Happy Flower Quilts: My Big Sister Tote

Hello quilting friends!  In February I was the lucky winner of a beautiful book titled Happy Flower Quilts by Atsuko Matsuyama. Originally published in Japanese in 2009, this popular book was recently translated and released in English, much to the delight of sewists everywhere! Thank you so much to Zakka Workshop (publisher) and Kristyne Czepuryk (editor) who hosted blog hops featuring projects from the book. I won my copy through Kristyne’s blog, Pretty By Hand, a beautiful site filled with inspiring projects.

Happy Flower Quilts includes 30 projects, and at the top of my “must make” list was the Big Sister Tote. This tote is the perfect size to store a few favorite quilting books and my planner, and it was such a rewarding project!

First up, we HAVE to talk about those darling fruit handles, right?  These “Atsuko’s Originals ~ Sweet Fruit Handles” are made by Lecien, and they are featured in several projects in the book.  I found mine through my blog sponsor, My Timeless Day!  I am so delighted that shop owner Allison is carrying these fun fruit handles.  She also has several copies of Happy Flower Quilts available! I hope you’ll zip over to My Timeless Day and check that out!

The Big Sister Tote pattern calls for using prequilted fabric. However, I really wanted to use some Tilda fabric I have been saving (hoarding), so I used Tilda for the main parts of the bag and the pockets, and Moda Cross Weave in sand color for the bottom of the bag and the lining. The construction of this bag is very straight forward, so it is easy to customize it as you’d like. I purchased my Tilda fabric at Willow Cottage Quilt Company

Instead of using batting, I used ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable to give my bag a firmer, sturdier feel.  When I quilted in the Moda Cross Weave area, I used a quilting stitch on my Bernina (#20 on a 145 Activa) with a stitch length of 4.  For thread I selected Aurifil 2000 (light sand) in typical 50 wt, but the selected stitch style gives it thicker floss look.  I’m so pleased with this simple, but classic detail on the bag.

On one side of the bag, I added a leather “handmade” bag tag.  I want to give a quick shout out to the Etsy shop that carries these pretty tags: Daily Like Canada. I attached the tag using Aurifil\’s Aurifloss 2425 (bright pink).

After I had completed my bag, I also made a simple zipper pouch with some left over Tilda and Cross Weave, and a fun lace zipper.  This pouch will store some planner doo-dads and markers.  I don’t have a pattern to share for this pouch; it was a bit of Sunday afternoon improv, which is perhaps the best kind of sewing!

I have to share one other bitsy project I made from the Happy Flowers Quilt book, a teensy tiny flower pincushion.  At 1 1/2” wide (yes!), this pincushion is actually part of a sewing kit project in the book.  But I was inspired by Kristyne to make one just for fun.  So this little gal sits on my desk on a pretty little mug run and just makes me smile! Secret:  those little green leaves look tricky, but they were so simple!

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today.  I hope you found something to inspire you on your sewing journey, and I hope you get carried away quilting real soon!

16 thoughts on “Happy Flower Quilts: My Big Sister Tote

  1. This is one of the prettiest tote bags I've seen! All the details, right down to your specific quilting stitches, makes this bag just perfect! You will never cease to amaze and inspire me, Taunja!

  2. Hello Taunja, your bag is beautiful, the fabrics you used are so pretty and those handles are just adorable. You sure do make some pretty things.

  3. Love your tote bag & the fabrics!!!—so yummy! The zipper pouch is adorable. did the zipper come with the lace already attached? If so where did you find it, if you don't mind my asking.

  4. Such a beautiful bag… and that \”handmade\” tag, super cute!! Love the matching zipper pouch, and please don't get me started on that adorable little pincushion! Thank you for your posts! I can live my quilting life vicariously through you!! 😉

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