I met a lovely lady at the Textile Fair in Braintree who fell in love with this Sanderson Tree Poppy fabric and asked if I could make her a bag. So here it is: a Toots Totes “Rosa” (and matching hairband) commissioned to be large enough to hold papers for a conference and to include a pocket for a water bottle. That was certainly a first! She was very pleased with it and asked if I made dresses too as she needed a new one for the conference! Sadly not, my dress making days stopped when fabric became more expensive than ready-made clothing, and I am seriously out of practice. Unless she wanted a zip top dress with leather handles she was out of luck!
I make no excuses for not having visited this page for so long, but I thought it about time I gave a quick update and show you what I've made since the beginning of the year.
Two lovely ladies sadly left the team that I used to work with, however I was delighted and honoured to be asked to make a part of their leaving gifts.
Both were made to the same pattern - my 'Rosa' design, but look what a difference the choice of fabric makes! This design has become a favourite to make and receive it seems! Let me know if you'd like one in your own choice of fabric.
Having ordered more fabric from my favourite designer Heather Moore at Skinny laminx, it arrived within 4 days all the way from South Africa, and I set about turning it into yet another 'Rosa'. It makes a lovely summery bag, don't you think? Still available at £80 (inc p+p within UK) Contact me if you're interested in purchasing.
The Emma Bridgewater fabric has been so popular! I've now made four 'Rosa' bags and a little backpack and have just a shelf and a half of the 'dresser' fabric left! Also lots of little bits and pieces, which will make lovely little 'Zinnia' zipped top purses. So keep your eye on my Instagram account where they will gradually be revealed!
Sourcing more of the elusive discontinued fabric has taken up quite a bit of time-there's none to be found unless you can pay mega-bucks to secure it, but I have picked up a cushion cover which I'm hoping will arrive in good condition. I felt quite smug as no other Emma Bridgewater fans had spotted it, so it came at a reasonable price and it will make a lovely bag!
I love selecting just the right bits and pieces that go to make up a bag! With this little knitted "Nigella", I had four choices for the handles. Which one would you have chosen? The verdict from Facebook and Instagram was for the coffee leather handles. I finally went for the bright red leather handles to pick out the red fleck in the wool.
The last pic shows the bag yet to have its lining added, but with handles sewn in place. These have a piece of fabric stitched behind each fob for extra strength.
A subtle layer of wadding adds to the already oh-so-soft woolly loveliness and a vibrant lining with two open and one zipped pocket completes the interior, and helps to shape the exterior. It fastens with a magnetic snap.
It's been a busy couple of months. I've had five commissions to fulfill, two of which were for two matching bags, totalling seven bags. Coupled with a 'March Meet the Maker' challenge on Instagram, where I managed to post 31 pictures and compose 31 captions to tell a bit more about me and Toots Totes during March, I've not had much time to blog here!
One of the requests was for a work bag. Its primary purpose was to safely house a laptop with space for a notebook, in two separate compartments. It needed to provide easily accessible pockets for a work phone and a personal phone. There was to be a matching smaller clutch bag for personal effects that would clip onto the main bag but could go off to lunch with its owner and leave the bigger bag at the desk!
Rather than revamp one of my existing designs I decided to work up a new one and as I prefer to create my own designs rather than buy pre-made patterns, I started by sketching it out. I began with the laptop dimensions, added a couple of cms and as It was to be made in a lovely William Morris floral and I wanted it to look feminine, I gave it some curves! I decided the central divider could double up as a zip topped pocket and two open pockets one side would take the phones.
As it would be a substantial size I thought some piping would define the shape and smarten the look. I chose a larger sturdier zip than usual for the bag top to take daily wear and tear. Topping it off would be some gorgeous leather handles.
As this was a completely new design I made a prototype in another William Morris fabric to try it out and show the client before I went ahead with her bag. To cut a long story short I did have a few problems to solve! That's what I love about designing my own bags: it's so satisfying to find and apply the solutions to end up with something that works well!
And I've named this shape: "Lupin" laptop bag! It was unanimous on Instagram (one person replied agreeing with my suggestion!) Another flower added to the bunch!
Having made the decision to give my bag shapes flowery names, I've had great fun and some head scratching to come up with the following. (Hover over or click picture to see caption) Hopefully it will make it easier for you when choosing a shape to give me the name, so that there's no confusion about which is which! We'll see! By the way if the shape isn't quite right we can always tweak it to get exactly what you want-just ask!
My last post in this epic series!
Baby Change Bags
An essential piece of kit for the new Mum, often a bespoke request from Grandma to be!
The open sided first design unfolds, so that once the pockets have been emptied, you can attach the matching changing mat via velcro strips to lay baby onto an extra soft layer.
The other design is a conventional bag with a zipped top and a matching changing mat and oodles of pockets.
Priced from £85, depending on fabric and size of bag.
All kinds of everything...
I've lumped the simple totes, zipped top totes and what's left together into one post.
no, not in your old kitbag, but in your funky new...
This was specifically requested as a bespoke design to ease the burden of carrying a heavy shoulder bag to work. A zip under the flap makes it more secure and double adjustable straps ensure the weight is equally distributed across the shoulders. A reinforced base helps it to stay in shape and soft wadding makes it comfortable against your body. Price £60
This wide umbrella title covers all shapes and sizes as long as they have a flap with a magnetic closure...All have an adjustable shoulder strap and the bigger bags will have a reinforced base. Prices start at £40 and depend on the size and materials used.
Hello, I'm Ruth Overton. My nickname as a child was 'Ruthie Toots' which is how the name