I'll be the first to admit, that my self imposed "Tote-A-Month" resolution has come to a standstill. Well, until this week. This week I have been forced to stay home for much of the time, due to the ever frustrating stomach virus. While this would have normally put an extreme dent in my running about, this week it was quite welcome. I set off "full steam ahead" to meet my self imposed deadline.

The first tote I tackled was The Daydream Tote which you can find here.
This was a medium sized tote with handles and two interior pockets. It is a lengthy printout but has wonderful photos and descriptions. It calls for the use of fusible fleece and sews up quickly in just over 2 hours.

I had decided early on that the totes for the months of March and April would be made for Teacher's as end of the year gifts. That being said, I have accumulated a substantial amount of Teacher themed fabrics. This particular tote was done with black and white school fabric with a bright green interior lining.

The second tote I made was The Easy, Breezy Tote from allpeoplequilt.com. This is a cute bag in the picture. However, I think my choice of fabrics doesn't show it off effectively. I found this tote quite frustrating. I believe this has much to do with the number of totes I have made in the past. That is to say, there are much easier ways to do things and this pattern did not utilize them.

One fact that annoyed me was the designers use of heavy weight fusible interfacing. I find it irritating and difficult to work with. Plus, I don't know how this holds up in the long run, say after 25 runs through the washer? The pattern called for the interfacing to be placed on all pieces except the handles. This baffled me because it seems the handles could benefit from this stabilization. Especially if one were to load the tote with library books.

It is a larger design than the first tote and has 4 internal pockets instead of 2. If I choose to make this bag again I would "adapt" this bag to my sewing habits. First, I would use either batting, and quilt it heavily or use fusible fleece. Secondly, I would not place interfacing on the internal pockets. I would most certainly leave out the binding that was called for sealing the raw edge of the pockets. Flipping the pocket end for end and seaming the raw edge into the bottom of the bag makes for a much quicker project. Third I would use some type of stabilization for the handles Incidentally neither bag has any reinforcement used on the handles. Fourth, and totally a personal preference, I would make the top strip of the exterior of the bag the same as the bottom as shown in the pattern. I think the bag looks top-heavy for lack of a better word.

In the end I think the teachers will be pleased and hopefully touched by these handmade gifts.
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