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Friday, April 11, 2014


My daughter mentioned she was looking for a tote bag that she could use to take items with her to client meetings.  She had been juggling photo albums, brochures and a laptop and wanted to be a bit more organized.  Once I started playing around with my Silhouette machine and chatted with her about all the things the machine can cut, the idea of a heat transfer took shape.  How cute would that be to carry a tote bag with your very own label on it?

In the beginning, I was just going to make the transfer and iron it on to a purchased canvas bag, but I decided to make a more stylish tote that would be extra special.  All the details for creating the tote can be found on the MakeIt-LoveIt blog (I've been following Ashley for a couple of years now).  So, I will let her step you through the supply list and sewing if you need some guidance along the way. She is really good about step-by-step details.  I on the other hand, get going into my projects and forget to take pics along the way!
I did choose to add a couple of design modifications to this tote.  First, I added an inside pocket to the basic design; I thought it would come in handy (finished dimensions 8x8).  I also strengthened the straps by sewing a strip of 1" wide canvas trim right on top of the fabric handle.

I have to tell you that whenever I try something new on my Silhouette, I say a prayer, cross my fingers and toes and hope that it works.  In most cases, I do a dry run on regular copy paper to test things out, which I had done in this case so I knew my shape was good.  But again, I had never cut on heat transfer vinyl, so I didn't know what to expect.  Heat transfer is vinyl one one side and a clear plastic sheeting on the other.  One of the tricks is to reverse the design in the software program so that it is backwards when it prints through the machine, that way when you peel away the vinyl and place it face down on your fabric it is right side up!  Once I stripped away the excess vinyl I had a beautiful logo (yes, I forgot to take a pic) ready to be ironed on to the tote bag.

I will tell you it took some good pressure, a really hot iron and a good 45 seconds over each area (based upon the size of the design, I needed to do a little at a time) to get the logo to transfer properly.  It took a little bit of trial and error as I went to see that it was adhering properly; that means I literally peeked under the pressing cloth and attempted to remove the clear plastic sheet to see that the vinyl was actually adhering to the fabric.   But in the end, it turned out awesome!
To make it easier to manage, I ironed on the logo before I had attached the handles and the lining to the needless to say, once I had the logo on the bag, I couldn't wait to finish it! .

To make the flower I cut five pieces of the striped fabric in the shape you see to the right (flat edge on the bottom and kind of like an "m" shape on the top); I didn't even worry about them being perfect, since I was looking to make the flower shabby chic with frayed edges and such. I just hand stitched the petals together creating a couple tucks along the straight edge.

The center of the flower is a circular piece of the damask fabric; I fringed the edges by snipping all the way around the perimeter almost to the center of the circle in small increments (again, I didn't worry about each snip being the same exact size),  I put a couple of stitches right into the center through the striped fabric to secure it knowing I was going to add the glitter which would hide my stitches.

The very center is just a glob of fabric glue with gold glitter sprinkled on it.   I then spread some glue around on the petals by just using my fingers, and sprinkled glitter over that to give some added highlights. (My daughter's accent color is a glitter gold)

Doesn't it look awesome!  I am so pleased with the finished product.....I can't wait to give it to my daughter and see her reaction.   It truly is an easy project, I finished this little baby in about 2.5 hours time.  That literally is from start to finish... from cutting the fabric to sewing it together, including cutting and applying the heat transfer and adding the flower.

This might very well make the Christmas list for a couple of unsuspecting folks....Heck, I just might have to make one for me!

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