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Tote Bags

This year I have been making an effort to use up some of my stash using the rule that if I take a piece of fabric out of the cupboard to make something, I have to use it all up and not put any back in. I've been fairly successful but it dosen't seem to have reduced the stash much (sigh). However, tote bags are a wonderful way to create useful wearable art quilts and use up small pieces of fabric and batting, and can be embellished with beads, buttons, trims and lots of found items. No need to carry a plain shopping bag when you can have one that stands out in a crowd. Most of the bags were donated to WINGS which is a society that provides housing for women and children leaving abusive relationships for a six month period while they get established in a new life.
whimsical art tote bag

Whimsical Tote Bag

I got a girl's skirt from at a garage sale because I thought it would make a cute tote bag. I used the flower pattern from a quilt designed by Kelly Monroe (in Fons and Porters Baby Quilts, Winter 2008), added a lining with 2 pockets and used the belt to make the strap. The zipper opening at the back can be used for a secure pocket. This was gifted to a friend.
Pansy art tote bag

Pansy Tote Bag

A left over block from the pansy quilt I made for my granddaughter formed the basis of this bag. I combined it with some pretty batik type fabric and some plain purple and gifted it to a friend.
Butterfly art tote bag

Butterfly Tote Bag

Two small coordinating batik fabrics were combined with the blue tonal fabric to make this cute tote bag with an inner pocket to keep items separate.
Cranberry and grey art tote bag

Cranberry and Grey Tote Bag

Again, I had very small pieces of the cranberry fabric and the grey batik. I combined them with some plain grey chambray and made appliqués from the two batiks. More vintage buttons completed the embellishments. This one also has an inner pocket.
Fern art Tote Bag

Fern Tote Bag

I loved this fern batik fabric and chose the gold/brown print and brown blender fabric to showcase it. The bag has outer pockets on both sides and is accented with vintage buttons.
Flower art Tote Bag

Cheerful Flower Tote Bag

The blue batik and green tonal suggested a flower fo me. So I used some small scraps of the orange tonal to make some cheerful appliquéd flowers. The centers are yellow vintage buttons. The tote has an inner pocket. This one makes me smile.
Grey Beaded art Tote Bag

Grey Beaded Tote Bag

The grey fabric with feathers is one of my favorites. The grey and red fabrics brighten it, as do the red and black beads on both sides. There is an inner pocket.
Horse art Tote Bag

Horse Tote Bag

I had a very small piece of blue batik with the stylized horses on it which was enough to make the band for the front and some appliqués on the back. One girl suggested that they were mules rather than horses because the tail is not bushy. She may be right, but I'm still calling them horses. The wild orange/yellow waterfall fabric seemed just right for the bag. And since I live in ranching country, the metal cowboy embellishments seemed to fit right in. The tote has an inner pocket.
Mauve art Tote Bag

Mauve Tote Bag

Each new tote I make is my favourite but when I look at them all, this one may be my favourite of all. The mauve batik tones with the plain grey and I splurged and used some very expensive Susan Clark enameled buttons that I had been saving for something special on both sides as embellishments. There are two iris buttons and one butterfly button on each side. There is an inner pocket.
Teal and Black art Tote Bag

Teal and Black Tote Bag

I had a few small pieces of the teal print fabric, and a few purple tonal scraps. I teamed them with a light plain teal fabric and some black to give it drama. Accented with metal vintage buttons. It has an inner pocket.
Green Felted Wool art Tote Bag

Green Felted Wool Tote Bag

This is a bag I made for my sister for Christmas one year. I felted the green wool and embellshed it with a medallion made of cottons and fish skin leather with black bias binding in a stained glass look. Gold metal buttons and stars and an earring complete the medallion.
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All images and text are © Marilyn Nepper and any use is forbidden except with the express permission of the owner.