Have you seen the tote bag that we now have in our supply shop? It’s the Tote Bag for Makers!
I often carry around a tote bag wherever I go in place of a purse – it is usually filled with my wallet, our pup’s leash and a project of some sort (whether it be my new hobby of knitting or a part-way finished sewing project to transport to my friend Nicole’s sewing school, The Spool, for an evening). I never seem to have my cloth bags on hand when stopping by the grocery store so using a tote bag as a purse has prevented me from using many unnecessary plastic bags.
With my own affinity for tote bags in mind, I decided to design one for our shop that I, as a sewist, would like to carry around daily! I was very excited to find a bag manufacturer within Canada – in fact, the Atlantic Bag Making Company hails from one of my very favorite cities (where Matt and I lived happily for a year): Halifax. The Atlantic Bag Making Company is run by the Prescott Group, an organization that builds independence for adults with intellectual disabilities through the development of work skills and the opportunities to use them. You can read more about the organization here.
These bags are beautifully sewn from cotton canvas. They are a useful and attractive square shape measuring 16″ X 16″. My favorite element is the soft and strong cotton webbing handles – I like these much more than the scratchy poly webbing one often finds as tote bag handles.
I opted to screen print the totes myself because I have been learning to use the fancy screen printing press that I bought as a printing novice back in May. I’ve practiced on everything from Bachelorette t-shirts to canvas patches and was pleased to feel quite confident by the time these bags arrived and were ready for me to print! I should do an update post on screen printing on the blog so that I can share some of the techniques that I’ve learned (this won’t be until the new year since I currently have a backlog of blogging ideas).
The design printed on our tote was created by Sonia Bishop who is my sister-in-law and our talented graphic designer. She originally created this design for the front of our Camas Blouse instruction booklet. As soon as I saw it I imagined it as everything from wall art to tote bags – I just love the confidence and excitement this message conveys to me! I also love that it is not sewing specific – we sewists can have the bag slung over our shoulder to spread the DIY vibe all around the world!
I’m currently using my bags with slightly ‘distressed’ prints (the bags that didn’t pass my quality control for clarity and crispness) as a knitting bag and a purse as you can see in the photo above. But these bags aren’t just for sewers and knitters! I have all sorts of ideas for customizing these totes. For example, I plan to use a scrap of cotton to sew some pockets into one tote to carry a set of paintbrushes – I think this will make a lovely Christmas gift for my Granddad who attends a weekly painting class! It would also be fun to doodle around the text with fabric markers to create a tote that is a little more colorful for children (I’ve bought some – now I just need to lay out a tote on the table when friends are over so everyone can doodle away!). I can imagine one of these totes filled with a beautifully sewn apron, a wooden mixing spoon and a handwritten family recipe for the cook in the family this Christmas – wouldn’t a tote bag such as this make a great reusable gift wrap? Don’t worry, I’ve already set aside a dozen bags for my own Christmas gift projects so there are still lots available for you to order!
Head to our shop to order a tote bag of your own!