In the months leading up to the holidays, I heard, what I thought to be, several subtle hints from my aunt that she wanted a handmade tote bag. Being a thoughtful niece, I decided to make her one for Christmas.
But, I procrastinated.
When I was a kid and didn’t know what “procrastinate” meant, I saw a fun quiz in a magazine, called something like “How much of a procrastinator are you?” I asked my cousin for the definition. And then, declared, “I’ll do it later.”
But, to be perfectly honest, I don’t procrastinate as much as most people. I like to do things immediately so I won’t have to think about having to do it later.
For some reason, I procrastinated on the tote bag for my aunt. So instead, we bought her a laptop bag.
After we gave her the laptop bag at our Christmas gathering, she handed it back to me and asked for a tote bag instead. At least, it bought some time.
I had originally found this Super Easy Tote Bag pattern and was set to follow it.
I cut out the two main and two pocket fabric pieces, both of which would then get folded in half so it would not need separate lining fabric. Once I laid out the cut pieces, I realized how small the bag was going to come out, and knew my aunt would not be happy with such a tiny bag. (I foolishly did not look at the final size in the directions before cutting the fabric.)
So, I improvised.
Instead of folding the two outer fabric pieces in half for an instant liner, I decided to use some extra fabric I had for a liner. I made the tote similar to how the lunch sack pattern worked — sewing the outer fabric (with outer pockets) together; separately, sewing the liner (with inner pockets) together; then squaring off the corners of both the outer and liner layers; and finally, fitting them together.
I wanted it to have a more secure closure than most tote bags, so I added a zipper using what I learned when I made my grown up bag.
I stuffed some fabric I recently bought in there to see how it looks with stuff inside. It fits quite a bit and can be used for an overnight trip if you pack light.
My aunt requested “deep” pockets on the inside. She also mentioned that she didn’t like another tote bag as much since she had nowhere to hook her keys. So I added a loop to attach her keys.
There is an outer, shallow pocket on each side too. Not very secure, probably just good for pens and pieces of paper (and decoration!).
Definitely not perfect, but I am very proud of the bag since I “winged” it, using things I’ve learned from previous projects. It may be one of the nicest and most useful things I’ve made. I was sad to part with it, but I’m happy my aunt liked it so much.