A little cherry blossom tote bag
Many years ago, I designed and made bags out of pretty fabrics to pay bills. I started off by selling at local markets and artisan markets. I had an Etsy shop and then my own online shop. Before I knew it I had stockists nationally and internationally. It sounded awesome, but I was young, inexperienced, and didn’t know how to grow the business sustainably. I was burned out and I lost the joy of making these pretty things. That’s why I rarely make bags in the past 10+ years.
I spotted a gorgeous bag made by Yi Farn @japanesesewingbooks recently. I was intrigued and followed her lead to join a Facebook group of a Taiwanese sewing instructor, ㄚ呂原創. She shares some of her patterns and tutorials for free, and they are great patterns! The materials are in Mandarin Chinese only, but the instructional videos are very clear and thorough. Seasoned sewists should be able to follow along and figure out how to sew her bags.
I fell in love with this simple tote bag, called 樸樸七 (I love the cute terms used by Taiwanese makers but sometimes don’t really understand the meaning). I dug up some old fabrics from the bag making stash and found the perfect fabric for it – a Japanese textured cotton with sakura print. I love the colours and even had the perfect contrast fabric for it too. I didn’t have a suitable metal zip so a plastic one had to do. I love it when I can shop from my stash.
This bag has some gorgeous details. There is a main zip compartment in the middle and 2 separate compartments on either side with magnetic closures. Piping cords to accentuate the lines and metal snap fasteners on both short ends to close up the gap and maintain the ‘dumpling’ shape. It’s easy to customise this bag by choosing your own straps, hardware, size, materials and colour blocking. It’s such a cool design. The shape is beautiful and the interior is spacious and practical.
The making of the bag is fairly easy, except for when sewing the side panel with piping to the main bag. The thick layers and curved edges combined is a bit tricky, but other than that, it’s smooth sailing. I had so much fun making this bag and I love that I enjoyed making bags again :). This won’t be my last ㄚ呂原創 bags!