Is it a purse? Is it a tote? Not sure. What I do know: It is fantastic! My newest make might just be my favorite so far this year! I present to you the “Not-So-Knotted” Tote! This bag began with a cool free pattern by the Sewing Rabbit for the Knot Tote. But as you can see, there are no knots on my bag. While I intended to make the bag as instructed, I discovered that I had made a major sewing fail which required a change of plans! The bag is supposed to be constructed with the bag and straps cut as one whole piece. To fit the pattern onto my 42″ wide fabric I would have had to flip the pattern piece so that on one side the triangles would be pointing in the opposite direction of the other. (Oops, didn’t think about that when I chose this particular fabric design). As I did not want upside-down triangles on one side of my bag I needed to come up with a new plan. I wasn’t crazy about the knot at the top of the strap anyways (not sure how comfortable that would be on my shoulder when wearing it), so I decided to cut my straps out separately. I also re-shaped the bag portion: I eliminated the tabs (the second knotted portion of the pattern), raised the height of the opening scoop, and added a straight portion where the straps would attach. I made the straps slightly wider than the original and also made them much longer: 2 1/2″ wide, 30″ long, with a layer of fusible fleece added to the main fabric.
For this bag I chose a design from my Spoonflower shop, Tent Triangles in the Earth color-way printed on Basic Cotton Ultra. (Part of the Woodland Delights Collection) Since this fabric is lighter weight than some of the other recommended fabrics I also added a layer of super lightweight interfacing to it (as suggested in the directions). The lining fabric is a premium quality solid quilting fabric I bought at Joann’s. It is a couple dollars more than their basic cottons but worth every penny!
Since I was already making so many changes I also decided to add a magnetic clasp to the inside of the bag. It was my first time using one and it was SO EASY to install and it is such a nice extra touch! (I did add a tiny piece of interfacing behind each clasp as well).
Overall this bag was a DREAM to sew! I have had my fair share of sewing difficulties with almost every project I have sewn this year, so it was so nice to have one that had practically not problems at all! My biggest snafu was when ironing on the fusible fleece to one of the straps, I ended up with some ripples and had to redo the piece. This was a bummer since I would have enough leftover fabric to make a second identical bag if I hadn’t need to cut an extra strap. Now if I want to make another bag (to gift to someone) I will have to either make shorter or skinnier straps. Still, I love how my “hacked” method of construction means that I can make two projects with my yardage! I might try a different style bag for the leftovers, I am still deciding.
I did play with the strap to bag connection a bit. I tried adding squares of the green and doing a decorative top-stitch to conceal my utilitarian rows of stitching that I used to attach the strap. I tried two different styles, but didn’t like either of them so I ended up removing them. I think my triple line of stitching looks decent enough, and probably most people won’t get close enough to scrutinize it (you can see it in the close-up below).
If I change anything with the next one, I might add a little space to the outside edge of each strap so that they aren’t quite as close to the side seams. The connection there is a little tight. Not a big deal, but a little more openness would be nice. UPDATE: After using this bag I have now decided that I will DEFINITELY add an 1 – 1 1/2″ open space on each side to allow the bag to open more fully and give the straps some wiggle room. I also plan on making it about 1″ deeper, this isn’t functionally necessary but more of a personal preference (I carry a lot of stuff 🙂 ). Going to make a second one with this fabric for myself to give these changes a try!
My favorite part of this bag is that very identity crisis I joked about at the beginning of this post. This bag has the style and cuteness of a purse with all the practically of a tote, which for me is perfection! I am already dreaming up a second version using some fabric in my stash (pending I have enough to complete it).