|Front of my customized tote bag... for starters,|
I added the twist lock and the decorative grommets...
I last did this by spinning out my own version of a free messenger bag pattern that I found at Robert Kaufman.
Free tote bag patterns — even more so than free messenger bag patterns — can be found virtually everywhere, don't you agree? Heck, with almost any amount of sewing experience, a person can easily create his or her own basic tote bag. As you might suppose, however, I wanted something a bit more stylish than "basic", but also definitely less "featured" than the Professional Tote.
Let me back pedal a bit. When hubby and I were in Mexico earlier this year, I found myself heading down to the beach to our favourite palapa carrying an armful of stuff and my purse.
Why, I asked myself, do I not have a good beach bag tote?
|The back of my customized tote, where I changed it to a zippered pocket...|
The thing is, I actually have two that can be considered as such. Store-bought years ago, they now have permanent employment as storage containers. One holds stuff that I need to take on vacations and the other is currently filled with fabric. Because of how they're made and what they're made of, neither would travel well in a suitcase.
|View of my tote's 6" wide base... double the pattern's original size...|
So, that was reason number one why I needed to make a beach tote.
Reason number two? At the end of my recent post about the Wave Purse Organizer, I mentioned that I was going to create a large version of the organizer for use with tote bags. And if I'm gonna make one, I may as well have a place to put it!
|Interior of my customized tote... the D-ring attachment is mine... I actually eliminated a pocket |
since I am going to make and use a large version of my Wave Purse Organizer with this bag...
With that decision make, it was then a question of which tote bag pattern did I want to use as my foundation?
Sew4Home ultimately won the day. I have seen a variety of tote bags on their site, but one project from March of 2015 stuck in my mind: this trio of "market totes". (The design is similar to the ChrisW Designs' pattern — Abby's Alley — that was released last December, which I also found quite attractive.)
|A detailed look at the inside of the two exterior pockets of my customized tote...|
So what did I customize?
The first priority was to change the size to fit the purpose. Since this is going to be primarily a beach bag, I wanted something bigger. And by bigger, I mean in terms of the base depth/width. The Sew4Home market tote finishes out with a 3" wide base. To me, that's barely a book bag, so change #1 was to double that to 6"... again, it's not something that I intend to carry around for everyday use, but for on the beach (or shopping), it's the perfect size.
and continue for only $4.95 a month!
Change #3 was to revamp the pockets, which involved removing two and adding another. I always have to have a zippered pocket and I wanted it on the outside of the bag. I wanted the inside to be plain, dull, boring; well, I wanted it to be devoid of any organization so that I could eventually add some with a removable organizer.
The front pocket that was otherwise essentially the same would be deeper as a result of change #2, but because I wanted it to be mainly one large storage space, I also added a twist lock in the middle (where the original pattern called for a division)... maybe that's change #3A.
Change #4 was to alter the way the straps are attached. Instead of just sewing them onto the bag, I wanted to make use of some decorative grommets that were rescued from an old purse. (And I suppose change #4A is that I used a different method altogether of constructing the straps.)
Change #5 was to add a magnetic snap closure to the top.
Oh, and I guess change #6 was that I added a D-ring to the inside of the bag for clipping on keys and such.
Other modifications aren't really visible: I used fusible fleece only for the exterior pocket panel; everything else was interfaced with Decor Bond. (I used less fleece for the fact that I wanted the bag to fold down as easily as possible and not take up much room in a suitcase.) I also added a piece of Peltex to the bottom of the bag for support.
Interested in making the tote with all of these modifications? In a couple of weeks, I'll be back with part two of this post and will spill the details on how I brought about these changes.
In the meantime, I guess I need to start planning a large version of my Wave Purse Organizer...