Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Tote-ally Makeful Tote Challenge.

For the past few months I’ve been having a great time contributing to the Makeful community, by participating in their weekly craft challenges when I can. This week they proposed a “Tote” challenge, and wanted to see how one would transform a plain tote.

I thought I would use this challenge as incentive for me to finally dive in and do something I’ve been meaning to try for a MILLION years… my own textile design!
Now I missed the deadline to have one of the branded Makeful totes sent to me, so i needed to make my own. I went in a bit of a different direction here and planed to craft a simple “bento” tote. There are tons of Bento patterns flying around online, but I’ve found this one to be one of my favourites!

They are so simple to make, but the main rule of thumb is the formula for your base rectangle to construct the bag from: Height x 3 = Width. So for my bentos, the sizes were 17” x 51” and 15” x 45”, plus seam allowance on both.

I also do a final step on my bento bags and square of the corners so they have a base. I just measure 3” up from either side of the one bottom corner (repeat on the other side after), and then sew a straight line across from those marked points (it will create a triangle) and then I press them out.

But really this challenge was more about creating a textile! Since this was my first time trying my own design, I treated it like a rough sketch. I chose to work in muslin, which is kind of like the sketch paper of the textile world.

I also decided to keep the print simple… so what better time than now to use a potato stamp! A go to fave of mine!

I came up with two really simple designs, a triangle based pineapple, and circular apple, each with a green stem embellishment. I traced and cut the shapes out of my potatoes and decided to use a simple fabric paint for my print.

I used a simple fabric paint to make the print. I wanted my pattern to feel loose and free, with not too much strict repetition. So I laid out my pre-cut fabric for my bags, which I cut to the sizes marked above, with a little extra on all sides for room to breath, and so I could really bleed the pattern out to the outer edges. And then I just went for it! Again, potato stamps are just the best when you want to make something feel organic and easy going.

The variety that is created in the lightness and darkness of the print from stamp to stamp is so cool. And I love that feeling of never really knowing for sure what will turn out. You are completely living on the edge, as Aerosmith would say.

So I covered my fabric with my circles and triangles, added the green steams and leaves, let it dry and then stood back and took a look a the results. I know it’s a fairly straightforward pattern, but I’m really happy with it! It’s playful and sweet, which is exactly what I was hoping to achieve. After the textile was created I then cut and sewed my totes!
I made two, and they both which came well. I chose to leave the Bento tote handles free and not sew them together, so I could tie them up or leave them loose... it’s nice to have the option.
 So there it is, a simple and fun “tote-ally” Makeful tote.

And last note, I can’t wait to try more patterns! Next up, I will definitely be researching natural dyes and working up to more complex patterns!