Rediscovering sewing: the Gather Here tote bag

Gather Here tote bag - closedBehold, my very first machine sewing project after about a 15-year break: the Gather Here tote bag.  : )  I signed up for their “sewing basics” class back in March, having been away from the machine since high school.  Little did I know how addicted I would become (yet again)!  The tote bag is very simple in terms of construction and is a great beginner project, especially since you can walk away with a finished and useful product.  This bag will always hold a special place in my heart as my first finished piece, stitched with excitement and awe.  I never blogged about it, so I wanted to finally give it its proper documentation.  : )

The bag is lined with muslin, and I believe (?) the outer fabric is an Amy Butler print.  The two bags are sewn separately, and then the lining is simply inserted into the outer bag, followed by topstitching to secure the two.  The straps are inserted between the outer and inner bags before topstitching.  Really couldn’t be simpler!  Even Maggie is in awe of its simple beauty, haha.

Gather Here tote bag - openHere you can see the details of the topstitching at the top of the bag and the topstitching along the long edges of the straps.  In retrospect, I should have used a matching color thread in the bobbin here, but I was just so excited and didn’t even think of it!  Plus I don’t think I knew how to wind a bobbin at that point, ha.  It was my first project after all.

Gather Here tote bag - closeup of stitchingA close-up of the straps against my lovely Ikea chair.

Gather Here tote bag - closeup of strapsShortly after I bought my sewing machine (the Bernina in the background), I made another bag using the same pattern.  This one is a bit smaller and has shorter straps, since I wanted to use just two fat quarters.  And let me tell you, I just made it in terms of having enough fabric.  Phew!

Gather Here tote bag - smaller yellower versionAnd what became of these two bags, you ask?  I seriously use them all the time.  The larger one has become my everyday lunch bag for work, and I use the smaller one as a purse on weekends.  I love that they get so much use, and I carry them around with pride!

One day I want to tackle a hardcore bag pattern with zippers and pockets and fleece interfacing, but for now, these simple little bags are doing just fine holding my lunch and wallet.  : )

What was your first machine sewing project, either as a child or re-discovered as an adult?

2 thoughts on “Rediscovering sewing: the Gather Here tote bag

  1. I have that same chair! I just found your blog and really loved seeing all the dresses you’ve made! Thanks for the inspiration; I’m a little intimidated by dresses but I’ve given myself the assignment to make one before summer’s end.


    • Thanks for stopping by! 🙂 You should totally try making a dress – it’s not as complicated as you might think! Just choose a pattern without a lot of fussy details.

      And I do love that chair. 🙂


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