NOTE — Edited to share the “last” photo.
Edit — The free pattern for Small Town Charm embroidery blocks is no longer available.
I wanted to share my completed Small Town Charm project with you. The blocks I have shared in previous posts have been incorporated into a tote bag for my friend June. The bag was made with short straps to go over her walker handles, and buttons to hold them in place. It also has ties on the side to keep the bag from swinging while the walker is in ‘motion’.
Before I made this project I took a look at her existing bag and measured it. Those measurements were important as I created the new bag, since I didn’t have a walker handy to test the fit.
I had fun figuring out which fabrics I wanted to use for the bag, making my choices from that one box of fabric I had dumped out and sorted. I really wanted to make the bag for June using her OWN fabric. My hope is the fabrics will be ones she remembers having. While they don’t have the same elegance as the beautiful blues and golds in the bag picture above, they do remind me of things she likes. And, when I agreed to make the new bag, June didn’t make any color requests. Well…you know that I like things scrappy!
I played around with lots of color combinations, and thought about how I wanted to “construct” the bag. Once the decisions were made, the extra bits of fabric came down off the wall, and the construction was pretty simple.
After the front and back of the bag was made, I layered it with Pellon 973F (Fusible Fleece) and did some quilting. I made the straps, and put the bag together.
Once the outside of the bag was made, I chose one of those pretty pink fabrics and made the lining. I added pockets for both sides of the lining. I used the fusible fleece in the pockets too, so it has some body.
Construction is similar to lining any tote bag. Once your lining is ready, you slide the main bag inside the lining, with pretty sides (right sides touching). You have to make sure you leave an opening for turning. My opening was on the side, just above the edge of the pockets.
Those little clips are great for holding the edges of the bag together and keeping everything lined up during the sewing process. You can see the stitching of the pockets on the back side of that lining in the photo above.
Below, is the inside of the bag showing the pockets.
Once the bag was pulled through the opening and turned “right side out, a quick press along that top seam, and of the lining before top stitching around the upper edges. I use my clips then as well to make sure there is no shifting.
Button holes in the straps for two closing positions, and some bright shiny buttons on the Flower Shop side of the bag.
The blue bag she had previously had a bit of velcro tab to keep the bag closed. I added a 3″ strip of velcro near the top edge of the new bag, skipping the tab. I also added two pockets on the sides of the bag, where she can keep a packet of tissues if she likes. The ties for the walker on the bottom are made from June’s stash of bias tape binding.
The bag has a “scrappy quilter” look to it I think. My husband, who knows her so well, thinks she is going to “LOVE” the new bag. I had fun making the Small Town Charm embroidery blocks, and building a bag that will be functional for her. I’m glad I have had a little experience making bags in the past few years, or I would never have tackled this without a specific pattern in hand.
If I was making this into a tote / purse for myself, I would not have used the dimensional awning on the flower shop, but I knew the bag would be stationary once attached to the walker, and I think the flower shop will face out, so it won’t get mashed during use. For myself, I would use a magnetic closure, and put a couple of key ring loops inside the bag to have a spot for hooking my car keys. (Hate hunting in the bottom of a bag for keys!) Because of where / how June lives, she really doesn’t use keys.
Do you enjoy bag making? Any tips? Do you have a favorite pattern that you make frequently?
EDIT — bag delivered and installed!