Friday, October 1, 2021

My Turtle Bag Insert UPDATED

I finally broke down and ordered a tote from Turtle Bags Inc.  

This Florida company sells both cross body and tote bags. They come with fabric-covered stiff inserts for the window(s) on one (cross body) or two (tote bag style) sides of the purses.  You can buy extra inserts from the company to change the look of your purse.  

My tote isn't as heavy as it looks but the sides are stiff so it stands up on its own.  Here is a peek at the inside.  The cross body doesn't have the zippered center and only has a display window on one side.  The other side has a zippered pocket.  I like being able to carry a lot of stuff and so far I've not had pilling issues on the handle and the fabric doesn't seem to attract pet hair.  By the way, I'm five feet, four inches tall, so this is a fairly big tote but the handles are the right size for carrying or over the shoulder wear.

In the photo to the right I unzipped the zipper at the top of the display window and pulled the fabric insert that came with my denim bag out partway so you can see it.  You might be able to see the zipper for the other side's display window at the bottom of the picture.  Again, this is the tote bag.  The cross body is slightly different.  Check the company's website for further information and the current colors available.

Of course needle artisans can stitch things for the inserts!  I stitched a Tapestry Fair birdhouse design by Pat Scheurich for mine.  If you are going to stitch your own, the tote bag style display window is roughly 5 3/4 inches wide by 6 3/4 inches tall.  I'm told the cross body bag window is slightly narrower but I don't have those dimensions as I only ordered the larger size.  The outer dimension of the canvas you put in the window should be roughly 7 1/4 inches wide by 9 5/8 inches tall.  I recommend you stitch 2-3 more rows than the window dimension in case the stitched canvas moves a bit or you want to take it out of the  cross body bag and use it in the tote bag.  All I did was fold the raw edges under to fit and stuck the canvas in the window.  

I did cover it with a layer of black tulle first. I had not planned to use this canvas as a purse so it has beads and ribbon embroidery, not the best idea for a purse that will see wear!  The tulle (an idea from Ruth Schmuff of Bedecked and Beadazzled) will help prevent snags but I will replace the canvas with a more sturdy one later once I get it stitched.  

A member of NP Nation recommended putting the fabric insert that comes with the bag in the display window behind the stitched canvas.  This works well to keep the needlepoint from bending away from the sides of the display window or shifting.  

If you aren't good at measuring, Mindy's Needlepoint designs canvases to fit the bags and Mindy also sells the tote bags.  There are six designs available currently.

Stitch by Stitch in Larchmont, NY also sells the bags and has plenty of inserts that fit from a variety of designers.  Your favorite shop can help you pick a canvas as well, even if they don't stock the bags.

This is a fun way to use needlepoint when you are running out of wall or couch space for your stitching.

UPDATE:  I've done two articles about inserting a design in a Turtle Bag. 

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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