Amy Butler's Chelsea Tote
One of my favorite sewing patterns to relax with is Amy Butler's Chelsea Tote. This pattern is available in 2 sizes. I made the larger size for a knitting tote and have received many requests from friends for a Chelsea of their own. Of those who can sew, I tell them about the pattern and offer these tips for sewing up a Chelsea easier.
• I have read some suggestions about not marking on the outside of the fabric, as Amy suggests, and I disagree with Amy with stipulations. I used a water soluble marker and mark on the outside and then spritz it with a water bottle afterwards and it all turns out great. Some bloggers are of the mind that you would need to wash the bag afterward to get the marker off. I recommend you just spray it lightly, it disappears and your bag is good to go.
• FRAY CHECK- buy some and use it! I used it along my cut lines before top stitching the handles and then again in the corners after stitching. However, I have a suggestion on the handle too, if you will read below, but if you follow the Chelsea directions to the "T" then use the fray check as suggested above.
• Fabric glue or just a plain old glue stick. On my next Chelsea, I would use glue to keep the handles in check and then construct the bag as instructed without topstitching the handles. Then once you get to the part where you are attaching the reversible side to the outside there will be no stitching on your handles. This is when you top stitch around the top of the bag to finish it off, then top stitch the handles or if you prefer hand stitch the handles together. I feel that this will insure that your handles have a nice clean look. I cannot get my topstitching on both the lining and outside to match up and couple that with the fact that I am matching up handle holes at the same time. This will cut down on stress and guarantee a nice finish.
I recommend using quilting cotton to make sure you find the perfect print for your Chelsea bag.