Tag Archives: bag making

Take Off Tote for a Friend

A birthday gift I was proud to give. Even better, I love seeing it used on a regular basis…truly the sincerest compliment I could receive.

A friend’s birthday was a wonderful reason to make this Take Off Tote from Dog Under My Desk.  For this version of the bag, I enlarged the pattern by 120% to make it the perfect size for a gym bag large enough to hold even winter clothes. This is one of my favorite patterns by one of my favorite pattern designers…the instructions are so simple to follow and the resulting bag is always something I’m proud to give to someone.

Not your typical gym bag, is it? I just love the fabric my friend picked out…so elegant.

At about 20″ long, this is a terrific gym bag.  Both the exterior and interior of the bag are made with quilter’s cotton, reinforced with Pellon SF101.  I used Pellon fusible Flex Foam to give the bag stability, which is why it is standing so nicely for the photo shoot.   Instead of using interfaced fabric for the straps, I used 1″ propylene webbing.  It holds up really well and doesn’t show dirt.  I added some feet at the bottom of the bag (sorry, no picture!) to keep it from getting too grimy at the gym. The only other “modification” I made to the original pattern was the addition of piping at the top of the both the exterior and interior pockets.

I love the circle monogram on this gorgeous fabric…the font is bold enough to hold its own against the paisley.

The simplicity of the polka dot interior is just right with the paisley print of the exterior.  It doesn’t really show well in the photo, but I topped the interior pocket with piping, as well.

Here is the view from the back side of the bag.  I sewed the optional trolley sleeve closed to provide a second exterior pocket.  With some leftover lining fabric, I added a coordinating shoe bag to keep everything nice and clean while tucked up in the bag.

Finally, I had just enough extra fabric leftover to sew a toiletries bag/wristlet.  I used Dog Under My Desk’s Essential Wristlet –this is the large boxed-bottom version of the pattern–and think it is just “sew” cute. 

Took the opportunity to play around with a new embroidery font to personalize the bag and used a rivet for the first time to secure the removable strap to the lobster clasp.  (I added a reinforcing stitch right by the rivet, just in case…)

These bags are really quite versatile and wear well.  The patterns I use from Dog Under My Desk definitely fall under the Tried And True category and they are go-to patterns in my stash.



Bag Making–Outta Time Tote by DUMD

One of my favorite pattern writers is Erin Gilbey at Dog Under My Desk patterns.  Not only does she have an awesome first name, but she writes the most amazing, easy-to-follow patterns around.  I discovered her patterns a few years ago and she is definitely one of the reasons I kept at this whole “teaching myself to sew” gig.

This one was for my bird-watching former-English teacher aunt…I think the fabric was perfect!


Recently, I made two of her Outta Time Totes as gifts for relatives.  They are a nice size…great for a trip to the store or the library.  And as always, they stitched up beautifully and gave me a result I was proud to give as gifts.

I’m not a photographer. The lining coordinates beautifully with the branches on the exterior fabric. The zipper on the interior pocket matches the zipper on the exterior…the grey straps pick up the grey in the blue feathered bird.


Erin’s patterns are so well-designed and her instructions are so well-written and so precise, from the first project attempted, even the novice sewist gets a project worth having.

I love this floral…it gives off a cool hippie vibe…just perfect for the recipient…a very cool woman, indeed.


Both of these bags are made of quilter’s cotton, stabilized with Pellon SF101 and Pellon Fusible Flex Foam.  I used 1″ webbing for the handles because I find it doesn’t get grungy as quickly.  I’m slow on the sewing machine, so each bag took me about two and a half hours to sew.  I really need to learn to put weights in the bags when I photograph them to show that the linings do fit…when you’ve first turned them right side out, they just don’t want to lay nicely in the bag!  Still, this photo show the web straps better and you can see the detailed stitching on the inside.   These patterns are meticulous…the resulting bags have no exposed unfinished seams…so clean inside and out.  I really love them!