I've since made 3 and wanted to share a few tips I've come up with along the way.
My first tip involves the general quilt as you go process. I've been noticing lately that the trend is to start with one scrap, quilt it down, then add another, quilt it down, etc (like my photo above). I did one bag this way but quickly realized that while it looks great, it's really time consuming.
Instead I reverted to the traditional quilt as you go method, which is to sew together a block then quilt the block. In this case I wasn't sewing a traditional quilt block but rather a whole bunch of scraps into a slab of fabric roughly the shape of the pattern piece. Working this way is faster and can give a more random look.
Quilt as you go results in some shrinkage of you batting and fabric, so tip number 2 is cut everything that will be quilted a bit bigger than you need then trim it down after the quilting.
For this I used heavier cardstock pattern pieces that I'd cut out. If you think you might make more than one of these totes, I can't recommend a cardstock pattern enough!
Remember when you're picking your colour scheme that it needs to go with your wardrobe! I'm giving the brown version to my mum, who wears a lot of black, often with bits of brown. The blue and grey hexie version is perfect for my wardrobe since they're the neutrals I wear most often (yes, blue is a neutral! Jeans, right?).
This bag isn't very big, but it still can benefit from a bright liner. Why? So you can see things, of course! I've never understood black linings for purses. Everything gets lost.
So, after all that, do you think you can tackle one yourself? If so, good news! The gracious Anna from Noodlehead is offering a free pattern to one of my readers! And to get you started I'm offering a pack of scraps in your choice of colours and 3 of the metallic snap closures called for in the pattern (you just need one but might want to make more than one bag). To enter to win leave a comment letting me know what colours you'd like to use for the bag or who you'd make one for. I'll draw a name on Friday evening. International entries are awesome. No guarantees of a pre-christmas delivery, though.