Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Winter Fun Tote Bag

Have I mentioned that I work well under pressure? I have? Multiple times? Well it's so true! I do believe it comes from this innate indecisiveness I have: pressure takes that off the table and forces me to make a decision and go with it. With the end of the year imminent, I have decided to focus on UFOs. I was supposed to complete one each month for a total of 12. So far I have six, well 5.5, because I am still hand quilting my Lazy Daisy quilt. This past weekend, I needed something bigger than my makeup bags, but mindless and a quick finish.

Mission accomplished. A winter-themed tote bag!
A couple of... A few ... FIVE (how can that be?) years ago I was asked to be part of a Benartex Designer Fabrics mug rugs blog hop featuring Amanda Murphy's new line, Winter Games. I had such fun creating my two-for-one mug rugs.

The link above will take you to the post which has the tutorial of how to make these quick 'two-fer' mug rugs. I think we got fat quarters to make these and since they don't take much, I had a decent chunk of them left over.

After I made my tote bag for Bernie's (Needle & FootBlogger Bundle feature she did in 2018 (I was November) I had the idea in early 2019 I believe it was, to use the leftovers of the mug rugs to make a winter-themed version of my bag. I made the front and loved it, but I stopped there for two reasons:
1. I knew I wouldn't have enough fabric to make the entire bag, and
2. I had to make a quilt or two for Island Batik. 
Last year when I had the commission to make three of these Positive Flow tote bags, I pulled it out again, but it didn't happen because I went to Alberta for Christmas and then in January I got wrapped up in Project Quilting and a trip to Cuba and another to Florida...and then the pandemic happened.

But this weekend, it was the perfect project to work on, a much-needed lift to the spirits.

The back is completely different from the front:

I used a turquoise pretty fabric from Northcott Fabrics for the base and the handles since I didn't have enough of any of the fabrics for these parts for the bag. I also used it for the inside pocket.

I found just enough (like just! - I had to piece a small corner) of this Benartex Color Weave for the lining. It was originally used on the back of Ladder Links, another pattern I hope to release next year, since I've had the rights back for oh, more than three years!

The handles are secured with 6 or 7 rows of stitching

It is listed for sale here in my Etsy Shop. Free shipping in Canada and the US.

If you want to make your own tote bag, the pattern Positive Flow is here. It includes two sizes of quilts, a baby and a throw.
Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Positive Flow available here
Size: 20" wide x 16" high x 4" base
Fabric: scraps of 'Winter Games' by Amanda Murphy for Benartex Designer Fabrics
Lining: 'Color Weave' by Benartex Designer Fabrics
Batting: Nature's Touch 100% cotton
Quilted: on Avril: 17 330 stitches
Threads: pieced with various and Fufus rayon; quilted with Essential Threads cotton

I sold the pink makeup bag listed in my Etsy shop, so I pieced another as part of my leaders/enders chain sewing I always do. Of course, I never make just one; I decided to make a second Christmas one.
Snow lady (who needs a new nose!) from my mum many years ago

Isn’t the lining fabulous?!
Here is the first Christmas one if you didn’t catch it on Instagram. I love the Cranston Printworks snowmen lining, a vintage fabric from my stash that is precious to me. Both Christmas bags are listed in my Etsy shop. 

This one I made for my sister-in-law. Purple is her favourite colour. The cardinals fabric little pocket was an extra-special little personal hug from me to her. 

This one is for sale in my Etsy shop, another Postcard from Sweden-style bag. 


  1. Such a lovely bag from leftovers and nice to learn that you sometimes need a break from your hectic schedule. You are so productive & I wish some of it would rub off on me at the moment, though we are trying to get the garden sorted after such a long rainy ,cloudy period if time. The weeds have certainly taken over. Hope to get back into blogging as the festive season winds up. Take care, have a lovely Christmas & hugs.

  2. I don't know how you get so much done. Sometimes the best projects take the longest to get finished, love the bag.

  3. Cute tote, and reversible sides to look like one has different totes!

  4. Very cute!! I haven't made any bags in months, but seeing that makes me want to start making bags again.

  5. Ooh, the tote bag looks great. Congratulations for finishing up an old WIP and turning it into something beautiful.

  6. Your tote bag is awesome! I love both sides...along with all the other goodies you shared!

  7. Some more very pretty bags. Love the tote and those makeup bags. You do such nice work and anyone would be happy to have one. Wishing you a Merry Christmas.

  8. I relate to decision making under pressure - when there is no time to dither, the decisions just get made! Lots of lovely bags Sandra, you and your squirrels have been busy!

  9. adorable and so are you as a model!

  10. Hi Sandra! I'd say it's kind of a two-fer bag. One side has a Positive Flow for those days when you're feeling the need to share that vibe. The second side has a patchwork c.u.t.e vibe when you're feeling that way instead. And the bottom fabric is just plan SWEET. Love everything about it. Congrats on the fabulous make-up bags, too. Postcard, Christmas - all fabulous themes. Merry Christmas, my friend. {{Hugs}} ~smile~ Roseanne

  11. You did great getting that bag done. Things happen when they do...sometimes we just get stumped until we figure it out...and you did. Love the other little bags you made...they are adorable!

  12. Congrats on all the pre-holiday productivity. It's scary how close we are to the end of the year.

  13. I bet it felt so good to finish up the tote bag. It is darling! I have used some of those fabrics in a couple quilts. I love the teal you selected to coordinate. Good job on the pouches. They look cute.