achievement unlocked: elephant tote bag for ramona

this is one of my projects from late last year that i never wrote about.


i made this before we went to boston for christmas. i had been flipping through the book “little one-yard wonders,” which is all projects for children that you can supposedly make with one yard of fabric. as i recall, there was some project for a kid-sized tote bag. for one reason or another, i didn’t love the pattern in the book, but decided to riff off it to make a little bag for ramona. i had this vision of her walking through the airport, carrying her own snacks & little airplane toys & books herself.

the outer fabric is the same crazy expensive cotton/linen blend i used to make her winter hat & the covers for “ella funt” #1 & a few other things. i had a yard of two left over. i lined the bag with leftover newsprint fabric i used for the sashing on the quilt i made for david & alana for christmas 2013. i also had the (not so) bright idea to put a layer of canvas in there to give the bag a little more structure. the end result is that it’s a little too structured. maybe i should have just used lightweight interfacing. the canvas wound up being just a little too hefty for such a small bag.

in an actual stroke of serendipity, i had that hot pink webbing left over from a thrift store bag i had harvested for sliders when i made my weekender bag in november. the elephant print has some hot pink in it, & green & pink is one of my favorite color combos (regardless of how preppy it is).

i wanted to sandwich the straps between the outer fabric & the lining & turn both under. sounds simple enough, right? it took me FOREVER to figure out how to do it. i wanted to stitch the straps to the lining so all the stitching holding them on would be concealed on the inside of the bag. i did a million mock-ups with paper & finally figured it out. i honestly can’t remember how i managed to do it.


how did i manage this? no clue.

i also made a little button tab using a snap i bought for a jean jacket that has yet to be sewn. there’s a patch pocket inside the bag, & another on the back, with an expandable elasticized pocket perfectly sized to fit ramona’s sippy cups on the front.

at the end of the day, this tote is probably just a hair too big for ramona. she loves it, because she loves carrying bags (she always wants to carry my purse, or help bring in the groceries, etc), & she’ll grow into it. but she needs help getting the strap on to her shoulder. she just doesn’t yet have the coordination to do it herself.

we also had an incident in which she was in the stroller, holding the bag, & i was pushing her up a little hill. if you’ve ever pushed a stroller up an incline, you know that you tend to put a little more shoulder into it than you do just strolling down the street. she dropped the bag & it went under the stroller wheels, which stopped the stroller short, & ramona went flying. she actually caught some air before wiping out on the pavement. she had a little scratch on her chin & was super-sad. because i hadn’t strapped her in! jared was outraged with me, but you know. she’s two. sometimes she wants to ride, sometimes she wants to walk, & it’s easier for me to not have to fuss with straps every time she changes her mind. whoops. she made a speedy recovery once we got to story time & she had a snack in her.

i only have one more unblogged sewing project…not that anyone really cares. not sure who reads this or how interested they are in my sewing. but i like to document everything for my own amusement & edification.

jared gets home from his conference tonight (at like 1am, but still). i am SO RELIEVED. i’ve taken care of ramona for a solo stretch in the past, but i don’t remember it being this exhausting. there’s just so much more whining this time! i guess because she’s truly a toddler & not a baby anymore. she cries about wanting my breakfast instead of hers, or wanting me to lay down on the bed with her while she’s looking at books, or wanting to open the new box of overnight diapers, or because her ukulele is out of tune (really!) & on & on.

my friend ellen came to town yesterday to hang out with us, which was really nice. we took ramona to the park & i got to have an actual adult conversation–with someone i have known since before i had a baby, even! we went out for pizza & ellen stuck around for the bedtime routine so we could have some beers after ramona fell asleep. it’s funny how so often i feel like i don’t want to socialize because i don’t have the energy on top of wrangling a toddler full-time, but i do usually enjoy myself if i make the effort.

bonus ramona photo:

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

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