Today we wrap up the Shades of Grey Scrap Challenge, sponsored by the lovely Jan DiCintio of Daisy Janie.  Our final designer is Melanie O’Brien (@Obrien_Melanie) of A Sewing Journal.  A Sewing Journal is your daily dose of sewing and quilting inspiration, featuring a wide variety of sewing projects ranging from quilts to clothing to home decor, along with sewing pattern reviews, book and magazine reviews, interviews, shop and studio tours, tutorials and more.  Melanie does a great job in making sure that her site is chock full of both information and inspiration, and you can learn more about both her and A Sewing Journal here.

We hope you enjoyed this Designer’s Challenge!  We’re always on the lookout for creative souls to take our challenges.  Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, where we usually put out the calls for participants.

Now, let’s see what Melanie did with her scrap bag!

As the former owner of online fabric shop, Modern Organic Fabrics, I held on to some of my favorite fabrics from the shop. So when I received the Shades of Grey scrap pack from Jan, I knew I wanted to use it with some of the organic fabrics from my stash. I felt like going in a direction of muted colors rather than high contrast with the greys. I settled on some organic shirtings (the solid greys and purples) and an herbal-dyed organic cambric (the peach color). I wasn’t concerned with the differences in weight and hand as my goal was a sort of harmony in color.

I had originally set out to make a mini-quilt. But a lack of time caused me to switch course and make a long-promised music book tote bag for my oldest daughter. Of course, I switched course after cutting out a bunch of rectangles, so that guided my design for the tote. Like many of you, I don’t have as much time as I’d like to sew. That causes me to consider the usefulness of each and every thing I make. My home is decorated in tones of whites, browns, beiges and yellows. I just couldn’t figure out a place to display a grey and purple mini-quilt in my home. This was causing me quite a bit of dismay and I felt it better to create something I (or my family) would use and love. That was the other reason behind switching to a modern tote bag design.

Shades of Grey is suited particularly well to being cut up and assembled in patchwork. The variety in form, shape and scale of the patterns create a wonderful movement. I loved pairing it with the muted solids where it creates just the perfect amount of interest without being overpowering or loud.

The pattern I used for the bag is the Parent’s Tote Bag from the book Linen Wool Cotton by Akiko Mano. It’s one of my favorite tote bag designs for not only is it simple to put together but I like the overall aesthetic of the floppy bag with gussets. The colors, sizes and patchwork were completely improvisational where I played around with the rectangles until I found a combination I loved. My 10-year-old daughter is thrilled with the colors and the sophistication of the patchwork.