Last week was one of those weeks that kept me on my toes. It was a busy week, with some minor complications with a customer quilt, appointments, teaching, and a fun baby shower for my niece.

Even in the midst of all the busy-ness I managed to carve out some time for some personal sewing. I’ve pretty much decided that I need to do this each week in order to maintain my calm and keep those creative juices flowing. Knowing and doing are two different things, and I’m working hard to take a little time for myself each week.

So I pulled out a project I’ve been wanting to finish for some time – remember this sweet floral raccoon?

Embroidered Raccoon

I stitched this little guy one day when playing with my embroidery machine. I knew I would probably make a tote bag with it, but I put him away and never got around to it.

I have also been collecting different pieces of cork over the last couple of years. Whenever I was at a quilt show or shop and found a pretty piece I would bring it home, not really knowing what I would do with it but adding it to the collection anyway.

So I thought I would try to make a bag using Mr. Raccoon and some cork. That way I could check two things off my To Do list!

I didn’t take pictures of the bag making process – I was usually sewing very late at night and didn’t think to snap pictures. But working with the cork was extremely easy. It cuts and sews almost as easily as quilting fabric. Here I am making the strap – sewing through two layers of cork with no problem.

The first time I sewed the strap I did it wrong so I had to pick out the stitching. I was worried there would be needle holes showing, but I didn’t need to be. The holes closed up and I couldn’t even see where I had sewn. Of course I was sewing on that dark blue cork – I don’t know if the needle holes would show on a lighter piece.

For my bag I used cork for the bottom and for the adjustable strap. I used my tutorial for a Nine Patch Totebag with Recessed Zipper as a pattern with a few adjustments. I changed some of the measurements to accommodate the embroidery, and I changed the way the handles attach. For this bag I made an adjustable strap that attaches to each side. For the tutorial we made two handles that attached to the front and back.

I love that the strap is adjustable and I can use this as an ‘on the shoulder’ or cross-body bag.

If I made this again I would make a few changes. I would like for the bottom base to be higher. I think it’s a bit out of proportion. And I would use a heavier interfacing to make the bag just a bit sturdier. Here I used a fusible batting, and it worked okay; I would just like the bag to be a little more stiff.

I didn’t add any pockets to the inside, mostly because I wasn’t sure the bag was going to work and I was being lazy. But I did add the recessed zipper closure so I can carry it without worrying that all my stuff will fall out. And I used a fun coral zipper to match the cork bottom so that counts for something, right? 🙂

Grunge is the base fabric and you know I love me some Grunge! It was the perfect fabric for the embroidery and for this little bag.

I’m very happy with the way my bag turned out. But I’m most excited that I have this project out of my WIP closet, and that I’ve discovered how easy it is to work with the cork. I’m already making plans for my next cork bag….

So there is my crush for this week – now it’s time for you to share yours. What has you excited to be in your sewing space this week? You can link any blog post, Instagram or Flickr pic, here’s how:

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