I got a new-to-me sewing machine the other day, a Kenmore 158.19802, but that is a story for another day. However, it needed to be used, and I needed something fun to do that wouldn’t make me nuts. My sewing student likes to make stuff, like pillow cases and stuffed felt tomatoes, and me, I have never done anything with my sewing except make clothes. Because her thinking patterns aren’t mine, I decided to think outside of my box, and looked for something free, and useful. Voila! The Pleated Tote by Artsy Crafty Babe.
This is a free pattern, and it is really well-designed. It looks good, has great directions, and with sale material, didn’t cost me more than $10.00 and some time. And, I got to see how the new-to-me-machine works (very nicely!). The pattern is all in the PDF file, ready to be cut out!
What I did differently from the original pattern is to double the length of the straps – I like long ones, so I can wear the bag diagonally if necessary, or knot up the straps if I want shorter handles.
A few other things I did was to interface the material and the lining with fusible lightweight pellon, clip the corners and curves, and made sure the darts of the lining and the outside of the bag were sewn to lay in opposite directions to keep the thickness of the material as minimal as possible. Nice details, such as inside pockets, a button loop, and gentle curves, make this bag a winner.
Construction directions were clear – and if I had not read them I would not have done it right. You sew the lining and body together, right sides together, and get this.
Through an opening left in the lining, you pull the bag right side out!
The material itself is a bit heavier than calico-weight cotton, sort of a lightweight upholstery, but not a duck. It is 100% cotton, and although dry cleaning is recommended, I washed the material in hot water and dried it on hot – I like to shrink anything I know is going to go into the washing machine. (I don’t know anyone who would dry clean a purse!) I needed about 2 yards of material, and the stuff I used was 60 inches wide. The body of the purse and the lining match, as do the pockets. Because I wanted a bit of body to the overall purse, I decided on the interfacing for the lining and external part of the purse, and am glad I did – lightweight, but not shapeless.