Ethel Tote Bag

As a change from dressmaking, I decided to make a new handbag, especially as I have not made one since BC (before Covid!).

Ethel by Swoon Patterns

I chose the ‘Ethel’ by Swoon patterns. Ethel is a roomy, sturdy and stylish open tote bag. With a teardrop shape, Ethel veers away from the usual boxy tote. It’s a “stuff it in and run out the door” kind of bag, designed to comfortably sling over your shoulder. There are a few slip pockets for the small things.

Ethel bag for a friend

I have previously made this bag as a gift so now I will have one of my own. I used a remnant of stretch cotton denim that I had left over from a pair of ‘Texas’ trousers. For the lining, I used remnants from the recently made ‘Libby’ blouse.

Construction notes: I used fusible interfacing to stabilise the stretch floral print denim and ‘headliner’ stabiliser. ‘Headliner’ is a foam stabiliser (an alternative to Bosal ®) that is used in the car manufacturing industry to line the insides of cars, e.g. roof and door panels. As it is not fusible I machine basted within the seam allowance to the interfaced pieces of the bag. Although not instructed in the pattern, I also used headliner in the handles and 2 layers in the bag base. I cut a pattern for a Flap to which I attached a slip lock in nickel (from my bag-making hardware stash) and added 4 nickel bag feet to the base.

Elasticated slip pocket

Inside the bag I made an elasticated top slip pocket plus a divided slip pocket that is especially sized for my ancient mobile phone.

Wrangling the bag is a little like arm wrestling when turning right side out but I am delighted with the end result.

Ethel in Stretch Floral Print Denim

Project #38 completed 16th August 2022