Two weeks ago, I said I was going to make a tote bag for my friend in Iraq -- she needs something to carry her stuff to and from the shower. I'm not sure if this is going to be exactly right for her, but this first one (I'm calling it a "prototype") is finished and will be shipped off tomorrow.
In the original post, I had planned to use oilcloth, but it didn't seem sturdy enough, so I bought this red canvas (canvas does not come in enough fun colors/patterns!) She says it's very dirty there, so I also added the printed cotton fabric to help disguise dirt. She requested that it be colorful and who am I to refuse that request?
The back is kind of sloppy. I accidentally ran over those straps with the iron, which semi-melted them and caused them to shrink. I am not proud of how this ended up, but I wanted to show you how I used the fun fabric on the back and also the small pocket back there:
(Ugh. You can totally see the puckers. I can't even believe I'm posting that photo.)
I made some modifications to the pattern -- instead of one big pocket in front, I sewed it into 3 pockets for her to stash stuff. Also, I added a pocket on either side of the bag, which you can kind of see here:
For the interior, I used iron-on vinyl. It came out pretty well, but I'm not sure how durable it will be. Perhaps for the next one, I will use that oilcloth (or another vinyl) for the interior. I also made a divider in there, which about drove me insane -- I've never done that before, so I had to make it all up. I'm not sure if it's right, but it works:
The original pattern also had some curves along the top of the bag as well as the bottom. In sewing, curves are the devil (for me, at least) so I eliminated them from the top. I left the curved bottom, but regretted it as I went further. I should have just squared it off for ease of construction. Live and learn.
I shortened the handles a bit because she will carry this in her hand -- due to uniform restrictions, she cannot carry something colorful over her shoulder. I did not use the Bedazzler for her name after all -- I thought the appliqué letters just looked so cute! They look a little wonky here, but they're great in person:
If I could, I would sew her up some sort of full-size impervious body suit that would transport her home safely this very instant. Unfortunately, I am not quite that crafty, so I made her what I can, which is a tote bag.
She is not allowed to read blogs where she is, so she won't see this until she gets back. When she does, she can read this post and remember when I made her this bag and laugh at the photos because it looks so clean here but it will be dirty and beat up and very well used by then.
I'm looking forward to that day.