A thank-you tote
I have a tradition of making end-of-year teacher gifts. It makes for a busy end of November/early December, but my girls enjoy giving handmade items just as much as I enjoy sewing them. And they are ALWAYS well received. In many cases, I want to keep the present for myself… and this bag was no exception.
The tote pattern is my own, nothing too ground breaking really, but I think the icing on the cake are the leather straps. I purchased some satchel weight leather from The Fabric Store and cut the straps to size. This task was made easy by my leather strap cutter. My sewing machine is not a fan of sewing leather, so I opted to use double capped rivets to secure the handles to the bag.
I hadn’t worked with double capped rivets before, so there were some new skills to learn and some new tools to purchase. I made a special trip across town to Leffler Leather to buy what I required and they were out-of-stock of most of the rivet sizes and finishes. I always find Leffler’s overwhelming at the best of times, and it’s service is patchy, so I turned my focus to online shopping.
I found Adelaide Leather & Sadderly Supplies’ online store to be well stocked and easy to navigate. Being a rivet newbie, I had a few questions and their over the phone advice was exemplary. I purchased the rivets I need, as well as a two piece rivet setter & anvil and they were in my mailbox two days later. I smiled when I opened the package as they’d wrapped my items in bubble wrap and packed in into a recycled food box. Waste not, want not!
I learnt the hard way… breathe… that it is really important to use the right sized rivet for the job. The shaft of the rivet should be a few millimeters longer than the materials you are joining together. Speaking from experience, a rivet which is too long for the job creates a skewed red hot mess. Naughty words were muttered, tears nearly flowed.
- Accurate cutting of pattern pieces makes for easier sewing
- Grade your seam allowances to reduce bulk. It really does make a difference
- Secure the bag lining to the outer fabric within the seam allowances of the boxed corners
I’ve been keeping a secret… Nani Iro innards!
I feel like I broke some bag making rules, but I didn’t use any interfacing or fusible fleece on this bag. I was after a bag that was sturdy, but still soft. In my eyes, the denim is a hard wearing outer and the cotton/linen lining adds a little more structure without it being stiff. And let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to look inside their bag and see such beautiful fabric?
I see more of these totes in my future… yes plural. I’ve even purchased some more Nani Iro fabric from Kelani Fabric. Here’s hoping I might get to keep at least one tote for myself!
Pattern: Self drafted tote bag
Fabric: All remnants… the denim was from Rathdowne Fabrics, the Nani Iro was from Tessuti & the leather was from The Fabric Store.
Accessories: Funkis shoes… brought ‘as new’ from a local recycled clothes shop
Photo Location: My garden