After a pretty unsuccessful attempt to repurpose some curtain fabric to make an Everything Tote from Heather Ross' book Weekend Sewing, I had another go with an old thick-weave navy tablecloth. To liven it up a bit I had a go at sewing a pattern on with variegated machine embroidery thread. Although I only used straight and zigzag stitch. I put the variegated thread in the bobbin, so I could draw the pattern on the back of the fabric with a fabric chalk pencil. That's probably not how its supposed to be done, but it worked for me. I just had to hold the fabric flat and stretched while sewing, so it wouldn't pucker. I'm really happy with how it turned out, because I've never drawn my own picture before (I've always copied off something from a book) and I'd never done this sort of machine embroidery/sewing before.
The tote pattern was easy to follow, although I'd lost some enthusiasm over my previous poor fabric choice. I also made the binding bands a bit wider (1cm for the little binding, and 2 for the handles), as I found from my first go that the binding seemed to get very thin very quickly with thicker fabric. I wanted my binding to look like the picture. Also, I did the handles on the grain, not on the bias, as I find bias handles just stretch too thin when carrying something heavy, although I'm sure doing it on the bias would have looked smoother. I really like the bag, and I will make more. The size is great and it will hold alot. Although, I wouldn't mind making a few from thinner fabric, just to see how they turn out.