One of my aims for this year is to sew from my stash fabrics. Well I have had a really cool ‘technical fabric’ remnant from Fabric Godmother sitting around for perhaps a year, and I thought it was high time that I gave sewing with it a go. This fabric is slightly waterproof, but still moves and feels like fabric rather than plastic, so I thought that a fairly practical tote bag would be a good option.
I have had a Seamwork subscription for a while, and so had a couple of credits to use. The Madrid bag seemed to be a pretty straightforward option for my first attempt at making a bag since making a drawstring one in year 9 textiles! All the pattern pieces are basically rectangles, so it really is a beginner friendly option.
The Seamwork Madrid pattern is designed to be sewn with a couple of contrasting outer fabrics, and a lining. I didn’t have two different waterproof fabrics, but I did have some cotton twill left over from Matt’s waistcoat last year which co-ordinated well. I chose two basic polycottons for the lining, so that I could make the pocket out of a contrast colour too.
This all went together very smoothly. I couldn’t find any bag handles that I liked online as suggested in the instructions, so I just made my own from some d-rings and a length of wedding. This way you can choose exactly how long you would like the straps to be too.
This tote bag is not quite an empty shell like some are, and I thought that it would be nice to be able to take it without a handbag sometimes. I hate it when my keys and phone get lost in the bottom of a bag though, so I divided the internal pocket to be ‘phone-sized’ and added a little hook to clip onto a key. The finished bag looks pretty good. Not all of my topstitching is a neat as I would like, but I don’t think most people will be looking that closely.
It is a bit floppy, so if I make some more in similar fabrics I think I will need to add some interfacing to the outer bag pieces to make them seem a bit more robust. It might not be helping that the cotton twill at the top is slightly heavier weight than the floral fabric at the bottom of the bag, but I didn’t want to put them the other way up because I thought you are more likely to put a bag down on a slightly damp surface than brush up against one at the top of the bag. I can see more of these bags in my future.