Trader Joe’s Book Tote

Dickson goes with me to USC whenever he’s around and I have to go to school. Most often on Mondays. Mondays I have a really long day, so we both bring work/books/laptops and park it in the library after lunch until pretty late in the evening.

So, a couple weeks ago, Dickson asked me if I could make him a tote bag to bring his books. Actually, he first asked me if I HAD a tote bag he could use. I only had the purple and linen one my cousin made my from our swap. Obviously he wasn’t up to rockin’ the purple, so we used an old USC bookstore bag for the day. I told him I’d make him a bag soon. Just for him. So here it is:

Eventually, we settled on using a Trader Joe’s reusable grocery bag. I originally wanted to use some 1000 denier Cordura fabric (same stuff as his Chrome Bag), but it was either sold in huge bulk on Ebay (hello, I don’t need 5 yards of this stuff!), or at some ridiculous price. Then he kept telling me, “you know, I can just use a $2 Trader Joe’s bag….”

Hmph, as if I was going to let him use a store bought bag! Anyway, so that’s how we ended up using the TJ bag. I like how it’s so incredibly loud. It’s a polypropylene bag, so it’s super durable and it’s also waterproof.

Here’s the other side:

The original TJ bag had two different designs on each side. Although, I personally prefer the teal side with the ship. I totally forgot to take a before picture of this bag. Darnit!

For the bits not originally from TJ, I picked up some red nylon from Joann’s as well as some durable bag strap stuff (you know, the stuff on backpacks/messenger bags or those old school belts we used to wear with those D-rings or gigantic belt buckles). Anyway, here’s a peek at the inside.

I took the 2″ strap I bought, and folded it into thirds, securing the folds together with a simple zig zag stitch around. I like it. I’ve been pretty fond of the zig zag stitch lately. Not sure why. Inside has two HUGE pockets (think Amy Butler Frenchy Bag pockets), each lined w/ flannel. So basically a 3 compartment bag. The strap goes all the way around the bag, kinda cinching the bag a tad when it’s heavy. I picked that idea up from the Charming Bag (yep, fabric is picked out for that one…it’s in the queue) in Amy Karol’s book.

After a LOT of aggression towards this bag (I had to resew a ton of seams multiple times, the nylon wouldn’t stay put when I cut it, I BENT one of my sewing machine needles because the machine somehow jammed and the needle was stuck in the down position…), I’d have to say I’m pretty happy with the results. Polypropylene is so tough to work with only because it’s so stiff…so it made turning the bag a bit frustrating, and the seams I needed to top stitch at the top didn’t lay as nicely as I did. I guess part of the “I’m a durable bag!”-charm.

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4 Responses to Trader Joe’s Book Tote

  1. Lynn says:

    Interesting bag! I’ll have to see it in person. And way to use the trader joe’s bag!

  2. Pingback: Fish is Good, Stress is Bad « Mudmuffins and Woogiemonsters

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  4. Pingback: Book Tote Tutorial « Mudmuffins and Woogiemonsters

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