Tall tote from a tea towel

I got given this tea towel for Christmas by one of my sisters. Within minutes of receiving and admiring the art work of my niece and her classmates, I thought of making a bag or something out of it rather than add it to the stash of cloths which will be wiped over my damp crockery and pans.


I noticed that A’s self portrait was roughly in the centre of one half the tea towel. I cut the two ends of the tea towel off for the handles and trimmed the remaining side to the same size as the first side of the bag, giving me the following pieces:

I then constructed the handles by folding the handle pieces in half lengthways and sewing along the long edges with a 1/4 inch seam – this was the perfect amount to get the hand prints of the border squarely on one side of the handle. I then turned the handles to the right side, with my trusty rouleau loop turner. Neatening the ends had already been done for me:

I then noticed something uncanny on the unused scrap of tea towel:

There is a kid in a small corner of this country with my nickname and similar length hairstyle (as well as dimples – which I also have). Thanks for the portrait Kitty – you don’t mind if I borrow do you? Cheers. Of course, if I wasn’t being lazy I could have got a blank scrap of the tea towel and drawn my own but it wouldn’t have been as half as cute.

I then found a some scraps of felt and fusible webbing and then created 1/2 inch frames which would border A’s & my (ahem) portraits. I cut out the centre with straight scissors and the outside edge with a pair of deckled edge paper scissors. (though I used pinking shears for the second frame)


I then ironed on the blue frame round A’s conveniently placed self-portrait, and placed my portrait with some extra fusible web over a little kid who probably has freckles but who looks like they may have had chicken pox that week (or hitting the teenage acne years a little early). I topstitched round with some contrasting thread in red.

I then got on with constructing the bag: sewing up the bottom and edges, neatening where necessary and squaring off the corners.
I then turned over the top inch of the bag (again, the neatening had been done for me) and attached the handles:
Giving me a tall tote. Suitable for my dancing shoes for Monday’s lessons or for large bottles of soda pop and baguettes when I visit the shops.


Oh yeah, K, the tea towel you gave me? It’s given M some VERY BAD* ideas and will be doctored shortly – watch this space.

*no we do NOT do the washing up – even if we have to.

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