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One of the easiest places to find a rainbow is at The Scrap Box!

Check out our selection of fabric sample books which decorators and upholsterers donate to The Scrap Box when the home decor seasons change: many of these books have solid colored material in an array of colors. Some books display a set of patterns or designs all the same but for different colors.

Recently, I wanted to present a gift to someone who helped The Scrap Box very much. Looking around the store, I was inspired by the display of tote bags. The Scrap Box often has tote bags, sometimes printed for a specific (past) event, misprinted, or unwanted for some other reason.

Fabric sample books are topped with a handle to carry them held in a heavy bookboard “box.” A fine design, but if one wants to use the maximum piece of fabric from the book, it is necessary to take a screwdriver to pull the cardboard apart and remove the long sharp staples which hold the pages of fabric together.

Each piece of fabric also has a paper label describing the fabric, content, color, cleaning code, potential uses, and so on. Usually these labels are impossible to remove, so if one is planning to sew with the material, this bit of the sample is un-useable. In some cases, however, one can carefully peel the label off. In this case, the fabric I wanted to use for the pocket of the redesigned tote came off easily. Just lucky!

Above is the first idea for how I wanted the tote bag to look: I thought I’d like the pocket to be outlined with a rainbow of colored triangles.

To make the triangles, I cut the rainbow samples into 1½-inch strips, folded and sewed them together in a continuous string. Once I cut them apart, and trimmed the folded corners to reduce the thickness at the point of each triangle. I turned each right-side out, and pressed them.

I overlapped the pressed triangles and sewed them to the fabric I planned for the top to the pocket. Once I did that I realized that triangles all round the pocket did not make for a very sophisticated design, to I changed my plan and used a third coordinating black and white fabric to hem the remaining three sides of the pocket.

I found some beads, bits, and bobs to add small decorative accents to the pocket, then sewed the pocket to the bag.

details (click any of the pictures in this post to enlarge):