The stark beauty of the rugged landscape of a lava field in Hawaii Volcano National Park.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A new handle on things.

I love tote bags.  They can go anywhere.  To the beach, shopping, overnight stays, to the gym, school, work (lunch bag) as a baby bag, just to name a few.
I've been having a hankering to design and sew me up a new tote bag for a long time.  Not that I needed a new one.  I have  a lot of totes.  I just love the challenge of creating something new.  I know - most people would be perfectly fine buying a ready made pattern - no, not I.  This is my weird side, the stress of challenging myself to make a pattern that I have in my head.
So, I took a old square-bottomed tote to get the measurement for the body of the tote.  Shifted the handles from the sides to the front and back.  Rounded the edge between the handle and the body, so it's not just a square bag with handles.  Then I took an old leather handbag and measured the elongated oval shaped bottom.  And I gathered the bottom of the tote body, gathered it up and sewed it to the oval bottom and VOILA!  (I love the word voila.)  A stylish tote bag, fully lined with a inner pocket.  Oh!  I added a drawstring pouch that I can insert a folded tote bag into it or use as a separate bag.
What I really love about this tote bag is that I can sling it on my shoulder and have the ability to look in the tote bag without needing to take it off my shoulder.  I can carry a lot without it being cumbersome.  I can also put my wallet in the large pocket and go for a quickie to the grocery store for small purchases.  Carrying both a purse or handbag and slinging the tote bag on my shoulder is no problem for me.
I made 5 of them before I decided to take pics.  I have 2 for myself (without the drawstring pouch)  made from old fabrics that I use to carry my lunch in. These 2 were the "test" totes. The other 3 were for a contract from a friend who saw me carrying one of the "test" totes.

I call them the 'Any Kine Tote Bags'.  Any Kine is a Hawaiian pidgin for anything or any kind.

Here they are!

Sienna, tan and white on black cotton/poly fabric

going into the drawstring pouch

closed up

tropical barkcloth 

2 sets made with vintage barkcloth from the early to mid 70's.

Mr. Gateway aka Crooked-ah (for his very crooked tail) pronounced with a japanese accent  croak -keed-aah.  He was given his alias name by my ex-mother-in-law who is originally from Kyoto, Japan.

Crooked-ah was very curious of my picture taking and followed me everywhere although he doesn't let us touch him and he doesn't like the rest of the cats.  My ex-sister-in-law has several on the property.

hanging on a macadamia nut tree next to spanish moss.
in the front yard

on cut Norfolk Pine logs
 I'm getting ready to cut another bag that I will be donating to the Conservation Council for Hawai'i.  They will be having their Annual Membership Meeting and silent auction on October 1st.  I can't decide between two fabrics to use.  With only a week before the event I need to choose the fabric soon.
The 2 choices are:

1) A vintage (late 60's - early 70's)  barkcloth which has very large orange and black bamboo motif on a white background.  I need to find a coordinating lining fabric for this one.

2) A modern barkcloth design with pink and white lehua leaves and flowers and tan colored palm leaves on a black background. I also need to find and coordinating lining.

 Which fabric do you think I'll pick?  Which one would you pick?  I'll let you know.

See you soon.

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