The first time I saw the Anchor linen from Cotton and Steel's S.S. Bluebird line, I knew it was destined to become a Noodlehead Poolside Tote! To round out the project, I chose Cotton and Steel Sparkle canvas for the accent straps/handles, Checkers 1/2" gingham in Sky, and Cotton Supreme Solids in Carolina for the facing.
The Poolside Tote is big-- I was able to fit my giant oversized beach towel, cross stitch supplies box, camera, sunscreen, and a sweatshirt all comfortably and probaby would have been able to squeeze in a few books or a bottle of wine if I wanted to. It's a great bag for last minute packers (like me) who just want to bring a bunch of stuff and not worry about forgetting anything. I think it would also be excellent for library books or knitting supplies due to how sturdy and roomy it is, especially if you choose to add the optional exterior pocket.
What I liked about the pattern:
- The size! It's big but doesn't look completely ridiculous riding on your shoulder.
- Speaking of riding on your shoulder, this tote can actually do that due to the half circle cutouts, leaving your hands free to hold onto coffee or kids.
- The facing looks so pretty and professional, and could easily be made to match the lining or exterior if you didn't want to select a fourth fabric.
- The Shape Flex Sf101 fusible interfacing the pattern calls for is easy to use and doesn't make the bag feel crunchy or overly stiff, so you can still fold it and stash it in a car or suitcase.
- Sewing instructions are clear and easy to follow
What I might do differently next time:
- I'm not a huge fan of the way the outside straps are separate pattern pieces from the handles-- next time, I may do a little hack and tape the strap and handle pattern pieces together and cut them as one.
- I would be more cautious sewing around the half-circles at the top and add more notches so the curve would lie flatter.
- I'd love to try the exterior pocket with piping-- I think it would be a great way to show off a little of the lining or facing fabric.
Overall, making the bag was fun and easy, and I love how the Cotton and Steel gingham and anchors coordinate so perfectly-- nautical and picnic-ready, but not tacky or kitchsy. I'm already planning an autumn version! If you make a Poolside Tote, make sure to tag #poolsidetote and #pinkcastlefabrics so we can see your makes!