Jewelry Fabrication Class: the hammered band ring

No, that doesn’t mean I was hammered while making it. Drunk knitting? No problem. Drunk metalsmithing with blowtorches and sharp tools? Definitely not. 🙂

You may have seen my posts about the wax casting classes I took at Jewel Envy. I enjoyed them so much I signed up for a jewelry fabrication workshop. Here’s the difference: in casting, we learned how to carve things like rings or charms from wax or cuttlefish bone, which were then cast in metal. In fabrication, we’re learning how to cut/shape/connect jewelry from sheets of metal or metal wire.  So we started off practicing drilling, piercing, and sawing metal, along with the processes used to shape and polish. We also learned how to solder two pieces of metal together, or to connect a ring cut from a flat sheet of silver.

Practicing piercing, sawing and soldering on copper sheet metal

Practicing piercing, sawing and soldering on copper sheet metal

Our first project in this class was a band ring which we worked on over the course of a couple of classes. You start by determining what ring size you need to end up with and how wide you want the band to be and based on that and some math you figure out what size rectangle of silver sheet to cut. Then it’s a million years of filing to get each end of the rectangle to be an exact right angle to the long edge, so that when you bend the rectangle into a ring shape the two ends will align perfectly, which will allow you to make a seamless solder connection. Before you can bend the metal into a ring shape, you have to anneal (soften) the metal by heating it in a blowtorch flame. After it cools you can use pliers to bend it into a D-shape to make soldering the seam easier.

Sawing the silver sheet metal to size

Sawing the silver sheet metal to size


It feels kind of glamourous to be covered in silver dust!

The D-shaped ring, ready to be soldered.

The D-shaped ring, ready to be soldered.

After soldering the seam, reshaping it into a perfect circle by hammering it into shape on a mandrel (a solid metal cylinder used for sizing rings), and cleaning & polishing, I needed to stretch the band a bit bigger to fit. They say it’s better to make a ring a little too small rather than too big, as it’s much easier to stretch it after the fact than to reduce it in size. Funny, my previously-uninformed instinct would have told me that it’d be the other way around. Anyway, there’s a neat little machine that you can put the ring on to stretch it, only after stretching mine a bit a crack appeared at the solder seam. So I resoldered it, and cleaned and polished again. Here’s what I wound up with:

The silver band ring

The silver band ring, before adding a textured finish.

I’m pleased that you can’t tell at all where the solder seam was.

On a side note, while we were all working away on our rings, the woman who runs the place told us she’d had a group of women in for a workshop as a kind of hen party or stagette or maybe as a thank you event for a bridal party. She said that a large number of the women were initially afraid to try sawing the metal. AFRAID. To touch a saw. And when I say saw, I don’t mean a 7,000 horsepower chain saw like a lumberjack in BC might use — we’re talking a little jeweler’s saw with a blade on it the width of a piece of string (see pics above). I have a bit of a hard time understanding how a person — forget about gender — can grow to adulthood without ever having used a tool. I’m trying not to be too judgmental but — aw, fuck it, I’ll be judgmental. That’s disgraceful. It’s evidence of how far off the charts modern society has brought us that adult humans not only don’t know how to use a simple tool but could even be afraid of using a simple saw. I mean, what will these people do when the Zombie Apocalypse comes? Granted, metal smithing is messy work and maybe these women had just had manicures and didn’t want to mess up their nails. (Which is actually further evidence of the decline of modern society.) These are the kind of people I want to smear dirt on. Um, in the nicest possible way, of course. A-hem.

Back to the ring. Next I put the ring on a mandrel and used a ball-peen hammer to gently create texture on the surface of the band. If you hammer too hard, it will stretch out the metal and mess up the sizing of the ring. Hammering was one option for creating texture but there was also sandblasting, crosshatching or even imprinting a texture onto the metal by rolling it through a metal press (although this last one would have to be done at the start of the process, not at the end. Unless you want to flatten your piece into roadkill.)

Adding a hammered texture to the ring.

Adding a hammered texture to the ring.

The last step was to use Grey Star and then Rouge on the buffing wheel for a shiny polished finish. Et voila! The finished ring.

The finished band ring

The finished band ring

The finished band ring.

The finished band ring. There’s a tiny elf in the foliage just outside the frame admiring it!

The finished band ring

I’ll be making two more projects in this class. One will be a silver pendant and the other maybe a silver cuff bracelet…not sure yet. Will keep you posted with pics as I finish the projects.

Iceland: Knit Inspiration

Around this time last year I was on vacation in Iceland. It’s one of the few places I’ve been where I decided I had to come back, and soon, as soon as I returned home. What an amazing country! It’s remote, sparsely populated, has incredible landscapes and seascapes, good food, and it’s easy to get around. Everywhere you go, there is yet another unusual vista, or a steaming volcanic vent, or a glacier, or fjord, or black lava field, or rolling field, or waterfall, or geothermal pool, or geyser…

The bay at Djupavik

The bay at Djupavik, Iceland

A black lava beach in Iceland

A black lava beach in Iceland, not far from Grindavik

Fields full of purple lupines in Iceland

Fields full of purple lupines in Iceland

There’s a huge knitting culture in Iceland (however I’m told that the ‘traditional’ Icelandic sweater was really only popularized around the 1950’s). I think there are probably more knitting & yarn shops per capita in the capital city Reykjavik than anywhere else in the world. You can buy lovely wool cardigans, sweaters, shawls and dresses just about anywhere you go, mostly made from the traditional Icelandic yarn Lopi. As Knitting Iceland, which is “a place to knit” and runs knitting-themed tours of Iceland, puts it on their website, “On every corner you’ll find people wearing Lopi sweaters and sheep are never too far away and you’ll even get yarn and knitting needles in most grocery stores around the island.” True dat. I even saw yarn-bombed objects such as telephone poles in tiny little hamlets just about everywhere I went. I’m pretty sure that on the third day of being in Iceland I declared to my husband that I had found my spiritual homeland!

I have a friend who used to knit a lot with Lopi because it has good water-repellent properties. Secretly I thought she was nuts because Lopi is — let’s face it — the scratchiest wool in the universe. But I was inspired to try knitting with it during my visit in Iceland. So I went to the Alafoss outlet just outside of Reykjavik in Mosfellsbaer and bought some balls of Lopi for a very good price, that I would knit into this cardigan. It’s from the Brynja pattern by Helene Magnusson.

Brynja cardigan in Lopi

The Brynja Cardigan in Lopi


To my surprise, this is one of my most-wearable, favourite garments I’ve knit! Despite being fairly itchy, the Lopi yarn has great structure and has retained its shape without sagging or pilling over numerous wears. This is my number one issue with most of the sweaters I knit — they look like a hobo’s been living in them after only a few wears. Not so this cardigan. And the itch-factor isn’t really an issue, since I’m always wearing it over something else. Some knitters who use Lopi swear by soaking the sweater in water and hair conditioner to soften the fibers; I haven’t tried this myself.

The four-petal rose is a traditional Icelandic motif found in the 'sjonabok', a collection of charted patterns from the 17th, 18th, & 19th centuries.

The four-petal rose is a traditional Icelandic motif found in the ‘sjonabok’, a collection of charted patterns from the 17th, 18th, & 19th centuries, according to pattern designer Magnusson.

Brynja sweater - ribbon detail

Close-up of the ribbon detail. The ribbon helps to stabilize the button band so the snaps don’t pull the yarn out of shape when opened.

That pink ring in the last picture, BTW, is also from Iceland. I bought it at a jewellery shop called Gullkunst Helgu on the main shopping street in Reykjavik. Their designs are absolutely stunning, and, I’m told, are inspired by the landscape and geography of Iceland itself. The uneven, ‘extruded’ look of the silver on this ring is meant to be reminiscent of the rugged lava field landscape. I just love it. But I had a hard time settling on one piece to buy as I thought all their designs were amazing. Here’s a closer look at this ring design from a photograph on Gullkunst Helgu’s website:

Ring designs by Gullkunst Helgu

Ring designs by Gullkunst Helgu. Photo from their website at

Iceland inspired a few knitting projects which I hope to share with you, along with more pics of this amazing country, in future posts. Here are a couple more pics in the meantime.

Below is Freyja, the happiest dog in the world. She lives at the Hotel Djupavik, and spends her days chasing birds, eating sheep shit, and taking visitors on walking tours of the area. I have never met a more energetic and all around groovy dog. I adore the name Freyja, which is the name of an Old Norse goddess.

The happiest dog in the world

The happiest dog in the world at what they call “the loneliest hotel in the world”

A view up one of Reykjavik's downtown streets, looking at the Hallgrimskirkja reflected in the near-midnight sun.

A view up one of Reykjavik’s downtown streets, looking at the Hallgrimskirkja (Church of Hallgrimur) reflected in the near-midnight sun.

Have you been to Iceland? Have you tried knitting with Lopi?

Twig Necklace

Who gets a cold in summer? Me! That’s who! So as I’ve been dragging my ass around the house for the last couple of days, I thought I’d better try doing something productive other than napping and sipping tea. Hence the twig necklace. I’m sure my husband would much rather I went to get groceries to replenish our empty cupboards instead. But I’ll contemplate that during my next nap.

Twig Necklace

Twig necklace

This design is from the book Wrapped in Gems by Mai Sato-Flores. I did it as a kind of a trial run for a more expensive version I’d like to make. This one is made of some cheap Chinese crystal teardrops and 28 gauge bright blue wire that I already had (both purchased at my favourite bead shop in Toronto, Arton Beads). It was a really quick process — maybe only 30 minutes total. I put it on a silver chain but this might look better on a pretty blue ribbon necklace.


Twig necklace

The design in the book uses sterling silver wire and peridot gems. It called for 25″ of wire, but I had to use twice as much wire to wrap the whole thing. That would get pretty spendy pretty quickly in silver. I’m also a bit reticent to have to deal with silver wire getting ‘work-hardened’, as I’m prone to bouts of zealous sloppy wrapping which necessitate unwrapping and re-doing. I hear that’s a lot more tricky with wire that doesn’t stay soft after it’s been worked. Still, I think this design would be much prettier with silver wire.

The book has lovely photographs of the author’s designs but the instructions are mainly text-based and lack illustrations of the steps. Which is not a huge problem, as most of the procedures aren’t rocket science and you can mostly work out what to do by looking at the photo of the finished object. There are a couple of other designs from the book I’d like to try, including the Tree Branch necklace pictured below.

Wrapped in Gems by Mai Sato-Flores

Tree Branch Necklace

The Tree Branch Necklace

Off to put the kettle on for a cuppa. I’m sure we’ll survive if we order pizza for dinner.

The Crooked Pocket Tote Bag Conundrum

I had some fun the last couple of days putting together a basic tote bag for my niece (by request from her). It came out pretty big; I’m hoping it’s not too big for her 11-year-old frame. Because to make it the right size would have required me to actually plan out its finished size and then, um, MEASURE the damn pieces, which always just seems so, well, measurey-measurey, and who needs that? (A-hem, I think maybe I do.)

Tote Bag

Anyway, I made it reversible, but at the last minute I couldn’t help but install a magnetic snap on the inside–they’re just such a nice touch on a bag and add a bit more professionalism. I suppose it could still be flipped inside out if my niece really wanted to and didn’t mind that the snaps would show on the outside.

Tote Bag lining

Speaking of professionalism (pfffft), I sewed the contrasting pocket on crooked! Here’s how pathological I am when I’m working on something and don’t want to be ‘slowed down’. I pinned that damn pocket without checking whether it was truly centred or straight. I just EYEBALLED it, fercrissake. And it didn’t even occur to me while doing so that maybe I should double check that it was in the right place. Pathological. Really, I’m thinking about renaming this blog Measure Once, Cut Twice.

Tote Bag with crooked pocket!

Tote Bag with crooked pocket!

So now I have this birthday present for my niece with a crooked pocket on the outside. What would you do? These are the options:

I’m heavily leaning towards — surprise! — the last option. Happy birthday, kid! Just don’t look too closely at your present!

Tote Bag

GFY, Pinterest

Growing up, I had a friend who was very particular about how she dressed. She was very detail oriented, was hyper-aware of appearances, and was generally perfect and pristine. I admired her style but often I had to fight an instinct to rub dirt on her.

I feel the same way about Pinterest. I love Pinterest as a tool for bookmarking and organizing ideas and inspiration (Lately I’ve been regularly pinning to my ‘sewing’ board, among others, as a way to keep track of the patterns I might like to make and the fabrics I come across online). But sometimes when I just log in to see what’s been pinned lately in general, I am bombarded with images of domestic bliss that pretty much no one could ever actually live up to, and my dirt-smearing instincts kick in. They are beautiful images, and they make me feel vengeful. You know, because beautiful things are supposed to make you angry, right?

Here are a few images I’ve wanted to metaphorically rub dirt on lately:

Because everyone has time to cut individual banana slices into the shape of flowers for breakfast.

Because everyone has time to cut individual banana slices into the shape of flowers for breakfast.

Elf donuts, “to leave out with cookies for Santa”. Because carefully frosting fucking Cheerios is a real nerve-balm at Christmas time.

Home-made popsicle memory cards. Someone actually wrote "so easy!" on this one. Like it wouldn't take you all day to make those so perfectly and your kid wouldn't have them wrecked within 5 seconds.

Home-made popsicle memory cards. Someone actually wrote “so easy!” on this one on Pinterest. Jerk. Like it wouldn’t take you four days to make those so perfectly and your kid wouldn’t have them wrecked within 5 seconds.

And if you, too, enjoy being cynical about Pinterest, make sure you check out the “Pinterest vs. Reality” board on which Pinterest fails are hilariously documented.

Summer Knitting: yea or nay?

I have ‘crazes’, as my husband calls them. I get interested in something and become completely obsessed about it until it no longer interests me. Knitting became a craze for me in 2009 or so, and it’s actually stuck, long past most of my best before craze dates. So because I had to have something on my knitting needles ALL. THE. TIME., I naturally included summer garments in my repertoire. I’m not sure I’m going to keep that up, though. I haven’t had much luck in the ‘yes, I’m going to wear this a lot’ department for the summer clothes I’ve knit.

This one looked at first like it was in the running for lots of wear. It’s a lovely lightweight jacket made from Drops Design pattern 108-33 using Katia “Sombra” yarn, a slubby, linen-nylon-cotton blend. I’m always drawn to asymmetrical designs like this. But it’s a design you kind of have to be careful wearing — the bottom front gapes open (despite the button I added on the inside to keep it in place). So this is now in the ‘probably destined for Goodwill’ pile.

"Lin" jacket from a Drops design pattern

“Lin” jacket from a Drops design pattern

Lin jacket - back view

Next up is the always ill-advised sleeveless turtleneck in wool. When would anyone ever wear such a combination? It’s no good for fall or winter for obvious reasons, and wool + turtleneck x summer = stupid. This is from the pattern Perfect Periwinkle Turtleneck Tube Vest from Stephanie Japel’s book Fitted Knits. I really love the design, though, and it does have fairly mystical boob-enhancing properties. And it was an easy knit. Some knitters on Ravelry have added sleeves to theirs, which is brilliant. File this one under looks-great-but-impractical-to-wear.

The "Perfect Periwinkle Turtleneck Tube Vest" pattern, in turquoise Cascade 220 wool.

The “Perfect Periwinkle Turtleneck Tube Vest” pattern, in turquoise Cascade 220 wool.

The "Perfect Periwinkle Turtleneck Tube Vest" pattern, in turquoise Cascade 220 wool.

Here’s another cute top, the Cowl Shell by Myrna Batten, this time in 100% silk. This is more workable than the wool top above, but I still find it too warm for sleeveless days. I knit this 2 years ago, before I discovered that silk yarn groooooooows with wear and washing. I guess that’s why smart people always tell you to wash your gauge swatch. I’ve never done that in my life — it’s anathema to my oh-my-god-I-have-to-start-knitting-that-pattern-RIGHT-NOW nature. So this photo was taken as soon as I finished knitting it, when it was a good size XS and fit me, and now I’d say the top is about a Medium. Still wearable…let’s just call it ‘drapier’.

Silk Cowl Shell pattern by Myrna Batten

Silk Cowl Shell pattern by Myrna Batten


And that’s my cat Mitzi. She’s a cute pea.

So as I learn more over the years of knitting about what works and doesn’t work, I’m thinking of abandoning summer knits. Which is not to say I won’t be knitting in summer — I’ll just be sweltering over an aran-weight cabled cardigan in a 35 degree heat wave. And I will always be annoyed that all the knitting magazines have to publish their requisite ‘spring summer’ editions full of patterns I will never knit or wear. Why don’t they put some winter patterns in those magazines? I mean, it can take me several months to knit a sweater, so doesn’t it make sense to start one in June so it’ll be ready when the cool Fall weather hits?

What about you? Do you like wearing handknits in summer? What are your favourite projects?

And now here is a completely gratuitous picture of my other cat, Lexie.

Cat Toes!

Cat Toes!

Hey Vogue Knitting, I want my 5 bucks back

Have you seen the hot mess that is the Vogue Knitting Early Fall 2013 edition?

I’m usually happy to buy a download of Vogue Knitting without having first eyeballed the patterns before parting with my cash — usually there are some great patterns and it’s certainly worth a few dollars. But I have three words for you about this issue (or, ok, a few phrases with 3 words in each of them):

Knitted. Varsity. Jackets.

Intarsia. Animal. Faces.

Cropped. Wool. Sweaters.

This is a joke, right? The new April Fools’ Day is in now in June, right?

Just LOOK at these designs.

Vogue knitted varsity jacket. Um, no.

Vogue knitted varsity jacket. Um, no.

More ill-advised varsity jacket designs.

More ill-advised varsity jacket designs.

I’m sure the folks who designed these are smart, talented designers, and did what they could under the circumstances when a Vogue Knitting editor said to them, ‘hey, guys, we’re going in a really exciting direction this time. For this issue we’re gonna do VARSITY JACKETS!’.

Now get a load of this. It has all the latest essential design elements stylish gals want: it’s a vest! It’s a vest with a zipper! It’s made from Christmas colours! And who can resist a green and white puppy! Is this really in Vogue magazine??

A chunky, zippered Christmas vest with a puppy on it. You heard me right.

A chunky, zippered Christmas vest with a puppy on it. You heard me right.

Whoo boy.

Whoo boy.

And there are some cropped sweaters that, to be fair, are lovely if you like cropped sweaters. I don’t see the point of them, personally — if it’s cold enough for a sweater I’d like it to cover my whole torso. I don’t need people wondering aloud, as they do when you tell them you made the cropped sweater you’re wearing, ‘what happened — did you run out of yarn?’.

Here’s a lovely scarf from this issue. I think it’s really sweet that the staff at Vogue Knitting let their kids submit projects from their home ec class.

Screen Shot 2013-06-21 at 12.47.05 PM

Really, these designs are the kind of things that modern knitters spend their time trying to convince others that knitting is NOT all about.

Ok, I think that’s all the snark I can safely afford to withdraw from the Karma bank for now. Here’s the pattern that I would consider knitting from this issue. I like the clean lines, and of course, the colour blocking.

Screen Shot 2013-06-21 at 1.56.38 PM

But ultimately I kinda feel like I want my 5 bucks back.

How about you? What do you think of the patterns in this issue?

60’s Revival: mod dress & fabrics

This amazing vintage pattern just arrived in my mailbox, and when I find the right fabric I’m going to sew the shit out of it!

60s Sheath Dress from vintage Butterick pattern

60s Sheath Dress from vintage Butterick pattern

Props & gratitude to Colleen from Proctor Creations on Etsy, as not only did she wrap this up in the cutest package, AND enclose a lovely thank you card that was made from what appears to be an original photograph she took, she also sent me a second vintage pattern for free! What a nice gal. That would only happen on Etsy.

I love the drop waist and contrasting wide belt, and the contrasting collar on View B. I’ve been trolling the interwebs for some mod fabric for this. Here are some options so far. Which one would you choose?

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 2.09.01 PM

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 2.08.48 PM

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 2.09.24 PM

Maybe these are all a little too loud, too “hey look at me–I’m a 60s mod dress!”.  Maybe I should just stick with a solid colour. But it would be so hard to do that with these awesome mod prints in front of me! Advice needed!

If this project turns into a sewing disaster, like so many other projects that were brilliant in theory and poor-to-awful in practice, then perhaps I’ll consider buying a frock from instead. Have you seen their amazing 60’s dresses? I had a bit of a major squeeeeee when I came across their website.

marmalade-shop dresses

marmalade-shop dresses

Paneled Sheath Dress: sewing success!

This may be the most flattering dress I’ve worn in a long time. It’s from the downloadable Burda pattern #122A  and, as Clio on her Clio & Phineas blog put it, has “mystical bum enhancing properties”. Definite agree on that one! I wore it last week to my students’ convocation ceremony and got a ton of compliments on it. Don’t you love being able to tell people that you made it when they tell you how nice something you’re wearing is?

Paneled Sheath Dress

I sewed it with coral Ponte de Roma fabric (which looks much pinker in these photos; really it’s closer to orange*). It’s the first time I’ve sewn with Ponte de Roma, and I really love it! For a stretchy fabric it has really good ‘body’ and ‘weight’ (if I’m even using those terms right…I’m sure they mean something more specific to real sewists) and was really easy to sew.

Paneled Sheath Dress

Bonus for me: the pattern is sized for petite, so it came out well on my 5’4″ frame. Normally I’m not a big fan of skirt hems that fall below the knee, and I figured I would shorten it, but I went with the pattern length and I’m glad I did.

Paneled Sheath Dress

The neckline has a little wonk in it…the fabric pooches out a bit to the left, and I think that’s probably because I let one piece of fabric stretch more than the other as it went through the sewing machine, making the seam a bit off. But I’m rollin’ with it! I don’t like to mess with a good thing…better is the enemy of good, and all that. 🙂

I also found that the back neckline really pooched out a lot when I first sewed it. I ended up having to put two vertical darts in the upper back piece to correct this. Turned out just fine, and even goes well with all the other seams on the garment. Another modification I made was to leave off the bias tape at the armpits. I had trouble with the instructions for the armscythes and sleeve caps (as many others seem to have, as evidenced on Pattern Review), so kind of ignored the instructions and wung it. (Is that a word? I don’t think so, but it should be.)

The shoes go really well, don’t you think? Best part: I *won* them! In a twitter contest! They’re by Ciel Bleu, a fairly new shoe company. I had ‘liked’ them on Facebook, and one day there was a post from them that they were giving away a pair of these shoes to someone who tweeted a favourite quote. Since they didn’t yet have many followers on Facebook or Twitter, I figured my chances were pretty good. Fifty-fifty, as it turned out, as only two people tweeted, and I won the shoes! Woo-hoo! The shoes originally came with a nude-coloured ribbon, but I picked out some coral ribbon from Mokuba for a slightly different look. Love them!

"Trace Lava" shoes by Ciel Bleu

“Trace Lava” shoes by Ciel Bleu

I was really inspired by Clio’s colour-blocked version of this dress, and had bought some mustard yellow fabric for a contrasting colour but decided against it in the end. Perhaps another, colour blocked version of this dress is in my future!

*Here’s a pic in which the colour is true.

Paneled Sheath Dress - the actual colour

Tote Bag by Request

My 11-year-old niece, who lives in Beijing, came for a sleep-over visit yesterday. She and I are like two peas in a pod: both really into creative, crafty things. She dutifully said “that’s cool!” and “awesome!” to all the handmade stuff I showed her (knitting, jewelry, sewing), and we spent time making bracelets and necklaces together.

I suggested that we could sew a bag for her and she got really excited. We drew some ideas and decided it had to be big enough for her to carry her books and laptop (that kid’s got a MacBook Pro — sheesh), so a tote bag it is. At first she decided she wanted it made from the leftover green woodgrain fabric I used in my retro tank top, but when we brought it to the fabric store to find matching lining fabric, all bets were off. Like a good little mini-me she lost her marbles when we went into The Workroom and she saw all the cute cotton prints, and we spent quite a while choosing her favourites.

Let me introduce you to The Workroom’s resident dog. I’m assuming this must be either Gordon or Maisy, judging by the sign on the front door. S/he is sporting a lovely cotton apron.(!) Through the glass you can just make out the shelves of colour-coordinated fabric on the left wall.

The resident dog at The Workroom in Parkdale

The resident dog at The Workroom in Parkdale

And here’s the fabric my niece decided on for her bag. She’s got a good eye for colour, that one.

Blue & white cotton prints for the tote bag.

Blue & white cotton prints for the tote bag.

We bought the nylon strapping at Designer Fabrics just a few doors down. It’s navy blue, but it was the closest match we could find.

By the time we finished our fabric shopping it was time for my niece to go back to her family, so we decided I would sew the bag for her and give it to her for her birthday in July. I’m thinking I’ll go with a simple rectangle shape, fold a pleat at the corners to give it a few inches of width at the sides, and either make it reversible or perhaps make it one-sided and put a magnetic snap closure on the inside at the top. I’ve often used New Look 6467 (View A) to make tote bags, but I’m thinking I’ll just wing this one. What would you do with it? Do you have a favourite go-to bag pattern?

The New Look 6467 bag pattern that I've used a lot in the past.

The New Look 6467 bag pattern that I’ve used a lot in the past. View A is my fave.