Monday, October 18, 2010

Everything Tote Critique

Over the weekend I finished making up the Everything Tote. This bag comes from the book "Weekend Sewing" by Heather Ross.

I had checked it out at the library and then thumbed thru the items to see what interested me. I'm always game to try a new tote pattern, even though I have ZERO need for a new bag. So the bags, yes, BAGS, I made from this pattern (and the decorator fabric I needed to get rid of) will be donated to our Zihuatanejo bag project. For these bags I didn't line them as I was messing around and wanted to make sure I liked the pattern. However, with that being said, I will eventually make myself one, I just haven't decided exactly what fabric I want (I'm thinking about a red piece of pleather that I currently have in my stash) or how I want to do it. Until then here are some of my suggestions and troubleshooting for this pattern.

  • You definitely need MORE than a 1/2 yd. fabric per outside/lining piece. Try 1 yd.+ per bag.
  • The binding pieces for the side gathers don't allow for hardly any gather--adjust accordingly. I think that I cut off about 2-3 inches off the binding pattern length in order to get a more obvious gather. That is all personal preference. You could also try a little pleat in the center.
  • You don't necessarily have to cut handles on the bias. For this bag shown I did, but some of the others I didn't and it was all about the same difference. Based on what I did above my finished handles were 14" long.
  • The strap directions absolutely stink--no offense--for such a cute and simple bag. Why would you make a tube (using both outside and lining fabric--and then not see the lining fabric! What is the point of that?!) and then use the tube like bias tape? That is like sewing thru 10 layers of fabric!!!! Yikes! Don't torture yourselves. If you are going to "line" the strap per the directions just attach it as follows--fold in half lengthwise only once and topstitch down with the bag sides sandwiched in between.
  • OR just cut your handles out of the fabric you want and then apply that piece like bias tape--pressing in half lengthwise and then pressing into the fold again. You'll end up with about an inch wide strap.
  • I also went ahead and sewed the 2 strap pieces into a continuous circle and then marked accordingly.

Flickr has a group where you can view all sorts of versions of this bag.

Note: It appears there are a number of errors or problems with the patterns in this book, based on what I've seen online, so be careful before starting any of these projects. If you are having issues, more than likely it is the pattern and instructions, and NOT you!


  1. i have seen this bag, made by others before, and i love it but the idea of making it sounds so intimidating. it is good to know what you thought of the process and pattern.

  2. The shape of the bag is totally cute! But I'm thinking it would definitely need some heavy fabric and lining to keep it's nice shape when you start throwing stuff in it.

  3. Cute bag. Thanks for the tips on the pattern.

  4. I have made this bag a couple of times and agree with your review, although it took me until the third time making it that I realized you are supposed to sew the straps like bias tape to the bag, but stop sewing at the start of the handles once it is securely attached to the bag. That way you have a wide strap to sit on your shoulders and you can see both fabrics. Cuter, and much more comfortable. This was my first sewing book/ batch of projects. I do love the look of the projects, but so many errors for beginners who may not know what they are doing! So many tears shed on my part, and now I know it wasn't all me!



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