The six remaining contestants submitted their round three entries yesterday and they are all in it to win it! We were stunned by each and every entry. The It’s a Cinch Tote by Lisa Lam of U-Handbag turned out to be a great challenge and an a fantastic way for the contestants to express their creativity and show off their skills. The workmanship on each and every bag is outstanding and we love the way each contestant’s personality and sense of style shows through. The judges will have their work cut out for them in determining four people to move on to the next challenge.

Click on each contestant’s blog link below for more info and photos.

Remember that you have until September 10 to sew your own It’s a Cinch Tote (discount code below) and submit your  photos to the Community Match for a chance to win some great prizes! (You can still sew an A-line skirt or a Roller Skate Dress too!)

Lori from Girls in the Garden

This was a challenge to make, the design, the fabric and the zippers.  I stitched very slowly as I felt I could not unsew anything, the holes would show in the vinyl.  My patience and slow-pace really paid off, I love my bag, the look, the size and the flower. ”


Kelli True Bias Cinch Tote

Kelli from True Bias

” I think for the prior challenges one way in which I have fallen behind a bit is by being much more simple than the other contestants.  I really like things to be clean and modern, but sometimes that can feel less detailed and less ambitious.  But in the end I decided to stay true to myself.  For me, simple and often solid colored items feel more expensive and more importantly more like something I want to use/wear.  The outside is a textured black and white home dec weight fabric that I found in the garment district.  The accents are all leather which I salvadged from an old leather jacket that my husband found in the trash a few months ago.  The lining is a simple kelly green thick linen for a pop of color.


Charise from Charise Creates

Looking at the pattern and its simplicity, I knew I wanted this project to be about the fabric, special pockets, and custom made accessories to go with the bag.  This bag is on the larger size, so I took the opportunity to add lots of pocket and personalize with the things I most want and often find lacking in a tote bag. This will be my “go to” beach bag for the rest of this summer!!! I love to make bags so this was a particularly fun challenge for me.

(Be sure to check out Charise’s tips for sewing this bag!)

Sue from A Colourful Canvas

” I started with the ultrasuede, and after it was cut, starting cruising the aisles.  The aqua/teal patterned home decor fabric quickly caught my eye, and I immediately loved how it complemented  the teal ultrasuede.  I couldn’t stop there.  Across from the ultrasuedes were several different faux leathers, and I bought a small piece of textured cognac leather.  I also bought a second home decor fabric that goes brilliantly with the cognac leather…You see, I’m already thinking of a future bag project.  As far as the inspiration went, I let the fabric lead the way.  I did some tweaks to the pattern, partly out of necessity, and partly to put my own spin on things.  I love handbags, and making this tote was creative bliss!



Nicole from Nicole at Home

With a simple gray background, a pop of color was definitely needed, so I created a honeycomb-like fabric texture for the middle section. I sewed alternating strips of equal widths of the pink and coral and then stitched in the ditch to raise the coral strips.  Then, with pinning and stitching, I alternated the strips up and down to create the honeycomb. The panel was basted in place on the main gray fabric, before sewing the pocket zipper and straps.




Melissa from Scavenger Hunt

This was actually the first time I’ve made my own piping. It’s pretty easy and really similar to making bias tape.

I decided to add some curved external pockets instead of doing the zipper pocket on the pattern because I thought it would look a little nicer, and I also added a bow, because I love bows! The best thing about it is that it’s actually reversible- you can have either the main wool fabric or the lining showing, depending on the look you want.

Lisa Lam of U-Handbag has generously provided a 20% discount for orders in her pattern shop. You can use it for the It’s a Cinch! Tote pattern or any other pattern you see and love. Use the code “SMSSB” at U-Handbag Patterns. There is no time limit for this discount code.