A Quick Little Tote Bag

Back in March, my friend Laura sent me a special block she made using some fabrics from Africa.  Not only was it nice of her to send it to me, but using the last of that special fabric means a lot to me.  Colorful and vibrant fabrics make up her block.  What to do with this piece to highlight it and honor it is the question I pondered.  Then, a squirrel left a nugget nut planted from Chris at Chris Knits and Sews.  She’s been making tote bags for her daughter’s impending wedding.  Hmm, a tote bag.

Laura gift

Tote Bag Decision

Sue asked me how I planned on using this block from Laura?  She was informed that I pictured a tote bag about the size of a laptop computer.  Her mom and dad recently purchased a MacBook which I set up for them.  I sent the computer home in this handy tote bag from Barnes & Noble that my sister gave me years ago.  I could see the writing on the wall that this bag wasn’t being returned but it is a nice, handy size.

Tote inspiration

Tote bag inspiration

We took a few measurements and before you knew it, a project was born and completed.

Tote Bag Specifics

The block that Laura sent measured 12.5″ unfinished.  Three-inch borders were added to all four sides of the special block.

tote borders

Three sides were sewn together as a backing in a matter of minutes as well as for a simple lining.  We had picked up some cotton strapping when Chris’ totes became too numerous to ignore (she made about 100, give or take) to use as handles.

A Tote Bag to Admire and Use!

After top-stitching around the top edge, the tote bag was complete!  I didn’t even quilt it but I guess I could add some after-completion quilting?!

Tote bag finished

It’s hard to tell in this photo but the corners have been squared off.  There was a debate about the length of the straps – should they be long enough to put over your shoulder?  In the end, we opted out of the shoulder length and I cut them about 14″.  I am so happy to have this new bag that stylishly features this improv block from a friend.  This is another finish for the third quarter and we’ve only just started the second month!


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28 Responses

  1. How pretty and it’s something we can all use too! I never have enough bags!

  2. Dawn says:

    Great way to use a special block! Totes are so handy!

  3. Deana says:

    That certainly does look like a “quick little tote”! I love the pieced greens section. It gives the character to the bag.

  4. Angie says:

    The finished project is so professional looking – you could sell it (not that you would) easily in many shops. Beautiful! And I agree with others who have commented that you can’t have too many bags! My hubby always laughs at me when I leave the house with at least two bags, plus my purse!

  5. A great way to showcase that very vibrant block. Now your practical is also very pretty.

  6. awesome!! What a fantastic way to highlight that block!!!

  7. sewswift says:

    What a great way to use a single block…you can never have too many beautiful tote bags!

  8. That is a perfect use of that lovely block! Hooray for a tote bag that will always remind you of your friend.

  9. Such an awesome tote bag. I could definitely make a few totes from some orphan blocks!

  10. Rochelle Summers says:

    Beautiful block and a great way to use it. Every time you use that bag you will be remembering your friend. To quilt or not to quilt? Don’t have any advice on that. Enjoy the weekend.

  11. Bonnie in VA says:

    Nifty way to put a great blocks to use.

  12. quiltinggail says:

    Great way to use that lonely block! Now you have a wonderful tote that will remind you of your friend! Plus, it’s a pretty nice tote! Enjoy using it!
    Happy Quilting! 🙂

  13. Brenda Ackerman says:

    Hello Roseanne, Using this lovely block as the center of attention for this bag was a brilliant idea! Your bag is a great success and especially a new treasure! I have been in such a blah mood with every thing going on in our world, I have not even been sewing at all. So unlike me, I also have not been getting online at all. Today is the first in about a week, I believe. It is great encouragement seeing what you are doing and the great bag that you made from the block and special fabric of a friend! Keep up the great accomplishments and sharing! It truly does help. Have a spectacular day!

  14. What a beautiful — and practical — way to put a lone block to good use!

  15. Mari says:

    Oh, very nice. I love the block, and that was the perfect use for it. Happy weekend!

  16. Judy Blauer says:

    It turned out great! I, too, am curious about the main fabric. And of course, the lining! Enquiring minds want to know!

    • Roseanne says:

      Good question Judy – and I should have mentioned it in the post. It’s a Bella solid like Snow or Fresh Vanilla or something like that. I used it as the lining, too. Simple to leave the block at the star of the show. Thanks for asking! ~smile~ Roseanne

  17. Brenda @ Songbird Designs says:

    This is an awesome way to use this very special block! Love it as a tote bag!

  18. Denise says:

    Great bag and you’ll think of it your friend every time you see it or use it.

  19. Fan.Tas.Tic!
    I feel so honored – truly. Especially since I knew the ‘crazyness’ of the block was a bit different from your personal style of piecing! And the tote bag is just the right solution to making it a useful part of everyday life.
    hugs, dear friend!

  20. Vicki in MN says:

    It looks so professionally done. And now you will always think of Laura when you use it. Keep up the good work.

  21. That was a great idea to use up that neat block, Roseanne! What kind of fabric did you use for the outside of the bag? Is it muslin?

  22. What a great way to use that lovely block! I love bags, both making them and using them. You’ll get a lot of use out of this one, I’m sure!

  23. Laura says:

    Wonderful way to use the block from Laura! You will be thinking of Laura often, as you put this tote to use! 🙂

  24. You can’t have too many tote bags! I love the colors and fabric — great job!

  25. Barbara Esposito, @TheQuiltedB says:

    Brilliant! I say you can never have too many tote bags. How fun that you will think of your kind friend every time you use the bag!

  26. Janice Snell says:

    Gorgeous! What a great way to use a special block.

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