Super Tote Pattern Mod: Convertible Backpack Tote

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

When it comes to handbags, I'm like an old lady with her orthopedic shoes. Comfort reigns supreme. I have an irrational fear of going on a day trip and being saddled with a bag that has the properties of a futon: starts out comfy and slowly turns into a painful nightmare.

Crossbody handbags are my go-to style because I like being able to keep my hands free, but they're only comfortable up to a certain weight or time duration. For heavier loads and longer outings, I usually carry a backpack style bag. So, why not both?

With the wheels now turning in my head, I started making sketches for a convertible crossbody/backpack design. As I sat down to work out the measurements and pattern pieces, I stopped. It looked kinda familiar. Kinda like...Noodlehead's Super Tote!

I realized that the body of the tote would be a perfect starting point. So I scraped my sketch in favor of a few simple modifications.

First change was the interfacings/stabilizers. Instead of Noodlehead's combination of Pellon SF101 and Craft Fuse 808 (or canvas), I used the Craft Fuse 808 with Annie's Soft & Stable. I learned about this material from Sew Sweetness and Tula Pink at Quilt Market and ordered it on Amazon. For the front pocket, I skipped the S&S, but did fully line the interior.

Instead of quilting cotton, I used Echino cotton/linen blend canvas for the bag exterior, which gives some additional structure. I pieced the front pocket using a combination of cotton/linen canvas scraps and regular quilting cotton. I can't resist scrappy bags!

And now for the big changes! I left off the tote bag handles in favor of a detachable, adjustable strap. Using my Fossil bag as a model, I added an O-ring to the bottom of the bag which allows the bag to convert to a backpack. To give it a more backpack-like appearance, I also added a flap with a snap closure.

For the strap, I just reused the strap from my old Fossil bag (mainly because Ho-Ann's doesn't carry the right size hardware). If you don't have a long adjustable, detachable strap, making one is actually very easy.

These changes give the bag such a dramatically different look with surprising little hassle.

You will need all of the materials outlined in the Super Tote Pattern

-Fabric for handles
-One of the interfacing options (use 808 for a stiffer bag or SF101 for a more flexible one)

  • Additional .5 yard of chosen interfacing
  • 1 Yard - Annie's Soft and Stable. (I had LOTS leftover, but I think 
  • 2 - 12.5" wide x 10.5" tall pieces of fabric for flap exterior and interior
  • 1 - Heavy duty snap (I used size 24 Dritz snaps)
  • 1/3 Yard - 1" wide cotton webbing for short handle
  • 1 - 12" x 3.5" piece of fabric for short handle
  • 2 - 1.25" wide D-rings
  • 1 - Large O-ring that your swivel claps can pass through
  • 1 - 5" x 10" piece of linen, home dec, or canvas fabric for D/O ring loops
If you are making your own adjustable, detachable strap:
  • 2 Yards - 1.25" wide cotton webbing for long strap
  • 1 - 1.25" wide slide buckle (width should accommodate your webbing)
  • 2 - Swivel claps with 1.25" eyes
Cut all your pattern pieces out of your fabric. Cut duplicates of all the exterior pieces from your interfacing and S&S. I skipped the S&S on the exterior front pocket.

For the D-ring and O-ring loops, cut a 5" x 10" piece of fabric. Fold the piece in half vertically, then fold both edges in to meet the center. Press. Stitch a few rows of topstitching, then cut into two 3" tall pieces and one 4" piece.

Thread the loops through the rings, folding the loop in half, and stitch a narrow rectangle to keep them in place as illustrated below.

To make the flap, I cut two pieces of fabric measuring 12.5" wide x 10.5" tall. I used Echino for the exterior and more of the brown linen for the interior. I fused the 808 to both pieces and sandwiched a layer of S&S between them. I marked a corner radius with a water soluble pen by tracing around a roll of washi tape.

With RST, stitch around the sides and bottom of the flap with a .5" seam, and clip the corners with scissors. Flip the flap right side out and press that baby flat! Topstitch around the edges of the flap and baste the open end shut.

With right side up, align your D-ring pieces on the flap as pictured above and baste in place.

To make the handle, cover a 12" piece of 1" wide cotton webbing with fabric. I added four rows of topstitching for strength.

Mark the center of your exterior back piece on both the top and bottom edge. Mark 1.25" from the center on either side along the top edge. This is where you will position your handle. Baste the handle in place. Center the O-ring piece along the bottom edge and baste in place as well.

Lay your exterior back piece on your work surface, right side up. Place your flap on top, exterior side down. Center the flap and align the raw edges of the two pieces. Baste in place.

Assemble the shell of your bag according to Noodlehead's original instructions, taking care to tuck your O-ring loop inside as you stitch the gusset to the back.

Assemble your lining with the recessed zipper. The original pattern says to leave a 3-4" hole in the bottom of your lining to turn your bag. Due to the added bulk of the S&S and the flap, you'll want to make that gap a lot bigger. I left the majority of the bottom unsewn on one side.

Now it's time to assemble the finished bag. Stick the finished shell inside your lining as described in the original pattern. Make sure your flap is tucked down within the lining as well before stitching around the top of the bag. Once you've finished that, turn the bag right side out. Tuck the lining into the shell and press well. Topstitch around the top of the bag, continuing just below the seam that connects the flap to the body.

Position your snap as desired and install the male piece to to the flap and the female piece to the front exterior pocket. I used the kind that you install with a hammer and setting tool. Tip: do the hammer whacking on the floor (put down a piece of cardboard to protect your floor first). It'll make the process much easier and quieter.

If you are making your own detachable strap, follow this tutorial. You'll want the maximum length to be longer than a typical strap because you need it to form two backpack straps. My finished strap measures 54" long (not including the hardware) when fully extended. Remember to cut your strap longer than the desired finished length to account for the folded portions.

And that's that! It sounds like a lot of information, but it's really just adding a few loops and a flap.

Studio Ghibli Swap Info & Sign Ups

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

You guys gave a really positive response to my feelers for a Studio Ghibli Swap, so it's happening! 

Sign ups open on Jan. 5th at 10am central time. I will post a link to the online sign up questionnaire the day before, but it will not accept responses until Jan. 5 @ 10am.

If you are new to swaps, I suggest reading Karri's spot-on blog post about how to be a good swapper. 

#StudioGhibliSwap Details

  • This swap is limited to 60 swappers to ensure it runs smoothly.
  • This swap is open to international swappers! Please note that due to the limited number of participants, you may be asked to ship internationally. 
  • You must have a PUBLIC Instagram account for this swap. If your account is normally private, you can either make it public for the duration of the swap (until you and your partner have received your packages), or make a public swap account. Private accounts will be dropped from the swap.
  • You can choice to make and receive sewn/quilted, embroidered, or knitted/crocheted items.

#StudioGhibliSwap Rules

  1. All projects must relate to a Studio Ghibli feature film. For a full list of Studio Ghibli films, check out this list (although NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind is not technical a SG film, we'll allow it for this swap).
  2. This is a secret swap! Don't tell your partner you are making for them. 
  3. This is not a direct swap. You won't be receiving from the person you are making for.
  4. You must have a public Instagram account for the duration of the swap.
  5. You will be required to post photos with the #StudioGhibliSwap hashtag by three different deadlines (see timeline below) reporting your progress. Failure to meet deadlines may result in being dropped from the swap.
  6. Use quality materials for your project.  
  7. Don't be stingy with your crafty skills. Don't make a plain tennis ball-sized amigurumi and expect to get a fancy mini quilt in return. Dedicate a good amount of time to make a quality project for your partner.
  8. Take your partner's questionnaire responses seriously and make them something you think they would truly enjoy, not just what you like personally.
  9. Posting inspiration collages and other related info is encouraged! The more your partner knows, the better chance you have of getting something you like.
  10. Be on time! Shipping deadlines are set in stone, so you should plan accordingly. Don't wait until the last minute because crap does happen! If something comes up, let your swap mama know ASAP.
  11. Be ready to provide a tracking number for your package. All packages should be trackable.
  12. Post a photo of the package your receive and be sure to thank your partner.

#StudioGhibliSwap Timeline

Jan. 5 - Sign ups open at 10am central time

Jan 9 - Sign up close at 3pm central time

Jan 12 - Partner information will be sent

Jan 26 - #StudioGhibliSwap post deadline #1. You should posted a photo showing your progress. At minimum, materials and design should be selected. As an example, you could post a photo showing what fabric you will be using and a sketch of your pattern.

Feb 23 - #StudioGhibliSwap post deadline #2. You should have posted a photo showing your progress.You should have started your project and be making headway.

March 16 - #StudioGhibliSwap post deadline #3. Your main project should be complete (or be getting the final touches)! You should have posted a photo of your project. If you are ready to ship, you can start shipping now.

March 18 - International swapper shipping deadline.

March 25 - Domestic swapper shipping deadline.

My (Modified) Acorn Trail Cargo Duffle

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I've really been thrown off my blogging game. I was in a crazy project crunch in the week leading up to Quilt Market, then I got swept up in all the fun. Next week was Quilt Festival, then I had to finish our Ren Fest costumes before I could move on to my list of handmade Xmas presents. Excuse my while I collapse on the floor in a dramatic fashion.

Let's backtrack to the "crazy project crunch" I mentioned, and alluded to in my earlier MRW post.

The Monday before Quilt Market, I decided it would be a brilliant idea to make myself a Noodlehead Cargo Duffle to carry for the weekend. In hindsight, it was a dumb idea because 1) I only carried it to Fabric 2.0 & Sample Spree on Friday and 2) I think I lost a little bit of sanity trying to make a Cargo Duffle in two evenings.

Being the nutcase I am, I decided I would also make a few modifications to the pattern.

1) I pieced the exterior panels (using my Acorn Trail bundle by Teagan White) instead of using a single fabric.

2) I added a layer of Pellon Craft Fuse 808 to the side panels so it would be less floppy. I forgot to add it the gusset pieces though because after 8 hours of work and several hours of frantic sewing, my brain is running a bit like Forrest Gump on his cross-country trek.

3) I made my duffle a 10" wide instead of 6" the pattern calls for. While this makes it great for an overnight bag or Mary Poppins bag to stuff all my projects into for guild show & ended up being a bad move for the purpose of Market. It was just too big and impractical to carry around all day.

4) I added a detachable, adjustable strap for ultimate pack mule usage. It was a simple process. I just had to add a small fabric loops with O-rings to the gusset seams.

5) Instead of binding the interior seams, I added a lining following this tutorial. I opted to hand stitch my lining into my duffle because I'm not the best at wrangling 3D objects through my machine. It makes me feel like a farm hand and I'm just not cut out for that life.

Overall, I love this bag. It wasn't a good fit for Market, but it's earned it's place as my trusty Mary Poppins bag!

Enchanted Rose Mini Quilt & Pattern

Monday, December 15, 2014

Being the Disney fangirl that I am, I naturally freaked out when I saw the Disney Quilt Swap on Instagram. Only after I got my partner assignment did I start freaking out for a real reason: I had no idea what to make!

When the idea of the Enchanted Rose from Beauty and the Beast hit me, I was super excited. Then reality set in when I realized I had no idea how to go about constructing it.  I treat FPP as a last resort, because I just don't enjoy it much. I figured the best approach would probably be hand-applique.

I added details to the rose with some careful hand embroidery. It really ties the whole thing together.

I quilted my mini with a small-scale FMQ meandering stipple on the background. For the applique, I hand-quilted .25" inside the shape of the bell jar with Perle Cotton no. 8.

I love the way it turned out so much that I was actually stressing about letting it go. I guess the universe overheard because my partner ended up dropping out of the swap. Precious gets to stay with Felice!

I made a pattern to share with you guys since I'm not sharing this mini! It's available for purchase in my Craftsy shop for $4. Happy stitching!

Project Recap Catch-Up!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Ack! It's been a while since my last post. As soon as I was finished with all the Quilt Market posts, it was time to buckle down and work on some time-sensitive projects.

I apologize for the use of my IG photos. Despite getting an awesome new lens for my birthday (thanks, parental unit!) I haven't had much luck getting out to take photos. The end of daylight savings time means it's dark outside by the time I get home from work, and rain seems to be in the forecast every single weekend.

When I get the chance to take nice photos, I'll make individual posts for projects I want to talk about more and share tutorials for. Here's what I've been up to!

Playing with Anna Maria Horner's Honor Roll collection.

While I used to be indifferent to Anna Maria Horner's fabric, her new collection, Honor Roll, captured me at Quilt Market. I purchased 3 yards of the Overachiever print to make myself a lovely Washi Dress to wear on Thanksgiving. 

I also caved and bought a fat eighth bundle of the entire collection since I couldn't decide on which colorway I like best. I used some of it to make a single ribbon using AMH's free Award Ceremony quilt pattern. I'm going to make it into a mini quilt for my wall to celebrate my first year of quilting. I think I'd be an honor roll student. :)

Game of Thrones costumes for Texas Renaissance Festival.

I promised my husband we would go to TRF in costume this year, and not just any costumes: handmade Game of Thrones costumes! We each went as our favorite characters: Oberyn Martell and Arya Stark. They're not knock-your-socks of quality because I couldn't convince myself to pour too much time into costumes that we'll probably only wear once. But, they got the job done and earned us plenty of complements!

Xmas Gifts Galore!

I made the ambitious decision to make all handmade Xmas gifts for my family this year which consisted of: two large quilts, one small quilt, a super tote, a scarf, and a small accessory pouch. Amazingly, I finished all of them before December. I can't wait to post full photos of everything!

An experimental Super Tote turned convertible backpack!

After finishing my mother's Super Tote, I got the idea to modify the pattern to make a bag that better suits my needs. With the addition of a flap and a few simple pieces of hardware, I was able to make myself a scrappy convertible backpack. This was my first opportunity to cut into the Echino bundle I bought at Market and I'm hooked on Echino bags now! (Pssssst, stay tuned, I'll be making a tutorial for this one.) 

Merchandise, baby!

I did some fun illustrations to be used for some cool merchandise. I'll be swapping my burrito quilt buttons at Quilt Con in February. I also applied my passion for hand lettering to make these awesome "I Got 99 Problems but a Stitch Ain't One" t-shirts. If you want to get your hands one one, pre-orders are currently open for a light aqua crew neck version in my store.

I ran away to Patchwork City.

I got a signed copy of Elizabeth Hartman's new book, Patchwork City, at Quilt Market and I'm addicted to this book. I'm using the new Cotton + Steel bundles I bought at sample spree to work through all 75 blocks in the book. I'll be doing a book review in the near future, but if you want to TL;DR version: it's glorious. Buy it.

I'm turning into a bag lady.

Another Market purchase was Sew Sweetness' Edelweiss Backpack pattern. I used three different Echino prints for the exterior and solid teal for the straps and lining. It was a fairly easy project to stitch up but took forever to cut! I'm using it as my current purse and I adore it!

What have you been working on lately?