Throughout my sewing journey, I’ve mainly focused on making garments. Since my closet is swelling at the moment, I decided to make something totally different – the large tote bag from Core Fabrics. I love a good tote bag! I have so many tote bags from various events, but they vary wildly in quality. What I needed is a big, strong, tough, tote bag. Lucky for me (and you), Core Fabrics has a free pattern for large and medium tote bags on their website. All you have to do is subscribe to the store’s newsletter and the pattern is automatically sent to your email address. For my bag, I used waterproof canvas provided by Minerva in the color purple. The fabric comes in 13 beautiful colors, but you know, I had to try the purple first. Once you receive your pattern for the tote bag, you can then pick what size you want. Even though this is my first time sewing a tote, I knew that I wanted to sew up the large one. Although I’m only using the purple canvas for this project, this will be a great scrap busting make because of the pockets and straps.
As I mentioned previously, I used the Minerva Core Range Heavy Water Resistant Fabric in purple. I haven’t tested the water resistance of the fabric, but it seems like the inside coating would stand up to any quick spills. I also didn’t launder the fabric before sewing since it’s water resistant. I’m hoping the dark color and some careful spot cleaning will help this bag stay looking brand new.
The pattern instructions for the tote bag are fairly simple, but I found that they lacked some necessary details. For example, the video instructions really skip over when to do all of the topstitching at the base of the bag. I didn’t realize until too late that I had skipped the step to sew the bottom topstitching, so my bag just doesn’t have it. The next time I sew this pattern, I will insert my own instructions so that I don’t skip them. That was a bit frustrating because I really like the professional look of the topstitching, but I don’t like it enough to spend hours removing the side seams. Also, because this is a heavyweight fabric, I used my sewing machine’s triple stitch function to do the topstitching. You can use webbing for the straps, but I just used fabric. The fabric straps work perfectly and feel nice and sturdy in my hands.
I love the size of this tote! I didn’t measure it, but I was able to fit a full load of folded laundry in it with no problem. Core Fabrics calls the large tote a “weekender bag,” but I think I’d add a snap or two to close the tote before I use it as a weekender bag. In fact, I think I might add a snap when I make the medium size tote. What do you think?