Hello!

I know I disappeared. What can I say? Oh yes, SUMMER. That is it. I feel like I could go on about what we have been doing (a whole lot of just living) and where we have been (Vancouver! Alaska! New York City!), but I am just going to jump in with a finished project with plans of more finished projects to come. Sound good?

Puffy tote by hosue on hill road

Back in June, my sister-in-law, Georgia, sent me the link to Purl Soho's Puffy Tote in Nani Iro Quilted Double Gauze with a little hinting about maybe making one of those. I am pretty certain that she wasn't looking for that exact fabric, but just a puffy tote. Knowing how dreamy, light and soft the double gauze is, I decided to try Purl's version first. And by try it it, I mean that I ordered the fabric in 7 different prints. Ha!

When the fabric arrived, I read the tutorial and knew that if I was going to make this bag happen, the bias tape it calls for would not. That seemed like too much fussiness for me. I cut the fabric in the size as indicated EXCEPT I made sure that the quilting lines were evenly spaced at the top and bottom so that the quilting would match up on the side seams. I am particular this way – if I can match a pattern, I do. Next, I ran top and bottom edges of the fabric through my serger and then sewed the side seams using the serger. This finished all the raw edges and made the need for the bias tape obsolete. (You could do this with a zig zag or overlock stitch on your regular sewing machine if you don't have a serger!) I followed Purl's tutorial for making the gusset, just sewing those with my regular sewing machine. For the top edge, I folded the fabric along the top quilting line towards the inside and pinned in place. Then, on the outside of the bag, I sewed in the ditch of the next quilting line. (You can see this in the photo of the pocket below). Finally, I sewed some 25" leather handles on and called it good.

Bag pocket by house on hill road

The first bag (yellow and gray above) made didn't have a pocket. The next one does! This one I made in the same way, except that before I sewed down the top edge, I slid a zippered pocket under it and then sewed it all down together. The pocket is one piece of fabric with a zipper inserted in it so it becomes a tube. I then pressed it flat so the zipper was towards the top of the pocket and finished the sides with some binding. Fairly easy, all done by machine, including the binding. I think it makes for a much more functional bag.

Puffy tote bag by house on hill road

The pocketed one was gifted to my friend Marcia for her birthday. It just screams summer to me! I still have to put the finishing touches on the remaining five, but I hope to finish those up in the next week or so. Or maybe after the Olympics…I love a good excuse to watch TV and knit or do some hand work.

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