A friend was out perusing a local antique market & called me with a great find- A vendor had a pile of vintage canvas library bags. These big bags were used to empty out the bins to return the books to the shelves. When I first got them, I was trying to figure out how to make the best of the pieces already available. The grommets were brass but not spaced evenly on each bag so I addressed each bag differently when it came to attaching handles. I also liked the front window aspect of each bag & thought a nice piece of natural vegetan leather with a little design may be a nice neutral way to pull them all together. I also thought, this leather would darken & age over time so it would end up with a really beautiful patina after it oxidizes. The handles were treated with the same idea. Let me tell you too, I took a bag along with me on vacation to the beach & by the end of just one week my handles were so soft & at least 3 shades darker than when I left. The best part about these bags is that each one is unique from the actual wear of the canvas, the colors & also the straps & stripes that were painted on each one. This to me is the classic canvas carry-all that will never be out of style.
Well, the pattern may be the same but every time I make one of these bags, the whole effect is so different depending on the fabric & handles that I put on. This Garden tote was made from recycled ,vintage, waxed canvas hunting tents. That faded gray & blue has such a summer feeling & for me, I just love the lived in feeling of the fabric. For the linings I tend to go in the opposite direction & put a bright pop inside. The leather handles can be removed so it can all be thrown in the wash.
This tote was made as an example for my upcoming class at Fabricate here in Boulder. After following a pattern the first time I made one, I realized it was not exactly what I was picturing. Like anything else, making a pattern can be about the concept your trying to achieve. I changed the height & width of the original & made the front & back pockets 2 instead of 3 which I thought was just too many for my needs. I ended up with a good sized, very functional, multi-pocket handbag which I use constantly especially when the weather gets springy. Bags like this are great for the farmers market & also keeping your goods separated when you’re lugging around not just your things, but your kids as well. For this sample, I incorporated detachable leather handles that can be removed for when you need to just throw it in the washing machine.
If you’re around & interested, this will be a 2 part class from 12:30-2:30 on Thursday May 17 & 24th.
Sometimes there is a great pair of pants that are past their prime & it’s just too sad to let them go. In this case, I took them & made a tote out of them. The fabric is all worn in & soft. The seams are sturdy & strong looking. Add a couple of patches & some leather handles & it all comes together. The hem on the top of the tote is actually the cuff of the pants. I cut the inseams down the middle & use the outseam of the pant as the center seam on the tote. Follow? Another pant tote will be following soon- I found a way-to-small pair of beautiful suede pants at a thrift shop (with tags still attached!) I just kept picturing them as a beautiful soft bag. Wait & see!