Now Touring: hack that TOTE! Mix and Match Elements to Create Your Perfect Bag by Mary Abreu

teri • September 29, 2016 • 39 Comments


hack that TOTE: Mix & Match Elements to Create Your Perfect Bag
by Mary Abreu
C & T Publishing

106 pages; softcover print copy, $24.95; e-book, $16.99


Basic Tote  (All photos courtesy of C & T Publishing)

The only limits to the options, really, are your imagination and willingness to try!” This may be one of the best intro sentences we’ve a while. Because that IS the very essence of making tote bags, purses, music, scarves, bags, pizza, quilts, cinnamon rolls and pillows: imagination and willingness! While experienced author Mary Abreu may not have intended to hit a grand slam in her first 3 paragraphs, she did.

Each tote in her detailed book starts with the same basic structure and moves on from there with add-ons and extras that build totes as simple as book bags or as complex as many-pocketed purses that hold everything. Which means we can make the tote to carry all of our quilt supplies to each retreat, one of Mary’s classes, or Quilt Festival. Wouldn’t that be great? A huge pocket for the cutting mat, a place for essential rulers, a secure zippered pocket for the rotary cutter and extra blades, clear pockets for pens, pencils, paper and…oh, this might get to be something big and complex. That’s all right, though, because Mary’s book will take us through all of the steps to make sure this bag will securely hold everything–and do it in style.


Tubular Frame Purse

Fabrics make a difference in totes, that’s for sure. Quilting cottons will last for a good while but with lots of use they will begin to show wear in certain places. (No prob, right? There’s always more fabric to make a new one!) Tightly woven canvas will last longer and leather or suede even longer–for years, perhaps–with some care. Mary leads us through interfacings and stabilizers that make a huge difference in tote performance, giving extra body, maintaining shape and adding longevity.

If you’re zipper-phobic, no worries! Mary’s got you covered, too. Her tutorial will walk you right through installing a zipper with ease.

As we paged through this new release, we saw so many must-make bags, and then when we got to the Zip Top Purse, the drooling began in earnest. This is a bag that will simply make a quilter go all fan-girl with the possibilities. Pull out the Tula and have a grand time centering the design, adding the really cool handles, fire up the sewing machine and stitch away.


Zip Top Purse


Laundry Duffel

Mary’s technique tips really excel, such as her interfacing method for making sturdy handles that will stand up to the weight of whatever is in the bag, yet with a cleaner edge and a polished finish.
So now we’re back to that point about your imagination being the only limit. Seriously. It’s just like free-motion quilting. Once you understand how the machine, needles, thread and you work together,  the practicing and stitching become so much easier. And once you understand the basic principles of fabric, machine, hardware, software, you’ll be able to build about any tote you can dream up.

And of course we have an opportunity for you to win a copy of hack that TOTE! Make your comment below, telling us your favorite morning beverage, and we’ll randomly draw a winning name on Wednesday, Oct. 3. The winner will win either a softcover print copy (U.S.) or an e-book (International).

Quilt. Sew. Live. Breathe

Oh, Q-bies, don’t forget to check out the other blog tour participants to see what they thought of Mary’s book and for more opportunities to win a copy.

Congratulations comment #35, Terry. You are a winner of a copy of hack that TOTE! We will contact you by email shortly!

9/27 C&T Publishing
9/28 Sue O’Very
9/29 Gen Q Teri Lucas
9/30 Patty Murphy  
10/1 Vanessa Lynch
10/2 Lindsay Conner 
10/3 Stephanie Moore
10/4 Katy Cameron 
10/5 Kim Niedzwiecki
10/6 Mary Abreu

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  • Shirley Ratliff • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #1

    Peppermint coffee! I can just imagine sipping a cup while paging through my new book!

  • Karen Stenback • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #2

    My favorite morning beverage is green tea with honey from local bees.

  • Anita • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #3

    My favorite morning beverage is of course coffee!

  • Monica • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #4

    My favorite morning beverage is hot mint tea with a lot of lemon. Actually I drink it all day just add ice.

  • Eileen Mannion • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #5

    My favorite morning beverage is, of course, coffee, but with a splash of English Toffee syrup!

  • Lol Lawana England • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #6

    COFFEEEEE. and lots of it

  • Donna H. • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #7

    Green tea

  • Meta Bonnell • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #8

    Currently, my favorite morning beverage is a chocolate chai latte.

  • Carol Dimpsey • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #9

    Iced coffee

  • Mary Furber • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #10

    Favorite morning beverage? Very easy… coffee! Looks like an interesting book.

  • Donna • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #11

    Must have morning coffee is a dark roast. Thanks for giveaway.

  • Shasta • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #12

    My favorite morning beverage is coffee! Only water for the rest of the day.

  • Marcy Lagardere • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #13

    My fave morning beverage is strong coffee!

  • Marian Allen • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #14

    Coffee for certain, first thing in the morning, followed by strong black tea

  • Beth T. • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #15

    A cold Coke. I admit it. (I know–white trash a-go-go, right?)

  • Donna G Geherty • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #16

    My favorite morning beverage is hot black tea with stevia and french vanilla creamer. It tastes decadent and I get my morning caffeine!

    I am a bag-aholic! I love bags. I would love to win the book so that I can create more bags!

  • quiltzyx • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #17

    Orange Cinnamon tea

  • Tamie • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #18

    I’m a sweet tea girl- sugar and caffeine.

  • Chris • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #19

    Hot tea for me.

  • Aftermath Quilting • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #20

    Hot tea . . . . Good Earth!

  • Carla Hundley • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #21

    Loving all the bags
    being shown. I just
    drink fat free, skim
    milk in the mornings.
    Carla from Utah

  • Colleen • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #22

    Oh, that’s so easy…I can’t live without my tall 16 oz glass of unsweetened iced green tea. My sister got me hooked this winter in FL and there is no looking back.

    Thank you for this giveaway. It looks fantastic!

  • Joy B • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #23

    Hot tea for me! Earl Gray or Downton Abbey Christmas Tea, with a bit of stevia – the perfect way to start a day, especially now that fall temperatures have arrived. (I drink the same teas all summer, I just put ice in them when it’s hot outside.) And I’d love to win this book! Thanks.

  • Jen Beatty • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #24

    Peppermint mocha in the cooler months and iced hazelnut coffee in the warmer months.

  • Lee Taylor • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #25

    Coffee!!! Is there really any other answer??!!?!

  • deb • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #26

    Chocolate milk is a must!

  • Pam S • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #27

    Thanks for the thorough review of this book. I definitely will get it, one way or another! My favorite morning beverage is coffee with hazelnut creamer.

  • Diane M • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #28

    Tea for me.

  • Marsha Law • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #29

    You mean my favourite morning beverage besides a mimosa, right? 😉 … but seriously, my day can’t start without a cuppa strong tea with milk.

  • Judi • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #30

    Definitely coffee! I try to limit myself to one cup a day and it’s my morning treat!

  • vintage barngirl • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #31

    Coffee, Black Silk wakes me up 🙂

  • Mary O. From Texas • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #32

    Coffee, lots of it!

  • Tac • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #33

    Strong black coffee is my morning beverage of choice.

  • Judi D • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #34

    My fav is the hot white mocha from starbucks, but seeing as how I am not rich I drink my folgers coffee at home every morning 😉

  • Terry • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #35

    Cafe Mocha :o)

  • Kristine Clay • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #36

    I actually don’t drink coffee or tea. Though I do love a good steamed milk when I get the chance! This looks like s great book that I would love to put to use.

  • Claire Ross • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #37

    Hot chocolate x

  • Jinger Snapp-Laplace • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #38

    Definitely coffee!

  • kitcat96 • 5 years ago
    COMMENT #39

    Pumpkin Spice EVERYTHING (especially coffee)

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