Following the completion of one bag, I started on another: a 241 tote for myself, from Anna Graham's (Noodlehead) now-internet-famous pattern. A while before I'd bought the pattern, I'd picked up a home dec/canvas fabric on a trip to Ikea (where I also got some of that awesome grey-on-white numbers fabric, and noticed they have 20" x 20" pillow inserts for $6.99, "Fjädrar", should I get around to sewing pillow covers).
For other fabrics I dug into my stash, some Michael Miller Mini Mikes houndstooth, black-on-grey and grey-on-white for the sides, side pockets and interior slip pocket, and some Kona Medium Grey for the interior and Kona Ash for the zip pocket linings. The zippers are from Etsy, the Zipit store.
Anna's pattern is clear and the color photos are really helpful, especially if you're fairly new to bag making. I've found sewing bags can feel counter intuitive and a bit ass-backwards at times, though that could just be me. It should definitely not be held against the pattern that I had to redo some things and became fast friends with my seam ripper again. A lot of that has to do with my having gotten ahead of myself and wanting to go a bit too fast, or making some "DOH!" mistakes, and occasionally having made the mistake of trying to sew while both kids were home, awake and running amok. And being highly critical and wanting to redo some wobbly topstitching.
Things I'd do differently (or, per pattern suggestions) next time: Make one half of the pocket lining in the same fabric as the exterior, or at least something that matches better. I hadn't really thought about it that much, but after installing the zippers, and the way that it can still let slivers peek through of the lining on the edges of the stitching, the light Kona Ash was a bit more noticeable than I would have chosen. If you look closely at the picture, you can probably see what I mean, little light grey slivers around the zipper.
Another change I'd make would be to add some kind of interfacing to the strap if you're using quilting cotton, or to use either webbing or a sturdier fabric. The lack of interfacing just makes the strap feel very light and flimsy, and I prefer it to feel a little stiffer. This is totally up to your personal preference.
The 241 Tote pattern has prompted me to jump on the next blogging band wagon, Anna's new divided basket pattern. Miss Matilda could use some cute storage like this for her ponies, cars and Barbie accessories, so they don't all get lost in the huge toy storage box in the kids' room. And I could use one in my room for some of the bedside flotsam and jetsam. There's no bedside table, and a basket to store the Kindle and things like lip balm and hand cream in, so the cats don't knock it off the bed frame's edge would be helpful.