August 9, 2009

Everything Tote

I was very excited when I picked up Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross. Often there are only a few patterns I'm be really keen to make from any given book, but this one is chock-full of cute projects; stuff for the home, cute clothes to make as gifts for kids, and bags and clothes for myself.

That said, there is a fair bit of grumbling out there on the internet regarding errors in the book and poorly written instructions. My experience in making the Everything Tote was in keeping with the complaints. I ended up with a decent tote bag but the process was by no means without frustration.

Fortunately, others had gone before me and I was able to use their insights to figure things out.

The tote is very roomy, has two interior pockets ......

...and boxed corners ...

Here's my review and what I hope will be helpful hints for others who want to make the bag.

Everything Tote Pattern Review

Pattern: Everything Tote in Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross

Pattern Rating: 2.5/5

Cost: $30 Cdn ($27.50 US)

Fabric: Dark wash denim (100% cotton, not stretch)
Paperweight (Algae) by Kaffe Fassett

Yardage: 1 yd yard exterior, 1 yd lining (the book says 1/2 yd each but the errata gives the correct amount)

Joining seams
Box corners
Creating gathers
Making and attaching bindings
Slipstitching by hand


  • The instructions given for box corners are quite vague, visit craftapple for a great tutorial.
  • The instruction for the gathering is to pull the thread tails until '...the top edge is 12" wide from 'peak' to 'peak'...' but this is the measurement from peak to peak before gathering, as Funky & Delightful points out (along with other good tips).

Gathers along binding

  • I read AlewivesGirl 's post regarding the binding, which points out that though the pattern calls for folding the binding/straps twice, the binding/straps in the project photo are obviously only folded once and are hence wider. I liked the wider look so I went with one fold.
  • The pattern calls for creating the bindings with the exterior fabric on one side and the lining fabric on the other, but if you follow the instructions and fold the binding/straps, you won't see the lining fabric once you've sew them up. You can hardly fold a beautiful Kaffe Fassett print to the inside! I chose to iron the binding in such a way that there was a little bit of the lining fabric poking out beyond the edge of the denim, creating faux piping when topstitched (I was quite pleased with myself for that!).

Faux piping

  • I didn't sew the straps in half, just topstitched the binding to the edge of the bag then left the straps open from the point where they separate from the body of the bag so that the lining fabric could be seen and the straps ended up wider

I plan to make more projects from this book, but I'll definitely google it first to see what others are saying, and I'll be ready to wing it when necessary.

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1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed your detailed review. The bag is lovely and I am sure it is very useful!