I love all of the Sweet Bee Buzzings tutorials I have followed to sew awesome bags (the Brick Pouch, the Double-Zip Wristlet, the Straight-Sided Flat-Bottomed Pouch, and several Lined Drawstring Backpacks), and this most recent one was no exception. Last month, Bethany (the author of SBB) posted a Toiletry Tote "sew along" (basically splitting up what would be a crazy long tutorial into a series of posts over several days) and I was dying to try it. Since the kids and I fly to Texas in a few days, I thought I could most certainly use a cute new toiletry tote for the occasion.
Not sure why it looks so wrinkly in the photo -- I swear it looks fabulous in person! The outside fabric is left over from Toni's diaper bag, and the black on the handles, tabs, and lining is some linen I had on hand. The handles ended up shorter than they were supposed to for some reason (some measuring error on my part, undoubtedly), but they still work just fine.
I used a Vanderbilt University (my law school alma mater) charm for the zipper pull. It was originally on a gaudy necklace that Charlotte had helped her daddy pick out for my birthday present a long time ago, but someone yanked it off at some point. I stuck it in my sewing stash and knew I would find a use for it someday.
Here is the view of the top of the bag. It's annoying me that the barn in the background is clashing with the bag. (Our subdivision back up to a farm, which is cool unless the otherwise picturesque outbuildings fail to match with my sewing projects. Heh.)
Inside is an internal zipper pocket. Yes, the white zipper looks awful, but I was too lazy to run to the store for a better matching one. I went a little wild and used the exterior fabric for pocket instead of the lining fabric as the tutorial dictated.
But I went even wilder when I picked a whole other fabric for the adorable pleated pockets. Really, I had just run out of the exterior AND the lining fabric such that I couldn't cut a piece large enough, but I am just going to pretend it was a conscious choice for style purposes.
The bag is about 10 inches wide, eight inches high, and four inches deep. Perfect for stashing a bunch of toiletries and hair accessories for me and the kids.
The tutorial was very clear and easy to follow. It helped that I had already sewed the Brick Pouch (this is just a larger version of it with some added features and an altered shape) and that I am really familiar with Bethany's techniques and terminology. It would have been even easier had I not tried to sew this while my daughter had a play date (her friend kept wandering in and wanting to watch me, much to Charlotte's chagrin), but the result was still terrific. In the future, I would buy the black fusible fleece when sewing with such dark fabrics because pins sometimes pull through some of the fleece fibers and makes the fabric look dirty. I would also do a better job with the handles so that they ended up the correct length! I can see this tote working well for a number of different purposes, and I would love to make it again in the future.