙂 (Priorities right??)

I used a new to me technique of using utility canvas as a stabilizer (as well as Pellon Shapeflex 101, and multiple layers of batting, depending on the piece). It adds SO much sturdiness. I can’t believe the difference. This bag is SOLID. It can stand on it’s own, empty or full. And I don’t feel like if I look at it wrong, it’s going to unravel on me. Some layers were half an inch thick during construction, and it was so worth it. 

In addition to the three inner pockets, there are four large pockets on the outside, perfect for a book or magazine, and my iphone, and all are easily accessible.This pocket is my favorite, incorporating a half-inch hexagon panel that I hand pieced. I can’t tell you how much I love this pocket.

This is my new favorite size of hexagon. I foresee lots of hexagon lunch breaks. There may have been some fussy cutting involved, as a direct reminder of what is truly important.

Since this tote was a present for myself, I decided to make my first dresden plate block, which I absolutely love. And of course, there needed to be a healthy dose of aqua involved.   

I made the straps nice and wide, as well as comfortably long enough to easily throw over my shoulder. They contain four layers of fabric, one of interfacing and one of canvas.

For my photoshoot, I chose to visit one of my favorite happy places on earth – a family members garden. The morning sun and atmosphere was just perfect.

This challenge came at the most busy week of our summer. We had a visiting couple in our congregation, which meant we had the awesome privilege of having them for dinner, I am volunteering 30+ hours of my time to a worldwide education work, the kids are out of school, and we are house-hunting, packing, and I’m going to work full time in just over a week.

Several times in this challenge, I wondered if I would be physically able to finish this project. Would I be able to get the idea in my head out and into fabric. Should I have chosen to make something with a pattern already designed? Should I have made a smaller pattern? Did I bite off more than I could chew?

I literally didn’t finish the project until late Saturday night, after a full afternoon and evening of sewing. It wasn’t until partway through Saturday, that I realized it still had the hope of being a real bag and that I didn’t have to show up empty handed. (Needless to say, I was shaking by this point, and there may have been some tears.) Happily, my hubby swooped in, managed the three kids and ordered take out. And in the end, I am so pleased that the design I made, and implemented is almost exactly what was in my head and my sketch book when I started. I definitely learned some new techniques with this challenge, and it had so many firsts for me.

It’s a recurring habit of mine to seriously overbook myself, but boy did it feel good on Sunday afternoon when everything was done, commitments met, photos taken, and I could snuggle my baby, without the panic that I was not doing something I needed to do THAT EXACT MOMENT. Thankfully, the busy is mostly over and I can breathe again. (That being said, I now need to clean all the things… as housecleaning was not top of the list the last week or two.)

I want to thank everyone that voted for my last project. I am so honored to be a part of such an awesome competition with such talented people. I am also unbelievably floored that I received so much love from the public for my last project. You literally carried me into round two. THANK YOU!

It would means so much to me if you would be able to take a minute and swing by Rach at Family Ever After’s blog and vote for your favorite bag (and if it happens to be mine, yay!!).
I am really wanting to be able to progress to the next challenge (I have plans…), and EVERY single vote counts. If you happened to look at the results chart from the last challenge (link is at the top of this post), you will see what I mean. You can vote here.

Thank you for stopping by!


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