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Totally Terrific Totes

I have had so much fun creating new totes with this dark chocolate faux leather from Minerva Fabrics.

When creating with this faux leather keep in mind that it has quite a bit of structure.  The black fabric backing makes it easier to sew as it glides more easily under your pressure foot.

For my first tote bag I choose to use the Amanda Ring Bag pattern available through by Sammy Atelier Farbstil.    The pattern itself was only available in German, so I connected with Sandra the designer to see if she would be interested in having me translate the directions into English.  She was very excited.  I worked on the translation, then put my draft to the test and made the mini ring bag to begin with.   I used smaller wooden handles even though the pattern called for 5 inch handles.  I like the look of the smaller handles, they are proportionate with the size of the bag.   This is a perfect little bag for those days when you don’t want to carry much.  It gives you plenty of room for your wallet, phone and keys and still gives you room for a few extras.

The bag is lined and offers a few design features for the inside pockets.   You can choose from a basic slip pocket or a more secure zippered pocket.  If you want to have a more secure closure you can simply install magnetic buttons on each side of the handle.

The large tote size is definitely my favourite.  It is large enough to hold my laptop as well as all of my essentials.  As an added bonus, the mini purse even fits inside.

I ordered these bamboo handles from Amazon.  I ordered the larger 6 inch handle. If you want to wear the tote over your shoulder make sure to order the 22 cm handle which is one size bigger.   

The second tote I chose to make, the Purely Bag, definitely has a more bo-ho chic feel. It is designed as a shoulder bag and it can be used as a tote or regular hand bag.  The design options are endless.  You can add labels as I have done with my neoprene version.  These were Grandpas name tags  from his army uniforms.  A fun, sentimental way to repurposed labels.

For the handle I used a thrifted khaki green belt, cut to length and sewed double at the shoulder.   I separated the D Ring closure and hung one on each side of the tote.

The Purely is designed to sew the seams wrong sides facing so the finished seam runs the length of the purse body on the outside.  As neoprene doesn’t fray it was the perfect choice for a clean neat outside seam.  Fabric that frays would also be fun Chanel like option.   The purse doens’t take much fabric so it is a great scrap buster pattern.   This pattern is also only available in German from Styled By Gloria in her Etsy shop.

For my Faux Leather Purely I decided to line it.  I used a black broadcloth so that it would not be too bulky.  I cut out two of the main purse pattern pieces for the lining and two lengths of the handle pattern from the faux leather, lengthening it my 3 inches so that it would have more drape over my shoulder.   

The directions for the Purely Bag are once again written in German, but the pictures that come with the pattern are very easy to follow and it is pretty self explanatory.   

For my faux leather Purley Bag I added a front slip pocket for my cell phone and an D Ring clip for the other side.

I highly recommend using a faux leather like this to sew up a tote.  There are so many patterns to choose from and this faux leather is a perfect choice.  It is easy to cut, and quite easy to sew.   You will probably want to use a denim or leather needle as the layers can be quite thick.

There are so many options for faux leather.  This particular faux leather is quite structured and has no drape.  Choose a pattern that needs structure and shape and you will have great success.

Happy Tote Bag Sewing,

Lou Sheffer

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