Totes, totes, totes!


Three cheers for our three Crosscut Market Tote Challengers, who committed to tackle new sewing skills on a deadline. Today we get to ooh and ahh over what the challengers created with their tote-making kits and hear about their experience. Are you ready?


The Process

All three challengers received a free Crosscut Market Tote Bag Kit, plus their choice of fabrics for the bag exterior and interior. Rachel Switzer @CapeCodShibori felt there were , “Lots of fun fabric choices. I've settled on Village Neutral for exterior fabric and Kelp Storm & Mist for the interior.”

Inside the kit they found a full-color copy of the Crosscut Market Tote pattern, rivets, magnetic snaps, leather handles and a Peltex bag bottom.

It was so convenient to have everything included in the kit. I didn’t have to worry about having the correct interfacing or enough of everything, it was all there! Even the application directions for each specific type of interfacing were cut and folded with the corresponding product, what attention to detail!
— Meredith

Everyone seems to agree that the directions were clear and easy to follow. After cutting it only took challenger Meredith Eaten @OasisSewingCompany a couple hours to assemble, so she feels it would be a great gift.


Their Challenges

Trying something new always holds a bit of mystery. Rachel Switzer had made one tote bag before, but with the help of a friend. Using fusible fleece and magnetic snaps was new to her, but the experience was surprisingly straightforward.


The Crosscut Market Tote has genuine leather handles that are attached to the bag with rivets. You can purchase a special rivet-setting tool, but lots of people just use a rubber mallet. Unfortunately, Meredith didn’t have either.

I first tried my Kam Snap setting pliers, and this was not a good idea. This caused an unusual punching on the rivet. Even though the tool looks similar to other rivet tools, it is not the same! I then tried a regular hammer and layered scrap batting over the rivet and it worked beautifully! Thankfully, there was an extract rivet set included in the kit!
— Meredith

I’m so glad the kit includes an extra set of rivets. I’ve learned the hard way that any project which includes set snaps or rivets can go awry. If you have an extra set on hand, you can usually try again!

Challenger Laurie Matthews @DresdenLane says, “I will admit that I was intimidated to install the leather handles and rivets but that was probably the easiest part!”


The Verdict

All three challengers seemed to have enjoyed the experience and the bags they’ve made. I agree with Meredith who said that the leather handles really “elevate” the bag.

I enjoyed this project a lot!  It came together in an afternoon.  I learned a few new to me techniques in bag making.  I loved pairing the navy waxed canvas with the lighter colored Cotton and Steel canvas.  Pairing these fabrics surely increases the bag’s longevity because the very dark, sturdy waxed canvas won’t become noticeably dirty like the lighter canvas would have.  The combination of canvas fabrics, interfacing, and the leather handles helped to create a pretty sturdy and timeless looking bag.
— Laurie

If you’d like to make your own, you can pick up a Market Tote Bag kit, which includes some supplies and the printed pattern. Or, access the free pattern online courtesy of Crosscut Sewing Co. I agree that the finished bag would be a nice gift to give, but so would the kit itself! It seems so well designed that most sewing friends would have a good time with it, even if they haven’t any experience with three dimensional sewing.


As Rachel Switzer said, “It was surprisingly easy to make, and fun. I’m quite satisfied.” I can see why! Many thanks to Crosscut Sewing Co. for sponsoring this challenge and Stitched in Color.