Sunday, December 6, 2009

Self Drafted -- Tote

My sewing group has a longtime tradition at their annual holiday gathering. Imagine 25 women or so, each bringing a gift, either purchased or hand made, and placing them anonymously under a Christmas tree. Each person draws a number (a higher number is luckier than a lower number) to determine the order of play. Person Number One selects a gift from under the tree and opens it. Person Number Two can either select an unwrapped gift, or she can take Number One's gift, and so on. If a person loses her gift to someone else, she can either select an unopened gift or she can take someone else's gift. (However, a gift can only be "stolen" once per round.) I first played this very fun game with this group close to twenty years ago – I had never heard of it before then. This game has become more popular in the intervening years and I sometimes hear it called Dirty Santa, though I have known it as Greedy Gift Grab.

I was very much looking forward to the party, but it took me awhile to figure out what to bring for my gift. Obviously, one wants to bring a gift that will hopefully appeal to several people, but I hadn't attended the sew group's holiday party for at least 16 years and felt a bit out of touch. Finally, on Black Friday, I headed to Britex to seek out interesting (and affordable) fabrics. Well, I had no luck with the affordable part, but I did fall in love with a home dec fabric at $40 per yard. I bought more than a yard, and a half yard of a coordinating fabric, and headed home to spend the evening figuring out exactly what to do with it. I have very few purse or tote bag patterns (I don't generally enjoy this sort of sewing) but I do have a purchased Sally Spicer tote bag that I like very much. I spent some time studying the tote bag and I finally decided to copy that. This bag is lined, has internal pockets, and is closed with a magnetic snap, which I wanted to recreate.

I went back to Britex on Saturday to get all the necessary notions for the tote (magnetic snap closure, heavy duty interfacing, polypropylene strapping, rayon grosgrain ribbon, seam binding). I had spent so much time at Britex on Friday, several sales people recognized me, or maybe they recognized my Olympia coat, (which one salesperson actually groped :) ), but I was able (for more money than I wanted to spend) get the necessary supplies. (Oh well, the kids don't need Christmas gifts. :) )

I matched the seams. :) The bottom fabric is home dec velveteen, interfaced with a stiff horsehair type of interfacing.

Shown here inside-out, it is lined with a black double voile from my stash, and there is a pocket secured between the straps on both front and back. The exposed seams, and the top of the bag, are covered with a rayon grosgrain ribbon, and the bag closes with a magnetic snap.

All wrapped up!

The holiday luncheon was a success and really fun. My tote bag was "stolen" something like ten times, which was fun to watch. I brought home a gorgeous set of handmade note cards.

Next year, I will definitely plan my gift much earlier!!!


  1. FAB-U-LOUS! You are so talented and intuitive with your fabrics and designs.

  2. Someone was a lucky recepient! Great bag. And it sounds like a fun party.

  3. Great tote! I'd steal that if I had the right number! We do this at my fiber guild too, and where my family live (NH) they call it a Yankee swap.
    And since I'm catching up on posts today I'll include my raves for your daughters fabulous outfit and the plaza jacket. Really wonderful sewing!

  4. I'd steal that gift too!Wonderful bad!

  5. I saw it in person, and it really was wonderful!