A New Sewing Tote

by Nicole

For the longest time, I’ve been carrying my sewing gear in whatever was on hand – a old black duffle bag, old totes – none of them pretty.

When Sew South came along, I decided it was time to have a nice tote to lug my stuff to the retreat.

I decided to make the Elizabeth Hartman Sewing Circle Tote. I started it four days before the retreat. I cut and sewed like a woman on a mission, but alas dear reader, I did not get it done. There were too many steps (88 in all!) and not enough time.

It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that I got back to work. I stitched in bits and pieces of time and finished it yesterday.

Sewing Circle Tote

It’s made from Essex yarn dyed linen in black. The pocket panels are made using a “quilt-as-you-go technique” in my favorite colors: pink and orange.

Sewing Circle Tote_Front

There are lots of pockets on the inside – eight in all.

Sewing Circle Tote_Lining1

Three are zippered and the rest are gathered with elastic.

Sewing Circle Tote_Lining2

I did a few things differently than the pattern. One thing was adding a layer of interfacing and a layer of fusible fleece. The pattern didn’t call for them, but someone told me she had seen the bag and it looked a bit floppy. I figured it couldn’t hurt to add the extra layers to make it a bit sturdier.

The other thing I did was add a recessed zipper. The pattern didn’t call for it, but I figured that on occasion, my sewing gear may need some privacy. It was my first time installing a recessed zipper. I found the video tutorials from So Sew Easy and A Fate So Twisted helpful.

Sewing Circle Tote_Back

I also went with just one set of straps, rather than the two sets instructed in the pattern.

If you ever work on this pattern, give yourself plenty of time to make it. It’s well written and pretty straightforward, but there are a lot of pieces and a lot of stitching involved.

I can’t wait for my next sew date so I can try out my new tote!

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday!

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Snowcatcher May 22, 2015 - 4:24 pm

I like the modifications you made to the pattern, and I really like the patchwork details. They really make it visually pop!

Ann May 22, 2015 - 6:40 pm

Beautiful work – as always! Love the warm colours in the patchwork pieces…

Karisma May 22, 2015 - 6:44 pm

What a sweet bag! Love the pockets! Pockets are soooooo needed and make everything look so neat and organized. Happy Friday ~ Aloha.

Teje Karjalainen May 22, 2015 - 7:24 pm

Hi Nicole! Your NEW bag is fantastic! Looks also practical. You used my favourite fabric for the strap. Great fabric choises generally. I would like to make this, too. x Teje

Debbie May 22, 2015 - 11:04 pm

Beautiful! I love your fabric selections and that added zipper! I'm curious – do you intend to use it as a shoulder bag, with just 1 strap?

Jenn @ A Quarter Inch from the Edge May 22, 2015 - 11:46 pm

Love your version of the Sewing Circle Tote! And I hear you on the epic task of constructing it. My quilty pal and I spent an entire sew day just cutting everything out! I think the addition of the fusible fleece is a fine idea. Even with all the interfacing and additional layers, mine is still a little shlumpy at times.

Peaches1003 May 23, 2015 - 9:53 am

Your bag looks great. Good idea adding the extra interfacing – I made one for my brother's girlfriend for her birthday (she had better be a keeper after that effort) and it was a bit floppy. But a great make. love to make one for myself

Jen May 24, 2015 - 12:01 am

What a well made bag! Love the quilting patches and all of those great pockets! Thanks for sharing.

Tamie May 24, 2015 - 1:15 am

This is beautiful. Great job!

margaret May 24, 2015 - 6:42 am

what a wonderful bag and well worth the time taken to make it, I bet it gets lots of comments when you are out and about

pandchintz May 24, 2015 - 10:21 pm

Great bag Nicole.

Elizabeth May 25, 2015 - 8:34 am

great..hartelijke groet uit Nederland.

John Carter May 28, 2015 - 10:27 am

You have done a great job. I will definitely dig it and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this site. best sewing machine for quilting

melissa May 28, 2015 - 4:13 pm

Love it! I have this pattern but have been too intimidated by the length of the pattern to do one yet – you've inspired me!

Lisa E May 30, 2015 - 10:38 pm

NICE! Your bag is beautiful (and beautifully photographed). Thank you for the details on your modifications.

Francine June 16, 2015 - 10:58 pm

This is really gorgeous! I'll bet you are styling around town carrying your sharp new tote!!

Rochelle Rosales January 29, 2016 - 11:03 pm

I am dying to make this bag. Any chance you (or anyone) would be willing to sell your pattern?

mamalovequilts@gmail.com February 2, 2016 - 1:07 pm

Hi Rochelle,
It's a great pattern! Unfortunately Elizabeth Hartman has retired it. I encourage you to contact her directly through her website about obtaining the pattern. Thank you for understanding as I respect her copyright on the pattern. For more on that, please visit her website: http://www.ohfransson.com/terms-and-conditions.

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