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!!!