I've been making small and simple purses ever since finding the Jordy bag tutorial on Craftster. If you like to make purses and have basic sewing skills and a machine, you can make all kinds of bags. Check out the list of different styles--it's amazing.
So when I heard about Lotta Jansdotter's new book called simple sewing, I took a look and was skeptical. Most of the patterns in the book really are simple--straight seams, no linings, nothing more advanced than what I've already learned. But I'm TERRIBLE with measurements and patterns, so this book actually works for me. It also reminds me to do things I always forget, like mitering corners for less bulk, or using a vanishing pen when tracing out patterns (I need to get me one of those. Right now I have white chalk and a regular pencil). I don't know why doing things like measuring, tracing, cutting along the line hasn't translated from paper to fabric for me--I outline, trace, and cut along pencilled lines all the time with paper. Mind boggling, I know.
So I tried Lotta's simple tote. And made my own adjustments frankensteining the Jordy cornering technique and lining with Lotta's fold-up-the-bottom-turn-in-all-raw-edges pattern.
The result is a nice little tote bag with interior pockets and a small bit of velcro for closure. I didn't bother using the magnetic clasps or zippers I have stashed away because this was a trial run.
Lotta's basic pattern was super easy to follow. I love her photos of her finished bags with the contrasting fabrics and appliques and embroidery. It's a smorgasborg of possibilities. The Jordy bag pattern is also easy to follow. The two meld okay--adding the interfacing and lining to the lotta bag was interesting--but I think I might try and work with the Lotta pattern again and adjust. Unlike the Jordy bag where the weight is on a bottom seam, the Lotta bag carries the weight in the handles. So for a grocery tote bag, I could interface at the upper seam for more secure handles... or something.
The simple drawstring backpack reminded me of the junior high school project and was also super simple. I need to adjust the sizes, though because I don't need the depth. I also will add a lining and possible interfacing for light structure, although I really like the slouchy look. I used ribbon instead of fabric straps and may use only one strap instead of two for a cleaner drawstring. I wonder if this will work larger with sturdier fabric. Maybe with silky-type cording instead of straps for smoother opening and closing...
(The hiatus from the etsy shop continues. I have teenies--see the pink one on the lotta bag--to sell, but I'm still not sure anyone will buy this design. The ones with velcro I put on our grocery bags got a big reaction at the store and they might be more desirable. But they'd also take me a lot longer to make. So, I dicker with myself and the store remains static. I should probably remove the current listings and start fresh.)