Thursday, June 16, 2011

oh, knock it off.

Alright, you may not remember this, but a century ago or so I had this short-lived gig on SYTYC.  I did, really!  You can see my audition project here, my week one project here, and my week two project here, here, here and here.  (That was an in-depth one!)  Well, here's the SOTYC project that was never seen.  The third week was "knockoff" - and since I didn't pass on to the third week, this project was never voted on.  I hesitated to put it up, because it isn't a full tutorial.  It's a "Oh, crap I forgot my camera and I'm at my sister's watching her kid... well, at least I can use my phone... for crying out loud my phone just died!" tutorial.  You see where I'm going with this?  And I recently decided, oh, so what.  It's an easy enough project, you can figure the rest out without pictures, right?  You're smart.


I wasn't super thrilled about knockoff week, I have to be honest.  Have you ever seen a knockoff on here?  And for good reason.  I figure if I fall in love with the real thing, then nothing I could come up with will ever measure up.  So I hem and haw and eventually just give up on the idea.

BUT, I did find this cute little tote on the Downeast website.  And I thought: I could do that!  And I kind of did.  So here it is.

Downeast Basic's Bag:
Tote bag

Tote bag   (see more tote handbags)

They call it the "South of France Tote."

My bag:

I call it Frenchy.  Not quite as upscale.

Start with a simple straw tote - $2 at Target.

Stuff the inside with something you can get painty.  Like a drop cloth.

Spray paint it yellow.  Yea, yellow!

Use a metal craft ring (what the heck are these things really used for anyway?  I honestly don't know.  They aren't embroidery hoops, obviously, and you can find them in the craft store by the leather strips and freaky looking plastic dolls.  Ideas?)... Anyway, use a metal craft ring as a guide for the new shape to the top of your bag.

Use a sharpie to trace around the ring and then angle down a bit to the sides.  Draw straight across the sides, then trace around the ring on the back of the bag and angle down to the sides, then connect the lines.

Cut off the handles.

Cut along the line you traced all around your bag.  Yep, I'm doing this over a trash bag.

Pull out the lining.  

Cut it apart into its separate pieces.

Lay the pieces of lining out on the fabric you're using for lining.

Using the old lining for patterns, cut out the three pieces on your new lining.

 Well, now would maybe be a good time to tell you that my sewing machine was actually out of commission this week.  So I had to figure out how to sew the lining, attach it, attach the fake leather piping, create the handles, and attach the handles - WITHOUT a sewing machine.  Enter: HOT GLUE.

And here's where my phone died.

So.  Hot glue your lining pieces to the inside of your bag, one piece at a time.  Bottom first, then sides.  Fold the edges under and only glue along the edges.  That way there won't be any unfinished edges showing and there will be a little give with the lining.

Sorry, that shot is really blurry.

Next, you'll use the handles from a vinyl bag.  Cut them open and wrap them around two of the metal craft rings from earlier.  Glue them back together.  The rings will give the handles more stability and help them keep the circular shape.

Take leather straps from the jewelry department at your craft store.  Hot glue them around the top of the bag - You may need to do two rows of this to cover the cut straw on the outside and the glued lining on the inside.

Hot glue your circular handles to the bag in the indents.  Use leather strips and piping to cover mistakes.  (You know, if you make any).

For the flower - there's no tutorial there.  I don't even remember how I made it.  I know I cut out 5 large pentagon-ish shapes, then rolled them and bunched them and hand sewed them together.  Then I cut out leaf shapes and sewed them to the back.  I hot glued the messy, bunchy flower to the bag, then hot glued the vintage-y buttons in the middle.

Done.  Cheaper than the $30 price tag, though it may be worth it to just buy it and save yourself the crazy headache of those handles.  Yeah, I hated that part.

PS - If you're wondering, this tote is no longer on Downeast's site.  If you'd like to know more about it, check here:

*Be sure to check just below for all the fun parties I link to!


Little Sprinkles Of Fun said...

Oh how fun is this!! I have seen those at Target! You totally rocked that bag! What a fun make-over!!!

Ashley said...

this is way cool!!! i love it:) knock offs rock!
ps every time i read you blog name it makes me smile....SO DARLING!

Foundinthe-ALI said...

this looks identical! I love it. Great job. Would have never thought to spray it.

Great job.


Unknown said...

LOVE this. wish you had made it to this round--i think it would have won!

Rhiannon said...

really love this bag! can't believe how it started out!

Happy in red said...

Now that's clever! Go you!!
Esther (

Elizabeth said...

That's awesome Kimberly!!! Going to feature it on my FB page today!

Nike@ChooseToThrive said...

You rock. This bag is AWESOME and worth the hassle. I'm not a big yellow fan usually, but I'm smitten with your finished product. LOVE!

Katy said...

Love that color! You did a great job.

Mel Creates Often said...

I'm your newest follower from Homemaker on a Dime's blog hop. I just bought one of these from Target, and knew I wanted to do something just didn't know what. I've favorited this - thanks! Not sure if I can do it, but I'm going to try.

SJ @ Homemaker On A Dime said...

The Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop has grown for the better because of your participation. Thanks for linking up this great post!


How lovely!!!


How awesome is that! I love it! Thanks for sharing.

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