A few months ago, my friend Kelly asked me to make her wife Aivanett something for her birthday. She wanted an accessory of some kind, and after looking at some patterns, we settled on the 241 Tote from one of my favorite designers, Anna Graham of Noodlehead. I was really excited to make it; I'd had the pattern for a few months but had been too busy to make one, so this was a perfect excuse - and this pattern did not disappoint! Here's how my version turned out: Kelly picked the main fabric with the cute kitchen stuff (Mix Things Up from Robert Kaufman), and then I matched coordinating colors for the pockets. I took a chance on the red with white polka dots, as I was ordering online (from Hawthorne Threads, my very, very, very favorite online retailer), and I got really lucky that it looked great with the aqua. I had the gray (RJR Cotton Supreme in Gray Stone) in my stash already - it's my preferred neutral, and I thought the bag needed a calmer color/pattern to balance out the two brighter fabrics. I lined the inside with some Letterpress by Michael Miller - yes, I still have this in my stash and yes, I will continue to use it on everything!
I opted to do just one front pocket on each side, as I didn't want the zippers to overwhelm the pattern, and I lined each of those pockets with more polka dots:
I love those pockets - they're just the right size for a phone or some keys, or even a small wallet, and having them on the outside saves you from having to dig around for small stuff. The only significant change I made was to extend the strap to make it crosswise rather than a shoulder strap, which I did by cutting two strap pieces rather than one; one in the gray fabric, which I then cut in half, and one in the aqua fabric. I then sewed a gray piece onto each end of the aqua and continued with the instructions as written, just with a strap twice as long.
The external pieces are lined with fusible fleece, which I really liked - the bag came out fairly sturdy without being too bulky, and it made the shoulder strap pretty padded and (hopefully) more comfortable.
The pattern itself is, like all of Anna's patterns, very clear and easy to follow, and the size was great for an every day bag. Each piece fit together perfectly, which can sometimes be a problem with patterns that have a lining, and I think it would be fairly easy for a beginner to follow. It took about a day and a half altogether from start to finish, which isn't bad in my experience. I liked it enough that I'm still planning on making one for me, but I think I might enlarge it just a little, as I'm most often carrying a project to work on and might need a little more space.
And now, a little shop news! If you haven't visited in a while, I've got some pretty cute yarn bowls in there, along with a few other baskets:
And, both the Kaleidoscope wall hanging
and the Kisses wall hanging
are up for sale! There's a bunch of other new stuff too, so head over to Etsy to check it out, and have a great Thursday!