Genoa Tote

As mentioned in this post, Sydney Frocktails was recently held with 70 wonderful sewers getting together for a fabulous night and part of the fun was a massive raft of prizes.

I was fortunate enough to win a kit for the Genoa Tote; fully kitted with everything I needed to make this up.  I reckon this was the prize of the night if you ask me and the prize was donated by Anna from Blogless Anna.

It contained wonderful fabric, which included a gorgeous heavy weight denim along with two types of stunning Nano Iro fabric.  I must confess when someone asked me on Instagram if this was in fact Nani Iro I had to say I had no idea.  I haven’t been exposed to this fabric before, but after seeing this, me thinks me have to get some more. Just saying.

Along with the fabric, the kit came with the leather handles, the rivets, the anvil and rivet setter, zip and tapered awl.  And we are not talking cheap stuff here, the awl was from clover which is a nice addition to my existing set of awls/unpickers I have from Clover.

If you don’t own an awl of any kind, get one.  I use mine awl the time. (sorry bad I know) for all sorts of things.


For those who are not familiar with this tote, it comes in three sizes; small, medium and large and you also have the option of either short or long handles, thick or thin. Options!

It is a lined bag with boxed bottom corners. Inside is a zipped pocket one side and a key clip on the other.

The paper pattern comes in a large envelope with the parts of the patterns nested within each other.  Because of this I traced off the pieces that were nested onto my tracing fabric (my secret find).

The kit I received had the thin handles and I decided that I would keep them long. Oh and I decided to make the medium size bag.

I also had a quick chat with Melanie regarding her bag as I liked the idea of the outside pocket she put on hers. Mel said that it was a good place for your phone and train ticket as we all know that totes can be a never ending bucket and that we tend to scramble for things we need the most.

As I didn’t have enough fabric for this, I didn’t do it, but I started to think about my phone and how easy / hard it would be to get to it.  So I came up with an idea of making a little pocket for it and did some measurements. I made it along the same line as the pocket and key clip. I then cut out all of the fabric and interfacing (Pellon SF 101) and ironed on the said interfacing. I was now ready to rock and roll.


First thing to go together was the lining. Then you made up the pocket and key clip strap.  I had a few goes on the top stitching of the strap as I suck at top stitching. Too far away from the edge, too close.  Ugh.  Finally got it in the end.

The next step was sewing the zip to the pocket and this went in with no issue. Once this was done, you top stitched it up and then sewed the sides up to make the actual pocket. You then turn the pocket out and put it and the key strap aside.

Change your needle and get ready to sew up some denim.  I couldn’t quite get the tension right with my machine, not sure why?

Sew up the facings and the actual outside bag.  Make the box corners.  Easy peasy. Once this is all done, you then attach the facing to the bag (this is what the lining will be sewn onto). Trim it down and then under-stitch it so it will sit nicely when you turn it out. It is starting to look like a bag!

It was at this point that I stopped for the night.  I didn’t have enough of the provided fabric to make the phone pocket and couldn’t find anything in my stash that would go, but I was going to my sewing class the next day and I could get some fabric then.

So I then proceeded to finish the bag the following night. I made up the little phone pocket; it still needs a bit of work and finessing. I then basted the pocket, strap and phone pocket onto the facing, making sure everything was around the right way.

You then pop the bag into the lining and once all lined up, you then sew them all together. Pull the bag through the bottom of the lining (a hole is left there when you sew this up) and give the facing and the top a good iron so it looks nice and crisp.

Sew the box corners of the lining and outer together and slip stitch the hole in the bottom of the lining up.  Then I got told to go to bed as it was 12.30am.. I so wanted to finish it..

The next morning I got up and as I was going out and sooo wanted to take my bag with me, I then finished it off.  You poke holes into the top with the awl using the facing pattern piece as a guide.  The pattern doesn’t actually tell to you mark these holes when you are cutting it out and I didn’t even notice them when I was.. so there is a little tip for you. Mark your holes!!

You then put half of the rivets into the leather handle and then pop these into the holes then place the backing piece of leather on the inside with the other half of the rivet.  Using your anvil and rivet setter you bang them into place.

I managed to break two of them on one hole.  For some reason it kept getting crooked.  I also slipped with one and one of my outside rivets is a bit bunged up. Another tip, don’t rush when hammering.

I then proceeded to wake up my husband whilst banging before going out and my mum now wants one for her birthday. Success!

Genoa Tote by Blogless Anna & Pattern Fantastique

So, the Genoa Tote. This is a great pattern if you want to get into making bags.  The instructions are very clear and well thought out; even a beginner would be to work their way through them. I reckon I could easily whip one up in a day now that I know what I am doing.  Definitely going to be making a small one with short handles as this would make the perfect little bag when you don’t want to take a lot of stuff with you.

I so enjoyed making this one up… I am sure you will too.



Stephanie About Author

Sewing | Knitting | & other crafts

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