Gift Sewing: Pink Elephants on Parade

One of my friends recently had a birthday, and (very last minute) I decided to sew her some gifts.  I’d stashed this purple elephant fabric with her in mind last year, and it seemed the right time to pull it out.  I knew I wanted to make a bag, but I needed it to be fairly simple so I could finish it on time.  Which is when I remembered that I had a Craftsy Class which included instructions to make a basic tote.  This is the first time I’ve really sewn along with a Craftsy Class, and I have to say I found it really helpful to finish this project in a quick manner.  I’m definitely more of a kinesthetic/visual learner, so I think watching someone make this project as I made it really helped me finish this project quickly.  It wasn’t a particularly difficult project, the written instructions are really good, but there were some cool tips in the video instruction that I think I’ll be able to apply to other projects in the future.  The other nice thing is that they don’t take up a lot of fabric.  I was able to make the tote and the pouch with about 1 yard of main fabric and 1/2 yard of contrast.  Granted, I changed the pattern a bit so that I used more of the main fabric, but it is still a very minimal investment fabric-wise.  The best part is that the bags for my friend turned out really cute!  I was pretty happy with the results, especially with the sort of last-minute slap-dash effort I put into the project.

Here is the reversible tote:

                                                                              Elephant tote bag!
                                                 A peek to the inside – it has a single patch pocket.
                                                                                         Reverse side.
My sewing machine has this fun elephant stitch! It seemed like the perfect decoration to add to the contrast band.

And the zipper pouch:


Overall I’m really happy with the way these bags turned out.  My friend was really excited (she was totally surprised the zipper worked – non-sewing people are so easily impressed), so that was good.  I’m really happy I remembered the Craftsy class was in my video stash, and that I used it for instruction.  It was nice to have a quick and easy project turn out so well.  I’ve been really busy, and it was very gratifying to be able to finish a project in only a few hours.  And now I’ve got requests from other friends and family for tote bags of their own.  So I expect I’ll be sewing quite a few more of these during the holiday season.  The trick now is to figure out what modifications to size, shape, and design I want to make to the basic pattern before I make another one.  In any case, I think this was a free Craftsy mini-class, so I highly recommend it if you are looking for a quick project or if you want to try out Craftsy without spending a lot of money on one of the longer classes.

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