Purse Palooza :: Pattern Review: Kumiko Fujita Tote

This post is part of Purse Palooza 2012.
For full schedule of guest post pattern reviews and prizes, click here!

The 2nd guest post of the day is from Ayumi of Pink Penguin. Ayumi is super-talented, and there are about a dozen tutorials on her right-hand sidebar that you will *definitely* want to make! Her specialty is working with Japanese fabrics, which I love and which I find really refreshing!


This is a quilted tote I made for Amy using one of the signature bag patterns in Kumiko Fujita’s ABC book. Although this book is out-of-print and is very hard to find, the construction of this tote is quite simple enough for most folks with some bag/purse experience to figure out how to make it pretty easily. I’d like to talk about this bag as a part of Purse Palooza (more about the event in my previous post.) Here are some questions Sara of Sew Sweetness, the lovely host of this fun event, has kindly prepared for us.


1. What materials are needed to make the bag? What type of interfacing did you use?

    Cotton print, linen, fusible web (for applique), cotton batting, and medium weight interfacing (for handles).

2. What fabrics did you use to make yours?

    Most cotton prints I used for are Japanese fabrics. (Suzuko Koseki, Kumiko Fujita, etc.)

3. Illustrations/Instructions (were the instructions easy to understand? Were there step-by-step photos or graphics? Was anything unclear?)

    It is a Japanese book, so all the instructions are in Japanese, but just like many Japanese craft books, every instruction has at least a few step-by-step graphics that basically explains the flow well.

4. Modifications (what changes did you make to the pattern and why?)

    I enlarged the pattern so that it’s good enough for a library tote.

5. Difficulty Level (beginner, confident beginner, intermediate, advanced)

    Maybe confident beginner.

6. Conclusion (any final thoughts about the pattern…did you enjoy it? Would you make it again?)

    I really enjoyed making this bag. Even though I’ve made this type of quilted totes many times in the past, this instruction called for quite a few things I had never tried before. For example, the way handles are sewn right onto the bag like this. You can see the stitching from the exterior. The short edges of the handles were raw when they are sewn to the bag. The raw edges were then to be covered by some fabric. I hand-stitched this linen tape instead to cover up the raw edges. Another thing new to me was that the lining fabric was used to bind the raw edges inside the bag. Basically, your lining is at the finished size plus extra at two side edges. These extra parts are used to cover up the raw edges inside the bag! Clever!


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