Panda Birthday Tote

My sister Kathy’s birthday is coming up in August, and I had planned quite a while ago that I would make her one of my market totes for her gift.  She is pretty hard to shop for since she is one of those people who has everything.  I don’t think she reads my blog regularly, so I think I am pretty safe writing about it here 🙂

I decided I wanted to make her tote with one of the cool Japanese import fabrics that I talked about in a previous post.  I settled on an 85% cotton 15% linen blend with a cute panda print by Kayo Horaguchi.

The fabric features pandas, giraffes and rabbits pushing carts of flowers.  I think that the name of this print is called “Selling flowers”, and my first thought when I saw it was that it was somewhat strange but very whimsical.  I loved it, and I thought that it would be perfect for a unique tote bag.  And the weight is right, too, for a sturdier bag.
I was a little bit puzzled when trying to decide how to cut out the bag pieces because of the way the pattern is laid out.  The pattern repeats about every 10″ (maybe more).  However the repeat is printed in the reverse direction, as shown in the following image, which I thought was a little bit odd.  I wanted all the animals to be right side up on the bag, but since the bag is 15″ wide, I would have to settle with some of them being upside down.  I figured that as long as the big panda is right side up, it should look okay!

Here are some close ups of the animals — very cute!
I chose a solid dark green cotton broadcloth for the lining.  I looked initially at different patterns for the lining, but there is so much going on in the main fabric that the solid color ended up to be the better choice. 
Here is how the bag turned out.  I am very happy with it, and I hope that Kathy is too!

Close up of one of the side pockets

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