Scavenger Hunt

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Tea Towel Tote

Hello All!

Well, it's half term and I have another lurgy, which is of course, what happens to us school people.  I'm all blocked up and sinusy, the sort when you lean forward, your head hurts. 
I'm trying not to let it get in may way. 

I promised myself a sewing day.   I can sew in straight lines and am of the generation that were taught how to sew in secondary school.  I made dresses for Miss Clicky when she was little but I don't really use my machine much these days.   I've been trawling Pinterest for bag patterns over the last few months and have pinned more bags than I can possibly do.  I had fabric (more about that later) but nothing suitable for the handles so I popped down to Favourite Fabrics in Gloucester.  They are an eBay shop but open to the public from 8.00am-4.00pm, Monday to Friday.

They had lots of lovely fabric (sorry for the rubbish photos the lights were very bright)

and lots of lovely ribbons, tapes and bias binding.
I bought this selection of fat quarters 
and some plain webbing for bag handles.
 And onto my bag.  I had bought these tea towels in Tesco about a year ago with intention of making something with it.
I pushed the dining table against the wall and made myself a sewing corner.  As I laid everything out Maisie said she wanted to keep an eye on me the make sure I did it right.
I used the Purl Bee 40 Minute Tote Pattern which can found here.  I loved the idea of a reversible bag but decided I didn't want a pocket.   As I mentioned the fabric was tea towels, and I decided to leave the hems on.  Mistake No 1.
Mistake No 2 came when I (very proudly) looked at my bag and lining side by side.   I'd made my first boxed bottom.  Spot my mistake yet?  Yes, both the lining and the outer are made with good side out.  Obviously when the two are sewn together and you try the reverse the bag it won't work.  Maisie gave me a disapproving look and I undid the stripy bag.  I sewed it again and it was wrong.......again.  Luckily it was right a third time.   When I got ready to stitch the two bags together Mistake No 1 reared it's ugly head.  Leaving the seams on the edges meant that there were a lot of layers of fabric to get through.  Impossible.
I had to stitch up to the seam by hand and oversewed the lumpy bit.  The pattern said to sew down the edge seam from the top to join the lining and outer together but again, that was impossible.  Instead I stab stitched through the bottom corners.
Maisie forgave me in the end and even agreed to model for me.
She prefers the stripy side, but it's the spots for me.
I love the way they look together.
And I am over the moon with the result.
I've also learnt some lessons.  The usual one, don't think 'I've got this,' that's always when it goes wrong, don't leave the seams on the tea towels...oh and make sure you take all the pins out of your fabric before you stitch together.  I found 3 pins sealed inside, I had to cut the metal of the pin with pliers,  leaving the round head inside.  I suppose it makes my bag more unique!
And lastly I'll leave you with a picture of the dog, ~who loves sunlight~ catching a few rays on the stairs.
I'll see you soon, as always have fun.

Clicky Needles.


  1. Oh you poor thing! It all sounds very traumatic! The results are wonderful though, so well done for having a go and for persevering! I am sure that now you have your wonderful new fabrics your next one will go really well - no tea towels seams for one thing! - as a teacher you will know that learning from your mistakes isn't a bad thing! The bag looks really great on both the spotty and stripy sides!! xx

  2. Well done you for sticking with it until the end! I would have thrown the whole lot across the room!! Fab bag! xxx

  3. I'm very impressed with your bag and I'm with you -- I like the spotty side out! But they do look very good together. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  4. Your bag is lovely, definitely worth all the hassle.

  5. I love both sides of the bag, great idea. I need to sew more, maybe I will tackle it this Spring.
    Hugs to you and feel better.

  6. Your post made me really chuckle Cath, particularly your method of rescuing the pins!!! Love the colours and definitely dotty side out for me. I have made a couple of bags with tea towels and really like them. I haven't got to Favourite fabrics yet but have been told its is good. Well done for persevering, bring it to knitting group to show us.Jenny

  7. Hi, just wondering if you have be watching 'The Casual Vacancy'? I live in Wotton Under Edge, and have been trying to pick out the bits of Stroud from Painswick...

    1. Hi Deb, yes, I have been watching. I drive through Bisley everyday which is also heavily featured. I know Wotton well, Mr Clicky Works there - no prizes for guessing where!

  8. Hope that lurgy goes away and I know just what you mean about school people...we manage to catch everything!! lol Love the fabrics you've used on your bag, it's
    lovely and bright.
    Cheers, Anita.

  9. This made me smile - I've had similar 'sewing days' like this when a project keeps going my case it's down to rushing. Well done for persevering, I suspect I would have stomped off and left it fact I have done that recently with a sewing project! I'm quite inspired by the idea of a tea towel bag and yours is very pretty indeed! X

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Thanks so much for popping in to read my ramblings!
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Clicky Needles.