Saturday, 23 September 2017

The Littlest Production Animal - Genoa Tote in competition

For a few years now I've decided that visiting the Royal Show with children is much more entertaining if you enter something in competition. That way you have to walk right past all the rides and junk food stands to go see mummy's whatever-it-was-that-she-entered. Of course once you're in the Art, Craft and Cookery area the kids end up making pom poms or flower crowns and being amazed by all the decorated cakes, art, textiles, toys, hats, woodwork..... It's great.

Previously I've entered something that was already made and seemed to fit a category, but this year I didn't have anything in mind. At least not until I saw there was a competition class just for tote bags, called "amusingly" Totes Amazing! competition class.

Then, when I saw on Instagram that both Jane and Nicole were going to enter, and both were planning to use the great Genoa Tote pattern by BloglessAnna I had my answer.

I threw my hat in the ring with another Genoa Tote, and in doing so helped to fuel the great Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria Genoa Tote-Off of 2017 or #rasvgenoatoteoff2017

Being a bit canny, I think, to what floats the boat of agricultural type people I thought I'd give my Genoa Tote a bit of a production animal theme. So I'm celebrating that humble little food producer, the honey bee.

I have a Japanese embroidery magazine (Stitch Idees Vol 7) that has sashiko honeycomb stitching on a tote bag and I've always really liked it. Time to make one! That bag has dark brown stitching on a yellow background - a bit bright for me and not anything that I had to hand...

I rummaged in the stash and found this remnant of rust brown denim (previously made into Art Museum trousers) and wouldn't you know it, it was a perfect match for the leather straps that Anna had kindly gifted me when she first released the pattern.

In an extra lucky moment I had just the right amount for a medium sized Genoa Tote. I ruled up my honeycomb and set to stitching...

I decided I needed a honeycomb patterned fabric for the lining and found a great cotton drill at Spotlight.

The honeycomb pattern is in a light bronze/gold metallic print and in another moment of it's-amazing-how-my-stash-can-always-come-to-the-rescue, I found I had just the right amount leftover of a fine, gold cotton voile that I had used to line a dodgy leather bag back here.

Damn, and if it didn't match the printed lining fabric perfectly too! Feeling lucky.

My previous "successes" (we don't mention the number of entrants in a category now, do we?) at the show in the textile competitions (first place for this, and for this) meant that I had to enter the Open Category. While Jane and Nic would battle it out with their totes in the Novice Category.

A bit of self applied pressure had me line my pocket so that there are no exposed seams on the inside of the pocket. The cotton I used is so light, that I interfaced one pocket piece and then lined with non interfaced and it worked perfectly. I also fully enclosed the tab for the key clip so there's no peek of an unfinished side. Easy changes to the pattern that are entirely unnecessary unless you think you are entering into competition with "true ladies of craft" (add your own crashing thunder background noise when you read that).

Of course I may have to admit I have turned, or at least, am turning, into one of those such ladies as we visited the show today to learn my Genoa Tote won first place. :) Congratulations also to Nic and Jane on their beautiful entries and rightly deserved ribbons. I think these bags all need to go out for post show drinks after we collect them!

Much to their delight, the kids entered for the first time and took out a second place in the Anzac Biscuits and a Commendation for some Choc Chip Cookies. We're all feeling pretty clever.

Pattern: Genoa Tote by BloglessAnna
Size: Medium
Notions: Leather straps, rivets and key clip all from BloglessAnna via PatternFantastique. Embroidery thread. Metal zip from my stash.
Fabrics: Stashed denim, Cotton drill lining from Spotlight. Stashed cotton for pocket/key clip
Modifications: Embroidery and lined the pocket and key clip tab


  1. Congratulations to all of you! I love the bee theme

  2. You are all pretty clever! I'm so chuffed you all used my pattern and your talent for ribbon winning entries. I'll be checking my inbox for a post show Genoa drinks gathering.

    1. THanks Anna it was fun, and yes, we were thinking of drinks at The Tote. :) Maybe not the most genteel of venues but just too funny to pass up as a venue.

  3. The crashing thunder approved, congratulations and impressive wins for P and A for their first entry.

    1. THanks Sharon, it is always a delight to see our own stuff at the show and I was excited to see some sewing friends exhibiting as well this year


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