Friday, June 25, 2021

Firefly Tote Sew-Along Week 1

I actually purchased Anna Graham/Noodlehead's Firefly Tote pattern right off when she posted about it, as I was beginning a summer hand-sewing project. But then I realized I already had a project bag I could use, and set the pattern aside. That is until I saw Anna was hosting a sewalong. So why not, right? And I started rummaging through my stash to see what I could use to make it just to give the pattern a go.

Anna suggested using waxed canvas or dry oilskin for the tote's exterior, and miraculously I discovered the perfect amount of  Dry Oilskin in Midnight (1/2 yard), which I'd randomly ordered from OakFabricsChicago a while back just to see what it was like. Note that it has a texture and weight very similar to waxed canvas. This particular piece is Waxed Cotton Duck, 7.2 oz., and 59" wide.

So I had in mind to make the Project Size of the Firefly Tote, which is a drawstring tote pattern that comes in two sizes. The Project Size is the smaller of the two, and measures 8" wide (measured at base), 5" deep, 10" tall. Though it doesn't require that much fabric overall, I don't have many pieces over half a yard in my stash these days. What I did find was a one-yard cut of a favorite quilting cotton from Lizzy House's Andover Catnap Collection - which was perfect for the accent fabric. Thing is, I knew that it just might be something that my daughter, Rachel, would want, Lizzy being one of her favorite fabric designers ever. So I texted her with a pic, offering the fabric to her OR then again, I could go ahead and make the tote, then gift it to her! She liked that idea, which was perfect.

From there 'we' chose an appropriate lining - Essex yarn-dyed in Indigo, and though I had a nice black metal zip on hand, I ordered up a few other supplies from Anna's shop:

  • 1"-wide Leather Handles in Black (the 18" pair)
  • 3/4" Twill Tape in both Black and Denim, so I can see which works best
  • Waxed Cotton Cord in Black, as a possible zipper pull

I also ordered some 8mm nickel rivets from MinkusMargo and still need to find some black drawstring cord.

So the sewalong began on June 23, and the first week's assignment, besides choosing fabrics, was cutting all the pieces and front pocket assembly. So I got that done and now will wait for next week's assignment and the rest of my supplies to arrive. So far, so good!


  1. Great fabric choices and you are off to a beautiful start!

  2. I love your fabric choices Debbie! I also envy the ease with which you can order supplies for a project like this! It’s so hard here in Australia to round up all the supplies for bags such as these! So I will watch and enjoy your progress!

  3. Great fabric pull! Hope you have fun sewing it - it will sure be beautiful :) xo

  4. Love! Looking forward to seeing how this project progresses!

  5. this is going to be so cute. love the pattern

  6. Lots of fun! You have a knack for choosing just the right fabric for your bags. Thanks for sharing.

  7. You have just the right stuff and it is going to be cute. I stuttered over your comment of not having many pieces over a half yard anymore. Boy do I wish. I don't know how it happened as I usually buy FQ's for most of my sewing but I now have totes of fabric I must have bought for backings. If only I could find the right thing when I wanted it, maybe I could use some up. Ha