I belong to two quilt guilds. One is considered a Modern quilt guild while the other is Traditional. Just last Saturday I spent the day with a group of women from the traditional quilt guild. The purpose of our rendezvous was to meet new friends and create a San Clemente 6-Pack Bag.
Following a pattern for the very first time can be challenging. Understanding the meaning behind the author’s instructions often takes multiple readings before the words can sink in. This pattern had relatively few stumbling blocks. The one and only MAJOR issue I had occurred at the very beginning. The author instructs the reader to cut all of the pattern pieces perpendicular to the selvage. I am well acquainted with the term perpendicular. Being acquainted with and actually applying that knowledge appropriately are two different concepts.
Without thinking, I began cutting my pattern pieces parallel to the selvage. Unfortunately I didn’t realize the error of my ways until I was one-third of the way through the process. I have no idea what finally made the light go on. All I can say is that I am really thankful that it did.
Not being completely finished meant I still had options. When I realized what had happened, the leader of the event was on the opposite side of the room. From where she was standing she could see my look of exasperation. In no time she was by my side offering solutions to my dilemma. Together we mapped out a plan.
Armed with a little ingenuity and a bit of luck I was able to successfully complete my San Clemente tote. If you compare mine with the photo here you will see a slight difference. All that really matters though is whether or not I am pleased with the end result. The answer to that question is ABSOLUTELY!
Here’s my project.
Before we get started with today’s post let my remind you of my First Anniversary’s Give-Away. I’m celebrating this blog’s first anniversary by giving away a free charm pack. Check out the link above for the specifics. You wouldn’t want to miss out on a chance to get free fabric. Now on to today’s WIP post.
Not too long ago I assembled a tutorial showcasing the construction of a Tag-Along tote. Before embarking on the construction of the Tag-Along I had begun a quest to make a tote suitable for my iPad and keyboard. Being unsatisfied with the options available I went through the process of developing my own pattern. My first mock-up showed room for improvement. Since I already had the pattern for the Tag-Along I decided to try it out as an alternative. As I assembled the tote I made numerous changes to the pattern. While I am quite pleased with my finished product there were things about the Tag-Along I just wasn’t happy with so I went back to the drawing board and resurrected My Original design.
My Original Design
This time around I set out to overcome the issues I had with my first mock-up. Missing on the first attempt were handles, a pocket for miscellaneous items and tabs to keep each pocket as well as the entire case securely closed. I also had to address the inadequate size as well as the flimsiness of the layers. Below are photos of my second attempt.
As you can see this tote was definitely made using fabrics not typically in my stash. Since the finished project was destined for my husband I let him choose the fabrics. He was quite thrilled to be in charge of the selections. I felt a bit strange going to the fabric store’s cutting table with a cart loaded with camouflage, bright orange, black and green bolts of fabric.
If you examine this second tote you will notice my first change. Not only does this specimen have handles but they wrap completely around the tote. I felt the handles would provide more security if they were not just attached at the top. You can also see that I added a closure tab.
Here’s a photo of the inside. Note each pocket now has a tab closure. Also added was the pocket for miscellaneous items (look for the camouflage fabric).
From this picture you can see that I made the pockets much deeper. This time the iPad does not extend above the top edge of the pocket. Obviously the iPad shown is not my husband’s. He would never have a pink case on his. For display purposes I used my own.
Granted nothing is ever perfect. I however have plans for a third tote. With this experiment I want to change the width of the handle, add a pocket for pens and use stabilizers that are not quite so sturdy. Well, at least that’s what I have in mind so far. It’s entirely possible there may just be a fourth and fifth version. Who knows what will happen along my journey to improvement?
I’m Linking Up
I’m linking up this post with Freshly Pieced. Go see what they are up to.
I poured my heart and soul into the construction of my Tag-Along tote for a recent competition. Much to my disappointment my tote did not make it past the initial elimination phase. With so much energy dedicated to that project not much time was left for anything else. I did however manage to start a quilt.
I’m using a charm pack called Simply Color. My dream is to finish and enter the quilt into an upcoming show in Madison. Whether or not I can direct enough focus towards its quick completion is the question. It needs to be assembled, quilted,and bound in order to be ready. Cross your fingers!
Here’s A Sneak Peak
Still In Line
Still on deck are these little gems.
Miranda Day Bag
Encore Purse Insert
Time to link up with Freshly Pieced.
Remember the contest I entered? I guess that’s kind of a silly question. The contest is all that I talked about over the past several days. Well I’m sorry to say my tote was not selected. Thank you so much for reading my endless posts showcasing my creation and dream.
The three creations chosen and now offered for voting can be found at this link. If you have the chance, follow the link and register your voice by voting.
This & That Tag-Along modified tote constructed from Shelburne Falls fabrics
There She Is!
My Keyboard Pocket
My iPad Pocket
One Last Look
So What Do You Think?
Isn’t that the nicest tote bag you have ever seen? I can’t tell you how much fun I had and how pleased I am with the outcome. As with all things in this world there are typically changes we would like to make. This pattern, while well written and relatively easy to follow, could stand a few changes of its own. Some of my suggested modifications have resulted through using the tote and some are purely cosmetic. Listed below are my suggestions.
Things I Would Have Done Different
- Day 4: I would have relocated the Velcro on the pockets. Instead of locating it 1 1/4″ from the top edge I would have placed it no lower than 1″ yet no higher than 3/4″ below the edge of the pocket. Velcro located 1 1/4″ below the top edge of the pocket is alright if the items you carry in the pocket don’t have any depth to them. My intended use was for my iPad and my keyboard, both of which are not at all flat. By placing the Velcro 1 1/4″ from the top edge of the pocket the available expansion room is limited. Judging by the photo on the pattern jacket I believe they never intended for the user to stash items such as an iPad or keyboard inside.
- Day 4: The pockets are lined with a light fusible interfacing. Again, the author’s intended use most likely was not at all for iPads or keyboards. The light fusible interfacing provides a soft yet delicate level of durability. I would like to see a much stronger material used thus creating a much sturdier pocket.
- Day 5: The outside tab that keeps the Tag-Along tote securely closed tends to want to fall open. To remedy the situation I would add a row of stitching to anchor it along the top edge of the tote and prohibit it from falling backwards.
Things I Appreciate
1. My Tag-Along tote has been a great way to transport my iPad & keyboard.
2. Besides my intended use I have also used the pockets in my Tag-Along tote to carry loose papers along with my cell phone.
The changes I have outlined are minor compared to the joy I derive from owning my modified tote. Given the opportunity to make a second Tag-Along tote I would jump at the chance in an instant.
Just A Reminder
Now I have one really BIG favor to ask. On Monday, April 8th Stitched in Color will select three of the items registered in her contest. Those three items will compete for the contest prize, a fat quarter set of the complete Shelburne Falls collection. The winner will be chosen by YOU! Now of course I’m hoping my fabulous Tag-Along modified tote will be one of the three finalists. If by some strange reason that doesn’t happen I still need you to visit Stitched in Color’s blog to vote for your favorite. As soon as she announces her three finalists I will send you a link to vote. Stay tuned for further updates.
If you interested in following the construction phase from day one thru the final finish I’ve included links to the previous seven posts here:
Day 1 of 7
Day 2 of 7
Day 3 of 7
Day 4 of 7
Day 5 of 7
Day 6 of 7
Day 7 of 7