“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.
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.
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.