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My personal choice to “Re-imagine & Renovate” was this book bag. Not only was it super fun to make the first time around, I love the slouchy style. Sew4Home calls Portland, Oregon home, where we have a huge number of cool boutiques filled with locally designed and made fashions and accessories. I know this bag would fit right in with the urban cool kids. And for those of you familiar with the hit TV show, Portlandia, you’ll enjoy the fact that our Echino cotton/linen fabric choice allowed us to, “Put a bird on it!” We hope you’ve been enjoying our R&R series, which shows you how we re-made eight original projects. We also hope it inspires you to experiment on your own with new fabric, trims and notions to make something old new again.

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My personal choice to “Re-imagine & Renovate” was this book bag. Not only was it super fun to make the first time around, I love the slouchy style. Sew4Home calls Portland, Oregon home, where we have a huge number of cool boutiques filled with locally designed and made fashions and accessories. I know this bag would fit right in with the urban cool kids. And for those of you familiar with the hit TV show, Portlandia, you’ll enjoy the fact that our Echino cotton/linen fabric choice allowed us to, “Put a bird on it!” We hope you’ve been enjoying our R&R series, which shows you how we re-made eight original projects. We also hope it inspires you to experiment on your own with new fabric, trims and notions to make something old new again.

A big thanks to our friends, and Shopping Directory retailer, Fabric.com for co-sponsoring the series and providing all the fabric for today’s Re-imagine & Renovate project. We created many projects with Fabric.com last year, and never failed to be inspired by their selection. Their motto is: “The place to go when you sew,” but we’d like to add, “The place to go when you sew… or when you just need a really good dose of inspiration for your next project because you know you’ll find it and be able to order it right away.” They’ll probably think that’s too long for a new motto.

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The exterior of our new bag is done in a cotton/linen canvas blend from the 2010 Echino collection from Kokka Fabrics. Designed by Etsuko Furuya, this retro medallion print is called Bonbon Green. The lining is a Natural cotton from Moda’s Bella Solids collection. We selected natural, stone-look buttons, and a soft suede cord for the closure with cheeky orange lampwork accent beads.

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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 Portlandia -inspired book bag, go to the original tutorial.

We made no changes to the instructions when making the new bag, however, if you use a directional print as we did and cut the main body of the bag as one piece, you will end up with an upside down motif on one side. This is because the bag is folded rather than seamed along the bottom. Since our directional print was subtle and the birds are already a bit random, we were okay with this. But if you choose a strong directional design, you’ll be happier if you adapt the pattern to include a bottom seam. To do this, rather than cutting ONE 15½” wide x 36½” tall rectangle for the bag body. Cut TWO pieces at 15½” wide x 18¾”. Rotate the pieces so they are both running correctly from top to bottom, then stitch the two pieces together with a ½” seam allowance along what will be the BOTTOM 15½” side of each to create your finished 15½” wide x 36½” tall rectangle. Press the seam open, and continue through the original instructions as-is.

Back to School: The Perfect Slouchy Book Bag

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