“Schooner or Later”…

The (pattern) design is for a totebag with a 12-inch insert of an appliqueed schooner sailboat.

…we can sail away on a wonderful vacation. In the meantime, we can dream about it. This beautiful appliqueed schooner (in the 1800’s they were heavily used for coastal trade) skims along the waves against a beautiful sky. Simple appliqueed shapes are really enhanced by beautiful fabric, and there are many exquisite water and sky prints available.

“Schooner or Later”cc2208 by LJ Christensen

The design is for a totebag with a 12-inch insert, which could be made again and again with other applique designs, orphan quilt blocks or embroidery. It’s also really convenient because it has a pocket made for a cell phone or sunglasses and another for a water bottle or small umbrella.

“Schooner or Later” pockets

Just as the tote pattern could be re-used, so could the applique. It’s perfectly sized for a quilt (12 1/2″ finished at 12″) or could be placed on a sweatshirt or even into a larger wall hanging! Click here to buy (On sale for just $3.50 now through August 15.)

I love this tote! I made a point to interface the lining, which takes the brunt of the load so that it can be made from quilt fabric instead of the canvas used here. Interfacing supports the pockets, and I used extra heavy, stiff interfacing for the bottom. The added edgestitching and piping really “sharpen up” the look. The 18″ handles slip easily over the wrist, leaving hands free. I like to have totes of different colors, and this one is a great “wearable art” project because I designed it to easily showcase any sort of needlework.

One of my hints, included in the detailed directions, is to use a bladed edgestitch foot. The edgestitch foot is one of about 5-6 feet I keep out and use frequently. It looks like a hemming foot, but it’s flat underneath. I use it to edgestitch and square up not only the outside edges of this tote, but the pockets, too, and even the piping. Run the blade along the right edge of the fabric and move the needle to the left a notch or two. It really helps keep the little seam absolutely straight. I use it to line up against piping and move the needle over just a bit. (It w0rks fine on most piping that’s not too thick–for thicker, use a special piping foot with a channel, or try a zipper foot) I use it afterwards on the outside along the seam edge to hold the lining down.

Similarly, I use it to edgestitch my quilt bindings. I sew them on the back, pull them around to the front and edgestitch with the blade to the left along the binding edge with the seam just inside the binding on the right. Very quick and very neat!

In other projects, I even use it for elastic plackets. I sew the elastic ends together, place the ring of elastic inside the top edge of pants/skirt, and pull the fabric up and over the elastic for the placket. Then I run the blade against the elastic, with the needle to the left so it doesn’t catch. I stretch the elastic as I go, occasionally stopping with needle down to pull more elastic around. This is not hard if you’re careful, and it’s a lot quicker than having to thread elastic through later. My Bernina sewing machine makes a wide enough stitch that I can even use a little zigzag and not worry about catching the elastic. On little cotton shorts (like I used to make for my son many years ago), you don’t even need a zigzag (though I do like it on my on knit pants.)

OK, I admitted it. I wear elastic-waisted polyester pants–so lowering to be consider a Walmartian, but at least I don’t let my middle show…..and by the way, I’ve heard the youngsters are now approving yoga pants. Hmmph! They are polyester stretch with elastic waists, too–I just have better sense than to wear them skin tight! HA!

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