When a project catches my eye, it tends to stay with me. This tote from Very Shannon has been rattling around in my mind since January, I think, when it showed up in my daily tutorial email from Sew Can She (http://www.sewcanshe.com/). I printed off the instructions and the pattern pieces and then forgot about them as I packed up all my sewing supplies and moved to Tennessee. A few months later, I rediscovered the pattern and decided to attempt a tote for myself - the green and white striped one. I was so happy with the results that I made another for my friend Jessica's birthday (the gray floral), and then I bought a bunch of fabric with which to make more. Get ready for a tote-filled Christmas, friends and family!
The only real challenge I had with this pattern is that when you use the same pattern to cut the exterior and interior fabrics, the interior ends up being too large. So when you tuck one into the other and then topstitch around the open edges, you'll likely have to fiddle with the raw edge of the interior piece and tuck it into the seam allowance quite a bit in order to make it fit.
The other change I made was to line both pieces (interior and exterior) with a lightweight fusible interfacing. The pattern calls for a mid-weight interfacing on only the exterior, but I had trouble with interfacing that wouldn't fuse and a lining that was kind of droopy. Fusing lightweight interfacing to both sides makes the final tote look crisper and cleaner, and it also holds its shape better when I set it down. For the totes shown here, the first one in green and white is double interfaced; the floral and green tote has interfacing on only the floral piece.
And here's one last tote I'm making for myself before I buckle down and start sewing them up for Christmas gifts.