My first retreat project was to sew up two Super Totes using Anna's newest bag pattern. My mom has a birthday and I have a trip coming up in July so I thought I'd make two at once. Mom's a full-time knitter and I know this will be a perfect bag for her projects. I love the size and shape for myself to use as a shopping tote - this will accompany me to the FQ Retreat in London where I hope to fill it with Liberty lovelies.
I took all of the pattern pieces pre-cut to retreat so that I could start sewing right away (I really don't like to do lots of cutting/prep work while on retreat because I will often make mistakes while chatting!). Turns out I wasn't paying enough attention at home either, I forgot to cut the lining side pieces of both bags so the very final assembly had to wait until I returned home! Since the .pdf pattern was loaded onto my iPad bookshelf, I only had to print the actual pattern pages. I followed all of the assembly instructions on the iPad.
This one is my Mom's and B was able to personally deliver it thanks to a last minute business trip (which is why I finished it at midnight and took Ott-light photos before his crack of dawn departure to Toronto).
The pattern calls for piping across the top of the large outer pocket. Due to my long recovery from the Weekender piping fiasco, I opted out of this cute design feature. I still wanted an accent there, so I cut my lining an extra 1/2" longer than the pocket piece. The seam allowance is 1/2" on this bag, so after sewing the lining to the outer pocket piece RST, I pressed the seam allowance in half to 1/4", then folded the lining to the wrong side, wrapping it around the 4-layer seam allowance. Then I used my stitch in the ditch foot to topstitch right in the seam along the front (which you can't actually see in this picture, above!). Presto: cheater piping.
This one is for me. I love the bright red flower centres of this print.
I only had FQ's of the AMH flower print, so I used the linen on the 'back' of the bag. I just had enough print to cut the top strip so there would be consistency around the top of the bag.
Lining of my tote showing the non-elastic pockets. I read several pattern reviews that mentioned they would probably not make elasticated pockets on both sides if they made the bag again, so I took the hint and did a straight/lined pocket on one side.
Mom's lining showing the elastic pockets (as per the pattern) and the key fob I added. The fob is at one end of the zipper and slips in and out without having to unzip the bag.
A last-step option is to satin stitch across the end of the pleat to secure the seam and attach the lining to the outer bag. I like this detail very much!
As with all of Anna's patterns, the instructions are clear and easy and the results fabulous. My friends tease me that I have way too many bags, but I absolutely love making them and never tire of trying new designs. This is a seriously Super Tote and not difficult to make. The zipper closure is not only clever, it's a breeze (if Zipperphobes aren't convinced, it's completely optional - Anna explains how to make your tote without one as well).
Are you going to give it a try?