Sunday, December 13, 2009

Vintage Fabric Tote

If you haven't guessed by now, I thoroughly enjoy making something old into something new.  Recycling suits my nature especially if it is artistry with a practical purpose.  My 'mobility tote' was made as a Christmas gift for someone who uses a walker.  An apparatus like this doesn't allow for carrying items when both hands are needed for stability and mobility.  With that in mind, I decided a lightweight tote bag with long enough handles to hang from the walker or over the shoulder was necessary.  It must hang from the side without getting in the way and be roomy enough to be useful yet sturdy enough to carry reasonably heavy items.  Inside pockets would be an organizational benefit and a light interior would increase visibility.  A removable stiff fabric covered insert helps to reinforce the bottom of the bag.  A blue canvas exterior was chosen for stability, strength and being somewhat soil resistant.  I sewed wide black elastic at the top sides to accommodate accessibility to the interior and allow for a full pack.
 EVERYTHING about this project is 100% recycled.  My fabrics were leftover scraps, the canvas was given to me from a previous church project, and the best part... vintage 8-pointed stars were purchased locally from an antique shop by a friend, which I then bought from her in a garage sale.  I have a slew of these hand pieced stars and decided to use four of them in this configuration as my focal design on the front of the tote.  The person I made this gift for is partial to Depression Fabrics so I knew she would appreciate this tote even more.
Because vintage fabrics are typically worn and weaker from age I used a lightweight fusible stabilizer to reinforce the fabrics.  Stabilizer also assists in creating a stronger edge for machine stitched applique.  I used the buttonhole stitch with a variegated thread that would blend with the stars.  Placing the design on the diagonal and using a dark canvas backing lends itself to greater contrast and overall interest.  I did not work from a pattern which makes this a one of a kind unique gift.  This project placed high demand on my thought and time but hopefully it will make mobility for someone special a little easier.

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