The wonderful Trish Preston (@trishpreston) of Two Peas in a Pod designs recently contact us here at FQHQ to let us know about the online bag-making course she developed for her blog readers.  She recently made available a full e-course that steps its students through her video-based tutorial to make an original Tie-front Tote.  We were intrigued, and Brioni and I agreed to make some of Trish’s totes in exchange for two free classes for Fat Quarterly readers!  Of course, we wanted to check it out ourselves before passing word along to all of you — and I’ll begin by saying we weren’t disappointed!

I’ll tell you a bit about my experience, and then turn it over to Brioni so that she can show off her creation.

Tie Totes

If you’re a reader of my blog, you might know that I’m a bit terrified of making anything three dimensional.  Quilts?  Sure.  But things like bags, toys, and apparel intimidate me.  I was a bit reluctant to agree to make a tote bag, but I put all my faith in Trish and my confidence in knowing that she puts out a quality product.  And, because I’m a glutton for punishment, I decided to make not one, but two bags.  So I stocked up on supplies — some yardage of some gorgeous Tula Pink and Amy Butler fabrics, coordinating thread, and fusible fleece — and got down to it.

Tie Tote in Parisville

To cut right to the chase, I’ll put it bluntly — Trish’s e-course was a lovely experience.  Because of the video element — actually watching something be made the proper way versus photos or illustrations — I found it to be far more effective than following a pattern.  The course was split up into 3 “classes”, each one presenting a very manageable part of the process.  And I would definitely classify this course as beginner-friendly.  If you’ve never made a bag before but are interested in giving it a try, I would highly recommend this e-course as a great place to start.

Trish is a great instructor.  And to top it all off, Trish’s sewing space is a lovely setting which made for an extremely pleasant viewing experience.  It was bright and sunny with a beautiful garden view and a soundtrack of singing birds, making me wish I was right there in Ohio, sewing with Trish!

I made the two bags assembly-line style, and have some gorgeous gifts that are ready to go.  They’re not perfect, for sure, but that can be attributed to my lack of experience (and confidence) in bag making.  But after Trish’s course, my confidence in tackling future bag projects is fully restored!

Tie Tote in Amy Butler Love

And now let’s hear from Brioni, who also took Trish’s course and made a beautiful tote.

Brioni: I have to admit to not being very fond of making anything 3 dimensional – I am most definitely a quilt girl – so was inwardly groaning when i dug some fabric out to get started.  I have never done an on-line class was and couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to, so i was thrilled when the whole experience was nothing like i expected.
First and foremost, everything about the website is so pretty – pretty kids, pretty fabrics, pretty garden and pretty backdrop to all videos. So, great start.
Then i loved watching the videos. Trish’s voice so relaxing that i could have quite happily have had a snooze instead of making the tote.  I did manage to stay awake and make the tote I did!

Brioni: The pattern is simple, the combination of the instructions and video were fantastic so there really wasn’t anything not to enjoy.  The result is also great. The bag is rigid enough to stand up on its own but still soft, and the handles are sturdy but not stiff enough to be uncomfortable on my shoulders.
A bit of Map of London home decor fabric, and bit of dark brown whale cord for the lining, a lovely afternoon watching videos and i am now sporting a new bag to carry my new crochet project on the train to work.  Simple pleasures  :-)

Interested in making a Two Peas in a Pod original tie tote of your own?  Trish has generously offered a free e-course to two lucky Fat Quarterly readers!  Simply leave a comment on this post letting us know what fabrics you’d use to make your tote and what you’d use it for, and we’ll randomly select two winners here on the blog next week.  Good luck!