Skyline Tote Bag

Every year, my friends have an intensely festive Christmas party that involves the exchange of Secret Santa gifts. A lot of thought is put into these gifts—recipient names are usually drawn about a month in advance. Expectations run high, and those who fail to measure up are never allowed to forget it. Good-humored but merciless mocking is as much a holiday tradition as the exchange itself.

This year, I played Santa to a friend who is originally from St Louis but who now lives in Chicago—she loves the two cities. Inspired by pillows on Etsy, I decided to create something that incorporated both skylines.

This gift exchange also has a strict budget. I bought a large button-down shirt at a thrift store for $3 and used that as the primary material. I zig-zag stitched the skyline effect and then sewed up a tote bag loosely based on this tutorial.

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Chicago on one side…

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St Louis on the other. I also added the pocket from the button-down shirt as an external pocket. Crazy easy.

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Detail of stitching.

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