Making Totes

David and I have been making totes lately. That’s right, David is sewing now, too! We were at New Seasons and saw a batch of simple, unlined totes for sale made from Ikea fabric and David asked me to teach him how to make them.

For his first two totes, he decided to recycle an old Pottery Barn curtain panel from our fabric stash. I walked him through cutting for size and inseam, and a few other basics like threading the bobbin, back-stitching, squaring the bottom and making french seams to keep the inside neat-looking and strong. Actually, David kind of knew how to sew long before me, because I remember him making large curtains for one of our first apartments back in the mid 1990s. However, this was a machine he hadn’t used before. He was a fast learner, and doesn’t get hung up and fussy about details like I do.

After making the bags, he then screen-printed one with an image of a bird. Didn’t it turn out great? I’m so proud!

And not to be completely outdone by my talented husband, here is a tote that I finished as well. I kind of made it up as I went along, which was not a good thing, in this case, because I think I would have made a couple different choices had I thought it through from the beginning. The outside is Ikea fabric (from the frederika collection) and the inside is Essex white linen cotton blend from Sew Mama Sew.

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13 Responses to “Making Totes”


  1. 1 Sarah Jackson April 13, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    Wow! I’m so impressed! Both of those are great. I love that Ikea fabric – I didn’t see it at my Ikea the last time I was there. It may be time for a trip back!

  2. 2 puremotif April 13, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    aw these are so cute! good job guys, and awesome that hubby is sewing 🙂

  3. 3 Sandy April 13, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    Love the bags…remember your marble bags and arrow holders?

  4. 4 Irene April 13, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    What a great post and I love that screen print! Great job. I bet the bags you saw at New Season’s are my Aunt’s bags- My Cloth Bag. She scored a spot in their stores right after Christmas and has been selling up a storm since then.

  5. 5 leslie April 13, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    i love them both. amazing. i am going to show h-kun the picture of david’s bag. maybe he’ll get interested, too!

  6. 6 nicolette April 14, 2008 at 12:10 am

    Impressive bags! Love the Ikea fabric. Never seen it before!

  7. 7 Pina April 14, 2008 at 3:37 am

    You have a wonderful husband, I am impressed. I like the bird very much, it makes the bag so special. Is it a robin? 😉
    I see that other people also have trouble finding Ikea fabric in their shop and not only me. I saw that fabric exhibited but there wasn’t any in the fabric department.

  8. 8 Belinda April 14, 2008 at 4:25 am

    Those tote bags are great! You and your hubby both did a great sewing job! 🙂 I like the bird that he printed on the tote bag he made as well.

    Who knows! You may have started a trend and we’ll soon be hearing about more husbands taking up the hobby of sewing. 😉

    Happy Sewing! 😀

  9. 9 Pina April 14, 2008 at 5:48 am

    Emily, I am not sure if you would like to play along but I invite you anyway:
    http://milk-and-berries.blogspot.com/2008/04/ive-been-tagged.html

  10. 10 lizlangley April 14, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    these are so cute! i love them both–and that ikea fabric is great! I haven’t seen it at the one here, unfortunately!

  11. 11 Victoria April 14, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    I LOVE the bag with the bird on it – I’d buy that, seriously I’ve been looking for a simple tote that I love, that’s it! Let me know if you start to sell as I’d be your first customer.

  12. 12 lizbeth April 16, 2008 at 7:04 am

    The bag with the bird is fantastic!

  13. 13 patricia April 17, 2008 at 8:02 am

    Another vote for the bag with the bird. Love it!


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