Thursday, August 22, 2013

Rachel's Birthday Bag

My niece Rachel turned 16 this week. Shortly before her birthday she asked if I would make her a bag as part of her gift. I was happy to oblige. Since Rachel is an accomplished equestrian and her favorite color is purple, the fabric choices were easy. All of the fabric was ready and waiting in my Stash. I did spend about $10 for additional hardware that isn't part of the original pattern.

This is one of my favorite patterns, the Chubby Charmer tote bag. I've made it at least a half a dozen times, which still didn't prevent me from sewing the inside pockets on wrong last week when I was tired and skipped a few of the directions. (Yes, I did go back and fix them.) I made a pink Scottie Dog Chubby Charmer for my friend Eleanor last Christmas, and last week, my friend Karen made this lovely one in Kaffe Fassett prints.

10:30 pm, and the bag is finished!

I also made a matching cosmetic bag.

The purple strap on the left is a "leash" so my niece has
the option to clip her cosmetic bag into her tote bag.

I had a lot of fun adding options to the pattern and making it even better. First, instead of making it as a patchwork bag, I decided to show off the large scale horse print by using it as a single piece of fabric. I added a magnetic snap to the inside of the bag so the bag would stay closed. In addition to the "leash" for the cosmetic bag (see photo above), I also added another strap with a clip on it that my niece could use for her keys. The green clip is a carabiner that I bought in the camping section at Target. I put the clip on a D-ring, so she has the option to remove the clip and use it as a key ring if she wants to. The cosmetic bag was a free pattern on Moda Bake Shop last week, called the Strippy Charm pouch. I made mine out of a single piece of fabric. It was super quick and easy to make.

View of the key clip. Love the purple lining!
I also added a velcro closure to the large pocket with the key clip. I divided the pocket on the other side of the bag in half.

A view of the divided pocket and the magnetic snap.

After 18 years of owning my Bernina, I finally discovered my edge stitch foot! It does exactly that--it allows you to stitch right next to the edge of your fabric. You might not be able to see it in the photo, but the foot has a vertical metal plate that you align against the edge of your fabric. It gives your project a very professional finish!

I've never made such nice straps before!

After my success with the edge stitch foot, I put another four
rows of top stitching in the handles. I think they look great!
I also made an optional hard bottom in a mini pillowcase for the bottom of the bag. This is part of the pattern, but I've never done it before. I used needlepoint plastic for the stiffener. The bottom piece is removable and if my niece is ambitious, she can even wash the cover. Since she may be bringing the bag to the stable with her, I thought it would be a good idea!

This is the removable hard bottom for my niece's bag.

Here is the plastic peeking out of the pillowcase.

This is what the needlepoint plastic looks like.
You can buy it at any crafts store.

Another view of the tote bag.

My lovely niece Rachel on her horse. This photo is from 2011.
Now I must get to bed! I need to get to the Post Office bright and early to mail Rachel her belated birthday gift!

Pugs and kisses,

P.S. On Friday, I plan to link up to My Quilt Infatuation, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and Richard and Tanya Quilts. If you drop by for a visit, please leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you!


  1. Beautiful bag and thanks for the tip about the edge foot.

  2. What a thoughtful aunt to make her such a cute set of bags! and great tip on the edge stitch foot! I've never used mine!

    Thanks for sharing at Needle and Thread Thursday!

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation