some time ago, i bought the best fruits and vegetables fabric.  it’s probably my favorite fabric ever, but i struggled with how to use it.  it didn’t seem like an entire fruits and vegetables quilt made sense.  (though, i think i should stop thinking that quilts should always make sense.)  after much contemplation, i decided to make a tote bag.  since i gave the tote to pammy for mother’s day (albeit two weeks late) it has become her aldi’s tote because aldi’s is her preferred place for buying produce.

this tote was a little bit outside of the box for me.  i like making quilts and i typically do not like making quilted things.  but, this was a fun challenge.

photo(1) photo(2)

nick’s commentary on the tote was: “it’s very bright.”  followed by: “is pammy actually going to use this?”  it is bright! and, she better use it!

i didn’t want to use a pattern with super small pieces because i wanted the fruits and vegetables to be on full display.  i decided to go with the pattern “wiggling” from modern one-block quilts by natalia bonner and kathleen whiting.


the pattern was pretty simple and went together relatively quickly.

then, i got a little wild with the quilting.  i used my free-motion foot and quilted concentric, spiral squares on each fruit/vegetable, using a corresponding color of thread.  as i said — wild!  the quilting was fun and it gave me new confidence in my free-motion skills.

after the quilting was complete, i turned to actually constructing the tote.  i used this pattern, which is actually for a beach bag.  a really big beach bag, it turns out!

IMG_1693go ahead, call me vera.




the construction of the tote had some ups and downs, of course.  the binding was the hardest part.  first, by the time the binding went on i was sewing through many layers of fabric.  like, 6 layers of fabric.  second, the binding had to curve around the shape of the sides, which was challenging, and which required lots of pins, which, in turn, led to bleeding fingers.  also, these are definitely not my best binding corners.


that being said, i think this tote turned out okay!  i made one addition to the pattern.  i decided to line the tote with rip stop, a water resistance, nylon fabric.  that way, pammy can easily wipe out the inside of the tote if it gets dirty.  and, damp produce will not (hopefully) result in a soggy quilted tote.


this was a fun project.  and, i’m sure pammy will have heads turning in the grocery store.




6 thoughts on “totes.

  1. I love my tote. It works very well at aldi’s. Even has a side pocket to hold my aldi’s quarter. I feel super cool when I have it slung on my shoulder. Think I’ll go hit up some farmer markets. Thanks darling.

  2. great tote — that’s the one thing I haven’t made out of the fruit and veggie prints — I have summer valances, pillows, and two summer quilts made out of them!! You can see some of them on my blog if you are still looking for ideas!

  3. I think the pattern worked perfectly for all the prints and the tote is nice. I’ve been a big fan of the fruit and veggie fabrics and after collecting a bunch finally realized they didn’t all have to be in one quilt. I went on to make several different ones; citrus, berries, salad, tomatoes and have a few more I’d like to do still. You can see some of them on my blog if you’re interested.

    1. the tote was a fun project, but i kind of wish i had just gone for a full blown quilt. i still have some scraps left so maybe i will try to incorporate those into a quilt one day. thanks for visiting!

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