Evolution of a Tote – Andrea Quenneville

27 07 2008

Autumn Bliss ToteAbout a decade ago, I borrowed my aunt’s dusty sewing machine and made my first six totes for carrying groceries. The design was simple and the sewing was not very polished, but they went into immediate use. Two were gifts for my mother, and from that time on, she continually asked me to make her more totes. Every few months, I would do just that, using her as my beta tester for every design tweak.

Improvements to my design came in sporadic bursts, but three years ago, I reached a point where I was finally satisfied with the constructability and usability of my market totes. My life had changed drastically since I took the first steps towards creating a marketable product, and it seemed like the right time to start collecting fabric and building an inventory. There were a few bumps along the road and some unexpected delays in setting up shop, but I kept sewing. I learned ways to speed up the production and made the process more financially focused than creatively inspired.

Now that I have a solid product, I feel like it is time to explore my artistic skills and embellish my standard totes. The fabric available today provides endless possibilities and thanks to that, I don’t see myself tiring of the basic design. I’m currently working on my applique skills and learning to fully use all of the features of my sewing machines. I’m excited about this new stage of evolution.

My journey is not very grand compared to that of many artisans, but I feel that it is an excellent path for an at-home mother of four to be traveling. Basing a business on my existing skills and keeping my plans small while dreaming about the future has kept things fairly relaxed. I’m still learning about balance, but that’s another topic for another day!

Please visit Andrea’s blog at http://thoughtsfrommsq.blogspot.com .

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2 responses

27 07 2008
Lori G.

I love totes. And I love your design! Nice big opening and they look nice and sturdy too…very important. I’m a person that likes to carry everything I own with me because you just never know what you’ll need, right? I’d definitely win on Let’s Make a Deal when they ask, “Does anyone have any toothpicks with them today?”

Keep on sewing and showing what you come up with!

29 07 2008
Andrea Q

Thanks, Lori!

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