On Sunday night I finished up this social tote and I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out! I bought the pattern (by Carolyn Friedlander and Anna Graham of Noodlehead) for this one back in early March, and got started while Jose was in Moscow last month. I finished the inner tote and then it sat for a couple weeks until I was able to make the outer portion and finish things off.
I was able to use fabric from my stash — the teal geometric pattern was left over from Emma’s triangle quilt, the light blue chevron was left over from Skylar’s Out to Sea quilt, and the light blue lining was left over from Lucas’s soft baby blocks. I had plenty of interfacing too.
The only material I had to buy was this stuff called Soft And Stable. I’d never used it before, but the pattern recommended it for the sides of the tote and it worked really well. I thought it was going to be a type of interfacing but it’s not — it’s sort of like a denser, more structured quilt batting. Neat stuff.
The pattern was pretty well-written, but the structure of the bag — especially the inner portion — gets rather complicated. It was important for me to slow down, read each step multiple times, and really picture exactly how things were going to fit together.
Several pieces required interfacing as well to add some structure, and the pattern just had a blanket “fuse the interfacing to each piece” step buried in the prep work that I missed. As a result, I forgot to add any interfacing to the handles so they are a lot flopper than they really should have been.
Given that mistake, I had to admit that I would have preferred somewhat more explicit instructions about which pieces needed interfacing. But in the grand scheme of things, it was a minor “oops” and the tote is still 100% functional even with floppy handles.
The toughest part was actually attaching the binding around the top edge, which was the final step. The structure of the bag made it difficult to fit things under my presser foot, so I ended up just basting it on and then hand stitching the binding down on both the inside AND outside. I’ve never hand stitched the binding on a quilt before, but I don’t mind doing it on smaller projects, and it worked well in this case.
I plan to use this to corral some of the sewing and embroidery supplies that are currently scattered across the dining room table! Whee!