Proto tote with stuff in

Another Sew What Bags experiment. This time with a tote bag. I have some fabric that I think will be perfect for a tote bag, but I wanted to experiment and try my hand first. So, with a couple of hours free on New Year’s Eve afternoon I figured it was as good a time as any.

I had a piece of grey fabric - measuring 26.5” x 20” - and some african animal grey fabric (bought at Ally Pally in 2012) — measuring 44” x 20” — which I’d chosen to use. I decided to aim for a bag of 11.75” squared — as this was the maximum height I thought I could get out of the grey fabric. So, I cut the width down to 12.75”. I made the straps 37.5” long — allowing 12” for the hand holdy bit.

The straps took the longest to make. And once they were finished (which was only step 1 of the pattern) the rest was plain sailing.

The finished dimensions are 11.5” high x 12” wide. The pattern allows for 1.5” for the fold over bit at the top — I actually ended up with 1.75” as less than this wasn’t sufficient to hold in place and keep consistent height. The hand holdy bit of the straps ended up being 14” — which is actually a good hand hold space and a good match to the size of the rest of the bag. So, I didn’t hit my desired dimensions but I know what adjustments I’d make next time.

Proto tote flat

Overall I’m extremely happy with this. I really like that the straps encircle the body, it makes it look a bit different to most of the other tote bag patterns I’ve seen. The sewing itself is far from perfect, don’t look too closely, but pretty good for a first attempt and is as good as I am capable of doing at this time. As is usually the case with the bags I’ve made, I’ll see how it wears before making the version using the fabric I have in mind. I like to see where the weaknesses are so that I can adapt the “proper” version and make something that lasts. That will, however, involve using it for more than just storing my “projects in progress” in which is what it is currently doing!