I make tote bags for several reasons. The first stems from my quest for the perfect “Bible Study Tote Bag”. I have tried every different variety of bag that I could find at Goodwill – back packs, small & large totes, zippered or open or snapped or buckled, messenger bags, recycled gift bags. But I could not find the “perfect” one for me. These are my requirements:
- Bible (always)
- Bible Study book (sometimes)
- Notebook / journal (sometimes)
- Laptop or ipad (sometimes)
- Place to put phone and keys so I can find them when it’s time to go
- Place to put pens and pencils so I don’t end up with 5,000 in the bottom of the bag
- Enough room for 1-3 diet cokes (depending on the Bible study!)
I could never find one that met all these criteria (and didn’t cost a fortune). That’s why I searched Goodwill and yard sales. You can ask my kids, we had at least 15 different tote bags hanging on the wall in the basement stairway when they were growing up.
So I finally decided to make my own exactly the way I wanted it. But I’m cheap. After perusing the fabrics at Joanne’s I decided it would not be cost-effective to actually make the bag. In fact, I could get Vera Bradley for the cost and it would probably be prettier, better made and with better quality fabrics. I was sad.
I chucked that idea and just used my ratty old tote bags for a while longer, annoyed. Then I was in Goodwill and saw this fantastic orange boiled wool XXL Coldwater Creek jacket. Now I’m not XXL, I can’t wear orange and boiled wool is what my grandmother always wore. But I couldn’t stop admiring the fabric (and the price – $3.99) so I bought it, took it home, cut it up and made my very first Bible Study tote bag! I used some quilting pieces I had started but had no intention of ever finishing. I found a turquoise Chico’s jacket in my closet that I had never worn (Goodwill purchase). Those coupled with my orange wool jacket investment made a great bag. Big, with pockets and space for everything (probably a 6-pack of diet cokes to be honest).
Many, many iterations of the design have come and gone since the first one. I still use the orange and turquoise one because every other one I make somebody wants to purchase. All proceeds from the tote bags goes towards this charity (Heart2Go). It is fun to bargain shop for clothes with cool fabrics and to mix and match them and figure out how to use every last scrap I can. I love yard sales and thrift stores and fabric. I love to sew. I love Bible Study. So that’s why!
PS. I hate sewing zippers.