The Knot Tote – tutorial review

If you’re not on Pinterest, you don’t know that I have a Board called “The Perfect Bag Tutorial“. Earlier this summer I splurged on some laminated cotton that I loved, and I needed the perfect bag to make this fabric into. My Pin buddies Jo-anne, Jenn and Tina joined my quest.

Long story short, I’m sewing a bunch of bags. These are my thoughts on them. They are completely subjective and not based on any sort of rubric. Perhaps at the end of this quest I’ll be able to say what constitutes a perfect bag tutorial, but for now, I’m just sewing.

I made the knot tote for my SIL’s birthday recently. My two thoughts were 1) I wanted to use some of my large stash of vintage teal wool and 2) I wanted the bag to have a “Mad Men” style, as she had recently purchased some awesome work wear from Dorothy Perkins.

It is an easy bag to make: four pieces of fabric, about a half dozen passes through the sewing machine, a minor amount of hand stitching = done. I wasn’t thrilled with the results, mainly because I tweaked it too much in trying to join the handles together. If you stick to the pattern, you’ll be fine!

I did put a layer of muslin in between the exterior fabric and lining as well to give the bag a bit more structure, which I was happy I did.

The verdict? A quick and easy pattern if you’ve ever used a sewing machine. The trickiest thing is turning the bag right side out. This is the perfect pattern when you want to make a last-minute purse for a wedding or Saturday night out.

The Knot Tote

PROS
– instructions and pattern are provided in a pdf for easy downloading, printing and referencing while you sew
– large photo images for every step
– pattern also available for commercial use

CONS
– while this is an easy pattern, absolute beginners will need to look up sewing terms
– seam allowance was not provided (usually I contact the author about omissions, but I assumed a 1/4″ seam allowance since it was such a basic pattern)
– I had a hard time working the top edge of the knot in my machine, perhaps it was the excess muslin adding bulk? I ended up hand-stitching it

WISHLIST
– approximate finished bag size at beginning of pattern
– neutral background and more lighting in photos

Next up, the Osoberry Bag tutorial review!

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How to reuse acrylic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sweaters

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My great-grandmother-in-law (aka GG) was a prolific knitter. Not only could she knit, but she drafted her own patterns, like these two above, for her 10 grandchildren as they grew up.

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GG is 90-something now and still knitting. She’s had to reteach herself, from scratch TWICE – once after a stroke wiped her memory of her knitting skills, and again more recently when she spiral fractured her arm.

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GG has buh-elventy great-grands who still receive sweaters from her. She didn’t believe me when I told her I love bright colours versus pastels for my girls, but now she gets it and gleefully knits them orange (Ni) and purple (Lu) sweaters.

Fishy zip sweater

As with all handmade things, sometimes they aren’t wanted by the recipient. And I won’t get into THAT debate. And as these are hand-me-downs and handmade, sometimes those are wanted even less. My MiL saved all of these GG creations from the Goodwill for me, thinking that the girls would want some, and that I may craft with the others.

Navy zip-up sweater

The girls claimed one each. And now, I need to decide what to do with the rest.

White zip-up sweater

Now, I sort of understand why these sweaters may not be loved. They are 100% acrylic, which is my least fabric fibre against my skin and I tend not to buy acrylic for my family as they also have sensitive and eczema-prone skin. However, with a shirt underneath, the girls can wear these GG sweaters, roll around in the mud all day, stay warm and reasonable dry, and, most importantly… they wash like a dream. But, you know, knobby knits aren’t for everyone, I hear you.

Fire-breathing dragon sweater

But seriously, how could you give away the awesomeness of this one? (Ni’s choice). Lookit the gold thread woven through it!

Puppy sweater

This one was Lu’s choice.

The GG classic

So the question is, what to do with the rest of them? The Interwebz has few suggestions from my cursory look-about. Sleeves turned into wine bags or bodies into pillows were the best I found so far.

Cowboy Cardigan

I had a couple of ideas:

1) frogging one or two for practice crochet yarn for Mere and I
2) gifting one to The Boy, if his Mama wanted one
3) using the sleeves as legwarmers for the girls.
4) making one of the Ninja Turtle sweaters fit me… somehow. I so want to wear that to work on casual Friday.
5) make a pyjama monster pillow out of one.

Another GG classic

Anyone have any other thoughts or suggestions? I’m collecting ideas on a Pinterest board, if you want to play along just follow my board and I’ll add you as a contributor so you can add suggestions you find too.

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My babies are big girls.

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Lu, 4 years, 1 month first day of JK
Ni, 2 years, 5 months first day of daycare

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My kids are cuter than your kids.

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1 hour caftan + Innocent Crush voile = breezy, fairly easy

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Using the 1 hour caftan tutorial by SewConvert with Innocent crush voile.
This tutorial actually took me about two hours. The tutorial assumes that you know what facing is, and how to do it. I knew neither, as I haven’t done too much garment sewing, but after a quick lesson from Karyn, I was back on track. I also did the hems by hand, which took longer as well.
The end result was definitely worth it! The voile while feeling delicate was very easy to work with and it feels so light and breezy, even in this 47C humidity!
I’d recommend this tutorial, but if you are the type of crafter that needs detailed written instructions, you might want to test it out with some scrap fabric for a little one first.

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Late Breaking News…Grass!

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Everybody…meet our grass.

Grass…this is everybody.

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Recently, more Mama & Daughters time.

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