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Re-imagine & Renovate: Ruffled Market Tote Becomes High Art Handbag

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Welcome to 2012! After the whirlwind of the holidays, we thought it was time for a little R&R. Not the traditional "Rest & Relaxation" but even better: "Re-imagine & Renovate." We reached back into the S4H archives and found eight popular projects, then we re-did each of them with brand new fabrics, trims and notions. It's our way to show you how easy it is to put a new spin on a fave design. We kick off the series with our original Mother's Day Market Tote from 2011, which we turned into a sleek and stylish bag that makes a dramatic fashion statement.

A big thanks to our friends, and Shopping Directory retailer, Contemporary Cloth for co-sponsoring the series and providing all the fabric for today's "Re-imagine & Renovate" project. Contemporary Cloth is a great place for modern, unique fabrics. Owner and working artist, Sondra Borrie reminded us the Yuwa Japanese fabrics are in stock, as well as Lotta Jansdotter's Echo.

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Our bag's eye-popping main fabric is from Alexander Henry's Matisse collection - Vie en rose floral dove in Tea. The base fabric is a Kona Cotton in deep espresso. And, the closure is a simple 7/8" grosgrain ribbon in a matching deep brown. Lightweight batting provides the structure.

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Every fabric has its own beauty and its own personality, and how you use it in a project can transform cute and quirky into sleek and stylish. It can even flip girlie-girl flirty and floral into masculine bold and modern. It's why we are so in love with fabric here at Sew4Home; we know what a difference it makes to the end result of a project. Add a little R&R to your list of New Year's resolutions. If you are new to the world of mixing and matching, take a look at these four tutorials:

How to Create A Fabric Palette

Tips for Mixing Prints

Mixing & Matching Colors, Patterns & Textures

Making the Right Fabric Choice

And check out our monthly Love That Fabric features for our latest picks, such as Kokka.

To "Re-imagine & Renovate" your own cool tote bag, go to our original tutorial. The only change to these instructions was our decision to skip the ribbon trim on the handles.

Happy Mother's Day: Market Tote With Ruffly Ribbon Handles & Ties



Comments (30)

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
@ Webbie - I think a number of folks might have beaten you to it... They sold out of that exact print. We did find it in another colorway at Hancocks of Paducah:


You could also contact Contemporary Cloth directly so see if they can do a special re-order for you. Sometimes this is possible, sometimes it's not. Fave fabrics can disappear just like the best fashions of the season.
Webbie said:
Webbie's picture
This fabric choice is the Best! However, I tried your link through Contemporary Cloth and couldn't find this particular fabric choice. Do you have other sources that carry this fabric?
elowe said:
elowe's picture
Such a cute tote and love the fabric used.. This is going on my project list. Thanks for a great site.
Donna Joy said:
Donna Joy's picture
Such gorgeous fabric for a bag, I want that . I would have a hard time picking such great go together fabric.
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
@ s steudel - you bet you can make this! It's what our site is based on: we are all about giving new folks the tools for successful projects. You will find all our project instructions very clear with lots of pictures and diagrams. Have at it! You'll do great.
Rita Staudt said:
Rita Staudt's picture
Love the tote. I am modifying it to fit over the armrest of a wheelchair.. Much needed and absolutely adorable. It holds everything you need on a trip to the mall.
Sharon Spingler said:
Sharon Spingler's picture
Love the bag!! Looks like it would hold everything I need.
Beverly Cotton said:
Beverly Cotton's picture
This tote is awesome! The fabric choices are so today. Very perky & fresh! Love it!smilies/smiley.gif
Shrrbyrd said:
Shrrbyrd's picture
I am one person who NEVER has enough totes!!!! LOOOOOOOOOVE the fabric and need to go look for some!!! Can't wait to make one for me!!!smilies/grin.gif
RKR said:
RKR's picture
I love this! AND I know just the fabric to make it unmistakeably mine! smilies/cheesy.gif
Gloria3133 said:
Gloria3133's picture
very stylish! I like the re-invention of the old into the new. Inspiring. Now I must add this to my list. Thank you sew4home.
This is a fabulous eye catching tote said:
This is a fabulous eye catching tote's picture
I love the fabrics, even the black looks crisp. I would just need a few inside pockets to make it perfect. The fabric choice is inspiring, a great project to get moving towards a year of sewing. (New Years resolution, a project a month COMPLETED!)
Happy New Year
Katzber said:
Katzber's picture
Wow! this is really beautiful. I have some of this fabric soooooooo I'll soon have one of my own![
madme said:
madme's picture
I love the way the choice of fabric can really make a project shine. I love this artsy bag and plan on making something in the near future with this tute for my daughter...she has a birthday coming up...