I've owned my current project bag going on three years. It's dirty, the seams are splitting, and the straps grow weaker by the day. While I'm likely to continue to abuse it until it actually falls apart, I should make a new one to have on hand for that big sad day when it arrives. I took some measurements from my current bag, increased the depth a bit (in case I want it to hold a few bottles of wine) and started thinking about materials.

I had a stack of cotton "fat quarters" (fabric cut from the bolt in a way that results in a wider rectangle as opposed to a skinny rectangle) that I bought years ago when I had the industrious desire to make a queen-size quilt. I have yet to make the quilt, so I picked a few of the "fat quarters" to use as the liner. I needed to buy everything else: fabric for the exterior, felt for the applique, embroidery floss, and some ribbon.

I've heard rumors of fabulous deals that can be had at Fabric Depot (700 SE 122nd Ave., 252-9530, fabricdepot.com) so I filled the gas tank and headed to the outskirts of town. The storefront is unassuming and pure utilitarian, but once in the door I had to stop and get my bearings.

The sales floor is huge and peppered with sales associates in red vests. They reminded me of little Tim Burton ladybugs as they flitted about the aisles, straightening fabric bolts and winding ribbons. I visualized corduroy for the exterior of the bag and found no less than six rows of every type of wale (texture or weave of a fabric, usually vertical) imaginable. I spied a green-brown (I'm not quite sure which it is) checkered pattern for $10.99/yard and scooped it up.

I also grabbed five colors of 8.5" x 11" acrylic felt sheets for $.39 each, embroidery floss to match (also $.39 each), and a yard each of two different ribbons ($1.13 and $.59 per yard). After an additional 25% off at the register, I made it out of there with everything I needed to make a cool bag for under $15.

Next Week: Applique

Made is a weekly how-to advertising-sales feature that focuses on D-I-Y projects and the local businesses that can help you make them.