Jul 13, 2015

the three-day tote bag

Bigger than a weekender. Smaller than a suitcase. Perfect for carry-on!

Here's my newest tote bag. I'm calling it the Three-Day Tote, aka known as the Tanzania Tote because this original hand wax-dyed fabric was made in Tanzania. I bought it at a craft/artisan store about four years ago during a photo safari vacation. I clearly remember the store and the lovely people selling this fabric. They had stacks of these and I think I bought half their inventory! They were quite surprised. I've had all this fabric safely stored for a "some day" project. In the process of remodeling and moving fabric, my friend Amy G. re-discovered this and suggested it would make a great tote bag. I think she was right!

Anyway... Ever hear the old saying: The cobbler's children have no shoes?

Well, I own a small (micro might be a better term) business making custom quilted tote bags, yet I've never made one for myself. Now I'm no longer a shoeless cobbler's child.

These lined pockets are quite handy.

I love the zipper close up photo... for so many reasons. First of all, I once feared the zipper! Why do we do this? Zippers really aren't that hard. 

For the Three Day Tote I used a 36 inch "parka" zipper with two pulls, so you can open the bag from either end.

I make all my tote bags on my awesome Bernina 820. Below is a great photo of me quilting the bottom panel of the bag - using the dual feed "walking" foot (10D). This foot is perfect for quilting long lines.

The selvedge on this fabric is one of its most endearing parts, so I just couldn't cut it off. Instead I Mistyfused it to the solid border material to make the panel wide enough. I thought this was ingenious - because if I had pieced it, I would have lost 1/4 inch of the writing.

 Pretty thrilled with the results! The Tanzania Tote is ready to go.


  1. What gorgeous fabric! I think the right call was made using this fabric in a bag, and a bigger bag shows off the uniqueness of the design. I guess it was a good thing for the remodel...you rediscover hidden fabric!

  2. Wow, great marriage between a fabulous fabric and pattern. I want one but I don't want to have to make it!