Friday, June 3, 2011

A "Very Simple" (but cool!) Tote

So there I was, browsing through some of my favorite blogs the other day, when I hit Camp Follower Bags and Quilts and read Tia's tutorial for a "Very Simple Tote".  I just love Tia's work.  I  followed one of her tutes a long time ago and couldn't WAIT to try this one out!  Only...


Ooops. Yeah. No room on the cutting table. I finished putting the Log Cabin blocks together first (will share soon!), moved that aside, then got started!

I grabbed a BDU pant leg that had a fairly good cargo pocket and followed along with Tia's tute on my iPad.

IMG_2434 Starting Tia's Tote Tute

Man.  That's a pretty crummy-looking flap on the pocket, isn't it? Seriously. All worn through where the button hits - a clear sign that instead of ironing her husband's uniforms herself, someone sent them out to the Quartermaster laundry. What a laz oh, wait!

IMG_2435 Cargo Pocket

No. This is one of my husband's old uniforms. Never mind.  (I ♥ the QM Laundry!)

Under the pocket was a pleat of some sort.  In order to keep everything nice and squared up, I stitched it flat.

DSCN1614 Pleat under pocket

Why, yes.  That IS pink thread.  Variegated pink - King Tut 926, Red Sea.  I liked how it looked on the camo, so I did this, too:

DSCN1618 Quilting on the bag

I couldn't help myself.  Did I mention I decided to line mine?  In hot pink camo?  Tia's tute was so easy to follow that I thought I'd make it more complicated for myself.  LOL.  Even with that, it was a piece of cake!

For the interior pocket, I decided to use a chest pocket from a BDU blouse.  I backed that, too - in a zebra print.

DSCN1620 Inner pocket and backing
Inside pocket; SGT Zim in the background, standing guard

Why not, right?  Then I thought I should do some pink quilting on that, too:

DSCN1621 Inner pocket

It seemed like the right thing to do.

For the binding, I used the zebra print.  In this next photo, you can see that pinned in place - and can get a look at the inside of the tote:

IMG_2438 putting binding on

Oh, yeah.  I added the heart (a fray-edge appliqué) to cover up that area over the button.

Instead of making fabric straps, I used a black polypro.  I also decided not to tuck them into the binding like Tia did but added them after I had the binding on.

DSCN1627 Outside of bag

Tell me that doesn't look totally cute!  And hey, I knew making "strong boxes" on dog collars would come in handy in other endeavors!

I thought I'd add a side tab from the uniform as a closure thing.  I'm not sure why.

DSCN1629 Adding a tab closure

I think because I liked it so much on Patty's bag!

DSCN1632 Button for closure

I sewed the button on with the pink thread, too.  I used my Grandma Z's thimble.  I'm not sure what she'd think of this project, but I think she'd like that I was thinking about her!

Also note the nail used to secure the button at the right interval.  I wanted a little more "give" to this than normal - a longer shank, if you will - since the BDU fab is thick.

Here it is, all done!

DSCN1633 Outside of bag!

And a look at the back:

DSCN1636 Outside of bag

And now... a look inside:

DSCN1638 Inside of bag

Isn't that cool?!?!

Tia, this was SO much fun!  Your instructions were great!  Photos where I needed/wanted them, and enough verbiage to explain it all in the simplest terms!  Thank you so much for sharing your VERY cool tote!!!  I can see making this again SOON, and adding even more little extras!

Thanks to all for reading!


  1. I love that tote! The camo, the pink, the pocket pocket, the heart, the zebra - all of it! Cool!

  2. Now I want another bag. Sigh.

  3. Your bag looks GREAT!!!!! Thank you so much for showing me what you made! You did fabulous.

  4. Hi there dear friend, Got to say I am so impressed with your bag but more than that-your quilting. I just wish you lived in Colorado-near me instead of Kansas. We'd have such fun together and I believe you'd teach me much. Thanks for sharing!


Thank you for stopping by; please leave a comment!