Hi! This is Janet – Customer Service Manager at ADORNit. I have to admit, I’ve jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon. So far it hasn’t been too much of a time-waster, just a pleasant way to spend a few minutes at the end of the day before I turn off my computer. I enjoy seeing the things my friends have pinned – I think it provides a little added glimpse into their personalities that I might not pick up on otherwise. And I’m not going to lie, I feel sort of absurdly good about myself when someone repins something that I’ve posted.
I don’t pin a lot of things, really, and the things I do pin tend to be projects I’d like to try at some point. Such is the case with this tote bag. I’d seen several variations of this type of bag, thought it was adorable, and repinned it myself several months ago so I could go back at some point and try to make one myself. I even bought a canvas bag one day while I was in the craft store, but that was as far as I got.
In December I found myself in need a birthday gift for a good friend. It needed to be at least as cute as she is and I wanted it to have a personal touch, something handmade maybe (I tend to agonize a little over “the perfect gift” for my friends). Then I remembered the bag. Fortunately I work at ADORNit, where we have the cutest selection of fabrics EVER. The hardest part was deciding which ones to use. I finally picked two from the Long Live Vintage collection, one of my personal favorites, and a darling coordinating polka dot fabric from the Vintage Groove collection.
Now here’s now easy this project is – I started on it on a Wednesday morning. I needed to be to work by 9:30 a.m. and I had lunch scheduled with the aforementioned friend at 12:30 that same day. I needed to get it done so I could give it to her at lunch. Well, not only did I get it done, I had time to shower and properly fix my hair, and I was not late to work! And no, I did not get up before sunrise – she’s a good friend, but let’s be reasonable.
Here’s what you do:
1. Get a canvas bag from the craft store. They are very reasonably priced and come in a variety of sizes.
2. Pick a few coordinating fabrics. (I used three, but if you want more ruffles you could use more and place them closer together or not cut them as wide.) My choices were: 00193 Groove Flowers Red, 00198 Tiny Leaves Tan (both from the Long Live Vintage collection) and 00056 Vintage Polka Dot Multi (from the Vintage Groove collection).
3. Measure the bag from side to side and double that number. For instance, if the bag measures 15” across, your number will be 30. Then cut a strip of each fabric 4” x 30”. If you want a fuller gather, increase the length of the strip. I sewed my ruffles to one side of the bag only. If you want them to go all the way around, adjust the number accordingly.
4. Zigzag along all edges of each strip, to keep it from fraying. You could also sew a tiny hem or even cut the strip with pinking or scallop sheers. They WILL fray, so be sure to do something.
5. Gather each strip using your gathering method of choice. I have a ruffling foot for my sewing machine – one of the best purchases I ever made in my whole entire life. If you need help you can Google how to gather fabric – there are several options.
6. Mark the bag where you want to sew each ruffle. I used a ruler and a pencil.
7. Sew each ruffle into place on the bag, starting with the bottom ruffle. I was able to take the extension table off of my sewing machine and slide the bag all the way in. Just make sure the handles stay out of the way.
8. Finish it off with a bow or a fabric flower or two.
This was fun, easy and fast – the perfect project! And my friend loved it, right up until I told her I needed to take it back so I could take pictures of it to post on the blog. I actually still have it. Sorry, Roo!