Maple Skies Farmers Market Tote

As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, Maples Skies is one of my favorite collections.  So when I was choosing a project in the Fabric-by-Fabric One-Yard Wonders book, I decided on the Farmer’s Market Tote bag. 

I thought this was a good project to do using the main focal fabric, Fall Days Multi.  A fun aspect of this book is that it lists many types of projects, in many different types of fabric.  The tote I chose is listed under “Woven Pile” fabrics; I knew my bag would come out slightly different since I’m using our quilting cotton, but that’s okay!

This project is pretty quick (although I’m not quite done and I’ll explain why later), but I’d say the whole thing only takes one day. There are no templates to use, just size measurements to cut.  I decided to change a few things up a bit; the instructions ask for pre-made binding, but I wanted to use a coordinating print, so I made my own binding, using Crimson Berries in Cherry

So, why am I not done?  Well… I don’t have any webbing for the straps (I still need to go buy that).  But also, I’ve been contemplating using the same print I did the binding in, to make the straps with.  Usually when I try to find webbing, the options aren’t the best, so I’m thinking I’ll get a neutral cotton webbing, but sew the Crimson Berries fabric on top.  This way, they’ll be strong, and have the coordinating print to complement the focal print.

Another reason I’m not done is, I wanted to ask your advice.  In the directions, it has you top stitch down the center of the front and back sides, making 2 pockets, but leaves the box pleats to be open.  Because I’m using a finer fabric than what’s initially recommended, I really want to keep the box pleats intact.  So, I have two ideas, 1) tack the pleats down or 2) bind the top with the coordinate Crimson Berries fabric so it keeps the pleats tacked down.  I’m leaning towards the second option since it will be cute to have that fabric pop against the focal.  What do you think??

The image below shows you the coordinating binding in the inside.  (The pattern calls for all inside raw edges to be bound).


  1. Yvonne Jordan - July 18, 2012

    Either will work. I do like contrast idea. Other options might also work such as, putting elastic through the top hem of pockets, of course that sort of kills the box pleat. Berry color buttons in the top corners of the pockets might work. I love both of these prints. Also, you could use a firm interfacing inside to make the fabric more firm as the original one. Just some ideas!

  2. Jenni - July 18, 2012

    Yvonne, those are some great ideas! Thank you!!

  3. Debbie R - July 18, 2012

    I think, for a number of reasons, that you should use the co-ordinating fabric. I love the fabric but you really can’t see the pockets since there is so much going on. The red will make it pop and outline it.

  4. Norine - July 18, 2012

    Hi Jenni,
    I love the fabrics! I think the tote would “pop” with your Crimson Berries binding.
    If you have any fusible fleece, you can use that on the back side of your fabric to make strong matching handles. I just used this method for a bag I made last week and it came out super fun. I used a long strip of fabric, fused it on the back side, folded it over twice and stitched on both sides. The handles are very sturdy and comfortable.
    Have fun finishing this!

  5. Debbie R - July 18, 2012

    I thought about this still and I guess I need to look at the pattern but I’ve made something like this before to hold items next to a crib, As long as you stitch each pocket not on the part that is furthest away but where it meets the purse when it’s folded in. You should have a good pocket. Is this as clear as mud?

  6. Carol Tillis - July 18, 2012

    I like the contrast idea because that fabric is busy.

  7. Jenni - July 18, 2012

    Thanks Norine, Debbie & Carol. Yes, I’m highly leaning towards the contrast too! Thanks for the tips too!

  8. Jen m - August 6, 2014

    I received this book as a gift for Christmas. I am still new to sewing and am making the farmers market tote for a family member. I am having trouble with the last few steps. I have searched the internet for videos but can’t find anything. Is there a tutorial out there that can explain better what I need to do or might possibly have pictures of each step??