Thursday, June 12, 2008

Merchant Tote

A Crafter's Walk Through Proverbs 31: Merchant Tote

“She is like the merchant ships bringing her food from afar.” ~ Proverbs 31:14

In our convenient society, we don’t put a lot of thought into where our food is grown or how it is transported to us. We can just head to the nearest grocery store and find most anything we could want and certainly anything we need.

In light of our convenience, I still see application from this verse. We may have to visit more than one store to find what we are looking for, or more importantly, to make the wisest purchase. I was reminded of this just this morning when I went to a less-visited grocery store because of coupons I had which made it possible to purchase over $8 in groceries for only eighty cents! It is one of the generous ways God provides for us!

Do I shop around and know how to spend my money wisely? When I spend a little less am I getting poor quality? Is there something my husband or children enjoy that I could make a special trip to get which would be a blessing to them? Is it wiser, in some cases, to spend a little more for something that is better for us or better quality?

These are the kinds of questions a virtuous woman considers to make wise choices for her family. In this project, we will create a tote bag, which could be used to carry items from “afar” to our homes. But, more importantly, we will ponder what God is saying to each of us for our family and how we can creatively provide nourishment to them. May His Word be a consistent reminder to us of His standards for us as His women.


Fabric: 2 pieces measuring 3 inches wide and 30 inches long (handles)

2 pieces measuring 13 inches wide and 16 inches high (for bag)

1 piece measuring 5 ½ inches wide and 8 ½ inches high (for iron on transfer)

Iron-on Transfer and printer to download artwork


Sewing Machine

Coordinating Thread




* Wash and dry fabric before cutting pieces.

* Cut fabric into pieces as described in supplies section.

* Iron all pieces of fabric.

* Print artwork onto iron-on transfer following package directions. Take care to note if the transfer requires a specific type of printer – mine required an ink jet.

* Follow package directions for ironing the artwork onto the 5 ½ x 8 ½ inch piece of fabric. I used the reverse side of the fabric so it would show up clearly.

* Now that the transfer is complete, pin it onto one piece of the fabric measuring 13 x 16 inches. Using a short zigzag (appliqué) stitch, stitch all the way around the fabric edge. Stitch around the entire edge a second time. Trim threads.

* Fold over the top edge (about 1/8 inch) of one piece of fabric measuring 13 x 16 inches and press. Fold again and press. Stitch along this edge to seal the raw edge. Repeat for both pieces.

* Lay both pieces of 13 x 16 inch fabric with wrong sides together. Cut a notch in each lower corner. The notch should be 2 inches high and 1 inch across from the edge.

* Pin fabric, wrong sides together, and stitch the two side seams and bottom seam leaving the notches as is for now.

* Turn inside out and press, stitch again catching the first seam inside and hiding the raw edges. Sew the two side seams and one bottom seam.

* Bring the bottom seam up to the corner of the notch, lay flat and stitch. I like to go back and forth a few times to reinforce the seam. Repeat for other notch. Trim excess fabric.

* Fold each long side of the handle pieces about 1/8 inch and press. Now fold handle piece in half lengthwise and press. Stitch pressed edges. Repeat for both pieces.

* Attach the handles to the bag by folding the raw edges twice and stitching onto the bag (folding twice will hide the raw edge) as desired.

* Press all seams and enjoy your bag!

Note: I sort of fumbled my way through writing these directions, so if any of you are brave enough to try - please do let me know how I could improve the instructions. As always, I would love to see your finished projects!

Of course, you all know who came to my mind while making this! I've already made and sent her a tote!


Christi said...

it is simply lovely - you are so talented!

Anonymous said...

And just so ya'll know (since I know she won't tell you): Monica did the drawing of that "merchant ship." We were not sure if would be ok to use a "clip art" photo in an published article, so she grabbed paper and pen. Ten minutes later a new ship was launched! It was never named though! Hmmm. Amazing? Spectacular? Fantastic? Hrrrm. Might as well just name it "Monica."

Angela - Life w/ Two Busy Boys said...

Love it! I can't wait to try it.

Susan P. said...

What a wonderful idea, Monica! You always inspire me to be more crafty ~ I'm definitely trying this. And by the way, I happen to agree with your "happy husband!" :)

Anonymous said...

Love this! And what a great idea to send one to "Like Merchant Ships." :) Love, Mom

Katy said...

I love it Monica! Great job! :)

Anonymous said...

and it is as cute in real life as it is in pictures ;)

Anonymous said...

That was me up above. I clicked too publish too soon :)

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love the bag. The fabric is beautiful. I can't wait to make some and give them as gifts. How wonderful!!
Thank you for sharing all of your wonderful ideas with us.
I love your husband's comment. So sweet!

Anonymous said...

I was just at Meredith's site just before your and was wondering if you keep up w/ her...sure sounds like you do! :-) Wow, and what a sneaky husband...reminds me of my dear hubby! :-) I was in JoAnn's yesterday afternoon for the 1st time in...?!?! I'm getting the itch to sew more than curtains again!!!


Becky said...

The tote is gorgeous! I love the black toile behind it. I don't know how to sew just yet - I hope to learn very soon. Your idea is perfect! I agree with Christi, you are very talented.

Tamara said...


I have so enjoyed your study of A Crafter's Walk Through Proverbs 31. This would make a fun (published) summer Bible Study for a women's group. This bag is so cute, with the little ship! Well done!

On another note, it may just be my weird browser, but I see some random code between paragraphs toward the top. It looks like this: !--[if !supportEmptyParas]-- !--[endif]-- (except I omitted the ><'s). If it's just me, please ignore this comment! :)

Wendi said...

Cute! I love that you sent one to Meredith. She is who came to mind as I was reading this post.

Sweet comments from your hubby! Your drawing of the ship is fantastic! I am enjoying this crafting series. ~Wendi

Anonymous said...

Sometimes my browser at work does the whacky html type code between lines. Do not worry, you are getting all of the post with some odd code added in.

Elise said...

Cute, cute, cute!! Good drawing too, by the way!!
I believe we have the same ironing board cover. Knew you were a kindred spirit!!

Meredith said...

Y'all, it is even cuter in person.

I carried it today into Aldi, wearing my favorite black and white maternity outfit and felt so put-together!!!

when I get my groceries unloaded I'll snap a shot and link from LMS.

*carrie* said...


I'm amazed that you drew that, and designed the whole thing. You are so talented!

Amy said...

I came here from Meredith's blog... what a gorgeous bag! Your directions are great, tempting even a non-sewer (is that a word?) like myself to try it. :)

Danielle said...

I loved this I love all of your ideas! I just posted my photo today. I didn't have iron on paper so I just embroidered the verse. I had so much fun making that one, I made six more!

Mother of Many said...

I'm trying these right now for a wedding present. My bottom corners don't look anything like yours. I'll try again with #2. I just hope it hold the groceries.

Stephanie in SC said...

I just saw your tutorial in Melissa Ringstaff's Magazine, and I thought it looked familiar! Congratulations! I did not see where sh shared your name, though:-(

Stephanie in SC said...

Ok, scratch that...I found the website reference ;-)
I was just looking at it thinking "That looks like Monica's..." but I didn't see your credit anywhere..