Addictive Free Tote

It was whilst showing my eldest sister Cath my latest make, that she mentioned that she would love a bag that she could take her lunch to work in.  She went on to say that she didn’t want a big bag, just something big enough to carry some stuff in. So me being me popped this request into the memory bank for later.

Then one day at work I sent her some links to some bag patterns that I had along with a link to Niizocraft on Etsy which where I purchased my tote from.  She decided on the Addictive Free Tote and also picked the colour (after confirming with me if I was ok that it was the same colour as mine). With Niizocraft, you have the option to purchase either just the pattern or the full kit, I purchased the kit as I find her fabrics and notions top notch. It also saves me trudging around trying to pick out the fabric, which I don’t particularly enjoy and let’s be honest, we don’t have the best range of these sorts of fabrics in Sydney.

Preparation:

The kit quickly arrived after I ordered it; a week later! I also printed the pattern at work and this time I printed it 4 times (thanks work!) so I could make the full pattern pieces.  If you only print it the once, you get either half of the pattern piece or a quarter, so you have to do a lot of tracing and flipping. This way I just had to lay the piece down once, and cut it out and I found it saved a stack of time as well.

So once I stuck all the pattern pieces together, I then cut all the pieces out. With this bag, you have the outer fabric, a medium weight canvas and a lining. There is also a piece of foam which you place on the bottom of the bag.

Making:

Once all the pieces were cut out and sorted, I then started to sew it up.  The first thing you put together is the inner.  This is made up of a band of the outer fabric and the lining fabric, which also has pockets.  There is a zipped pocked on one side and on the other side is a piece of fabric which I then sewed down the middle.  You could leave this as one big pocket if you wished, the choices are yours. I also at this point put in the magnetic closure on the inside.

I then made the handles and sewed them on.  You also get a little bit of fabric to sew into one of the handles so you can hang things from; not sure what though?  The handles have been cleverly designed.

You sew the “handle” part, by folding them in half then sew a few extra rows to make them sturdy. Once this has been done, you then sew the flat ends onto the bag itself.  If you look at the below picture on the right, you can see that there is also another pocket, which is made by sewing over a piece of fabric when you sew on that handle. I also hand sewed on the leather name patch that is part of the kit; you can elect a name up to nine characters long. I opted for my sisters full name Catherine.

At this point I also sewed the foam to the bottom piece.  This gave me a bit of grief due to the fact that the foam had a slippery coating on it and it tended to shift.  I had to unpick that last two lines about 5 times before I got it right. I think next time I make this bag up (my Mum has now put in a request), that I will put feet here instead of sewing it on. I think it will also give the bag a nicer finish and a nicer bottom.

Once the inside/lining and the outer pieces had been sewn up, I then proceeded to put it together. This was not difficult at all.  There was a moment where I thought things had gone a bit awry. One of the features of the bag are the little folded in ends.  When I did the last one and pulled it out the right way, I thought I had done it incorrectly and had caught it up when I sewed it.  But no it was fine.

The only real issue I came across (and one that bugs me no end) is sewing the top band/binding.  The concept is that you pull up the inside by 1cm and then turn this over to the outside and then sew this down.  It is a great idea but due to the fabric being quite thick I just could not get my machine(s) over the side seam, it was just too thick.  I broke a few needles, I even went up to a leather needle. Nope just couldn’t do it.  So all I could do is get close to either side of the seam.

I also had problems sewing around the magnetic closure on one side.  Even with the zipper foot it was too close to the top.  I have just bought a piping foot for my newest member (a Singer Heavy Duty) which is slimmer than a zipper foot, so hopefully this will help here when I make my Mums.

Once this was done as best as I could I gave it a final iron and voila!  A bag for Cath. I handed over “Sunny” as my sister calls it and she loves it.  She was telling me that she has gotten a stack of compliments and that people can’t believe that it was hand made.  She also said that people love the colour.

I would definitely recommend this pattern.  Even if you don’t get the kit, I would go for the pattern.  Along with a small, medium and large sizing, Su Nien also gives you the instructions on how to make this any size you want.

all the best

Stephanie xx

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