Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Introducing the Strip Happy Fat Quarter Tote Bag

I love making tote bags and selling the patterns at . I just uploaded my newest one there and I've already sold a few. Yippee! Sometimes it takes awhile to see the first sale. Perhaps it came so quickly because it was
designed specifically for fat quarters*, those lovely little of bundles of fabric that quilters just can't resist. * A fat quarter is 1/4 of yard of fabric, but cut the "fat way" so it measures 18" x 22". This cut has the same number of square inches as a quarter yard cut from fabric yardage (9" x 44"). I've been wanting to design a tote pattern using fat quarters and now I've done it!

When I'm designing and creating a new tote, it usually takes longer to complete it than I think it will. I always seem to forget that sometimes what I visualize as the best way to put it together, it turns out to be the most difficult. 

This tote is especially easy to make, but I did it the hard way first and did a lot of stitch-ripping, re-design, and stitching again. But I am happy I did because now it's easier and faster to make and it's a better design, overall. I'm really pleased with results and the little bow that connects to straps, which turned out to be a nice little afterthought! I saw the strap-and-ring treatment on another shopper's tote at a fabric store on a totally different bag style. It caught my eye and so I decided to try it on this new design. I'm happy I did!

Got Fat Quarters?
If you are an avid quilter, I'm guessing you already have a few fat-quarter bundles in your stash--or you need an excuse to go buy some new ones! Either way, this lined tote, sized for a not-too-big and not-too-little handbag, requires one each of 5 different-print fat quarters for the piecing and inside pockets, 2 fat quarters of another print for the straps, bows, and binding. You'll need two more of an other print for the lining-- that's seven different prints and nine fat quarters in all.

The tote is pieced directly onto a cotton canvas foundation, for added body. Divided pockets on the outside are formed as you stitch the finished pocket panel in place. There are two hanging pockets inside the tote--one zipped for security and a second that is open. It's the perfect place to tuck your cell phone or other small items you need at your fingertips. For a different twist, perky little bows connect to the strap rings.

I hope you'll try this pattern and share your results with me by sending a jpg to along with permission to use your photo along with your name or initials and where you live. I would love to see your tote and to feature it in this blog and my marketing efforts as I have several others in previous blog posts. Here's your opportunity to show off your work!

Design Inspiration is Everywhere!
Coming up with new designs can be a challenge, but since I've become a Pinterest fan, I have loads of inspiration and ideas to draw on for my own designs as well as for crafting projects, recipes to try, gardening information, and so much more. I pin every day and I've begun actually trying many of the ideas from my pin boards. Since I think others would benefit from what I've learned, I've started a new blog--Thumbs Up for Pinterest. You can find it at and I hope you'll visit soon. Today or tomorrow I'll be uploading a tutorial with step-by-step directions for a wonderful 4th of July wreath, inspired by several pins on one of my boards. Here's sneak peak of a portion of it. There's still a little time to make it and if not now, you can try it next year! It's really a fun idea an so easy and you can make it in a few hours and hang it on your door!

Until next time,
Keep sewing and smiling, and pinning and crafting, too!

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