rock the tote: with all the trimmings (part 2)

Last week, I posted a tutorial showing how to trim the top of your tote with corded piping. Today, we’ll follow a similar process to install rickrack.

Is it possible for a project containing rickrack to have a modern, un-vintage feel? My hunch is yesmaybe, but I know that’s not when I tend to reach for it. I like a lot of diverse styles at different times, but one style of print I find myself drawn to repeatedly is floral feedsack/floursack. When I use those fabrics, or others heavily influenced by an era-gone-by, I often consider embellishing with rickrack.

feedsack prints and rickrack

People do all kinds of things with this humble little garnish… Continue reading

rock the tote: with all the trimmings (part 1)

I did not hit the sewing ground running when it comes to adorning my creations. I think I was intimidated for a long time — I didn’t know what to use where. I called myself liking a clean, uncomplicated style, which I now realize isn’t necessarily a conflict with trims when they’re used correctly. (“Correctly” in this case meaning nothing more than the way I like it.) There’s no question — I still come across a lot of fandangles that absolutely stump me. But now, if an embellishment appeals to me, I’ll figure out how to make it work.

Unequivocally, my favorite trim is piping. I like it in a solid color or any variety of print, with cording or without, delicate or chunky. And now that I know about that awesome way to make it from scratch, I doubt I’ll buy it pre-made again. (Well…not often.) I also adore rickrack and the perfect vintage feel it brings to its host project. In this post and in part 2, I’ll walk you through the process of using either of these on the top edge of your next tote.

For the purposes of these variations, I copied the dimensions of a small- to medium-sized gift bag, one of those paper ones you can usually get for a dollar. Not only will a homemade original be way cuter than those, but it can be used for gifting approximately a bazillion times, assuming the gift recipient is willing to pass it on. :~)

The finished dimensions are 10″ tall x 12″ wide (at top) x 5″ deep (at bottom). Continue reading

rock the tote: rightsizing

Sizing magic! The most impactful way to customize your tote is to adapt the size. This simple change takes the same shape from a tiny party favor bag to a large shopping sack. In this episode of Rock the Tote, I’ll show you a few size variations and provide you with easy equations to tweak your next tote to perfectly fit its contents.

All of these bags are adaptations of my Rock the Tote: Basic Recipe. Please refer there for the full instructions — only the modifications are outlined here.

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rock the tote

When I wrote about my orange slice bag last week, I mentioned that I changed the way the handles were constructed, and I promised a tutorial. I decided to attach the straps (and corresponding instruction) to a whole tote bag. This is a fairly standard tote, nothing revolutionary, but it reflects the tweaking and techniques from my experience making it, many times now.

Rock the Tote: basic recipe

Precious few items rival the utility of a tote bag. Yes, yes, left brain, but did you know it is also ripe for endless creative variation? (You can adapt it however floats your tote! OK, I’ll stop.) I have plans to post several of these adaptations in the future, so Rock the Tote will be my baby blog’s first recurring feature. Huzzah! It’s hard to overstate the tote’s usefulness, not that we crafty types ever have any stuff to lug about. OK, let’s get to it… Continue reading