Totes Ma Tote Bag

The Totes Ma Tote Pattern

What do you say when one of your favorite handbag and wallet designers asks you to test a pattern for say, hell yes! I was so excited to have the opportunity to be one of the first to create a tote bag from this pattern, it's called the Totes Ma Tote Bag pattern and it was designed by Janelle MacKay of Emmaline Bags.  Janelle is also the designer for the Necessary Clutch Purse Pattern that you have probably seen on my Odd Perfection Facebook Page.

I chose to create a tote bag using the same hardware and interfacings as Janelle used in her bag. The pattern is well written with lots of pictures and even helpful tips.  If you are like me you will appreciate the photos of each step.  I am a visual learner and it makes things so much easier if you can see each step of the pattern.

It was my first time using Annie's Soft and Stable interfacing.  I usually use Thermolam fusible fleece in pretty much everything I make but this stuff is so amazing, it really gave the bag a professional look.  I would love to use this in all my bags but unfortunately, it is very expensive. A cheaper alternative would be to use headliner fabric, which is something that I will have to try on my next handbag.

There were also more "firsts" for me, like installing grommets, eyelets and buckles.  The instructions to install the grommets were well defined and even came with a template so you could lay it over your bag to mark exactly where they should be placed and to my surprise they were easy to install.  The eyelets were just as easy to install, Janelle made this very simple.

This is how my bag turned out.

                                                                                                                             Front of Tote    



Back of Tote

I used home decor fabric for the exterior and outdoor fabric for the bag facing, zipper gusset and straps.  The outdoor fabric made it challenging because ironing the fabric would risk warping or melting the fabric.  It just couldn't take the heat, which makes me scratch my head with it being "outdoor fabric" you would think it could take it since it is used in patio cushions and pillows.

I even love the design of the inside of the bag.  There are plenty of pockets to store your items separately from the bag interior.  On one side you have a large pocket with a magnetic snap closure (pictured below).

The other side has a zippered pocket and below that has open pockets where you can place your cell phone, wallet, glasses or what ever you want to place in there.

On the bottom of the bag I chose to use faux leather rather than the outdoor fabric used in the exterior.  I wanted to give the bag a more durable bottom. Janelle gives you instructions on how to create the strong bottom and marking out and inserting the purse feet was a breeze.

I think the most challenging part of this bag was sewing the decorative strip down the last side of the tote bag.  It was so worth the struggle though, it really makes the bag pop.

This is an intermediate pattern and the finished demensions are: Width at Top: 17” (43 cm), Width at bottom: 13” (33 cm), Height: 12” (30 cm), Depth: 4” (10 cm).  I always give the bags I make a weight test to see if they can handle the stress of what is carried.  I loaded this tote with 6.5 pounds of hardware and tools. The bottom didn't sag and the grommets stayed strong and held the straps strongly in place.  This bag is well balanced and wonderfully designed. You did good Janelle! :) 


You can check out more bag photos from the other testers HERE. All of them are amazing and I love each and every one.  The other testers are sew creative.

Do you want to try making your own, you can find the pattern, hardware and interfacing kit HERE

Thank you all for stopping by!



Gorgeous Bag!!

I love this bag so much, Lisa, and you have really brought justice to this pattern. Thank you so much for the generous review! Janelle490

Very nice!

The bag looks sooooo nice! Nice choice of fabric too. Now I want to get this pattern!

Great tote

Lisa, I love your tote, beautiful fabric.


wow it is stunning !!! you

wow it is stunning !!! you really did a great job

tote straps

I love this bag, you did a great job on it. What did you use for your straps and the decorative strip? It is so nice

The straps and strips are

The straps and strips are made from out door fabric. It has a really cool weave of brown and green so it matches the bag really well. I bought the fabric at Jo Ann's.

I really like the main bag's

I really like the main bag's fabric! I looked through Joann's online catalog and couldn't find this fabric. Maybe they have the swatches in the store. Do you remember the manufacturer's name?

Thank you!!!

Thank you!!!

You're welcome! :)

You're welcome! :)

One more question, if you

One more question, if you don't mind....the pattern calls for 1 yd exterior fabric, and 5/8 yd for exterior accent fabric. Is your green fabric the 'exterior accent fabric'? Since the main fabric you used needs to be special ordered, I want to make sure that I indeed only need 1 yd for it. You didn't use any of this main fabric which you gave me the link, as the 'exterior accent fabric' , right? Thanks so much!

What I used :)

I used the material in the link I gave you for the main exterior and the large inside pocket (the one with the magnetic snap) and the zipper tab only. Just an FYI - The exterior fabric is available in store. You won't need a full yard with this home decor fabric because it's on a 54" bolt.

The zipper gusset and bag facing material is an outdoor fabric, to reduce my costs I chose not to use the same out door fabric in the lining.

I used quilting cotton for the lining, the inside of the zippered pocket and the slip pocket.

The straps,side accent strips and the snap tab for the large interior pocket are also an outdoor fabric (I don't know the name). It is a woven fabric of green and brown (frays like crazy once cut, so beautiful though). :)

I used faux leather for the bottom of the bag.

So there are 5 different fabrics in my bag. :)

Thank you!

Thanks so much for your detailed response!

Glad to help. :) Let me know

Glad to help. :)

Let me know how yours turns out, I would love to see it. Have fun, it's a great pattern!

Thank you so much!

Thanks Everyone for all the love! :) I am just starting to build this little store of mine and I am so glad you all stopped by and commented. :)

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