Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Ultimate Market Tote!

Hi friends!  Today I wanted to share the newest creation for my Etsy shop, and man am I excited about it.  I know I've mentioned it before, but in case you missed it, I'm headed to the Haven Conference next weekend.  It's a blogging conference for DIY bloggers and I am so thrilled to be going!  I've been wanting a new tote bag to carry a notebook, business cards and maybe a little conference loot, and I was thinking something a bit larger than my regular purse would be great.  To that end, I hit the drawing board (well, really just our dining room table) to design a new bag!

I've always loved the ruffled ticking market tote I already have available in my shop, so I decided to do something similar for the new one.  I based the size on my favorite Restoration Hardware tote because it's roomy without screaming, "I'm a crazy bag lady and I plan to take each and every freebie in this entire room so all the rest of you better clear a path before I trample you."  I don't want to scare away the other bloggers too quickly.  I'm already probably going to be all "Hi, I just met you and I'm nervous so here's all the the personal information I can possibly blurt out," anyway, so I think I'll try to at least look put together.  We all know it's just a ruse, but shhhh, they don't need to know that!

Oooook, back to the bag.  For this one I went with the more neutral tan ticking stripe, since that goes with pretty much everything I own.  In the shop, though, I'm making it available in any of my 3 ticking colors (this tan, navy, or red).  I really, really love working with ticking cotton for several reasons.  Its stripes make a great graphic statement, it can fit in with tons of different design schemes, but most importantly for this bag, it holds up beautifully to lots of use.  Seriously, this stuff is sturdy!  The ones I use are about the same weight as an 8 oz drop cloth.  Maybe just a tad lighter, but not much.  Perfect for a well-used tote bag, in other words!

Now, like I said, I already have a ruffled ticking strip tote bag available in my shop, so I needed to differentiate the new one from the original.  One thing my smaller tote doesn't have is a lining, which I knew I wanted in this one.  Rather than the typical muslin lining, I went with a gorgeously textural oatmeal-colored pure linen.  I absolutely adore this fabric!  Just like the ticking material, it wears really well and stands up to heavy use.  It's soft, too, which is nice for the inside of a purse!  Just to add another layer of goodness to the inside of the bag, I added a pocket on either side of the interior, too.


Isn't that linen beautiful?  I love it.  Another feature that I added to this bag (but that you can't see) gives it a huge boost in sturdiness.  I used a heavy duty iron-on stabilizer to add a ton of extra heft to the ticking material.  ()A stabilizer is basically just another layer of material that can be permanently fused, with the heat of an iron, to whatever fabric you're using to give it added strength and stiffness.)  It's so sturdy now that the bag can stand up unsupported!  For a tote bag that I plan to stuff fairly full, that's a really big bonus.  Also, as with all my pillow covers and totes, all interior seams (including those you can't see) are serged for nice clean edges and another layer of added durability.  Each handle is also made with a layer of stabilizer sandwiched in between 2 layers of the ticking cotton.  This bag can take a beating!

Who wants to have a tote bag if it isn't pretty, though?  Not me, thank you very much!  That's why I added the ruffle. :)  I love ruffles; they always make me smile.  They give this bag so much personality, too.  Just imagine it without the ruffles for a minute.  The fabric's stripes still give it a nice look, but I think the ruffles put it over the top in the awesome department (if I do say so myself!).

The ruffle's big, too.  Five inches from top to bottom, actually.  I thought about doing 2 rows of smaller ruffles, but I'm really happy I went with one big one.

So what do you think?  Do you like my ruffly new tote?  It's available in my shop now (view it here!), so if you're looking for a fun gift (think Christmas...), I'd be delighted to make you one!  Really, this bag has it all.  I'm just pleased as punch with how it turned out.  Here's one more beauty shot for the road, complete with my chalk-drawn flowers and baguette (don't laugh).

Thanks, as always, for stopping by! :)

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