Lisa Kyle Young Photography

Making An Oilcloth Tote Bag

We like to spend the summers around the water, any kind of water, lakes, rivers, streams, oceans, whatever. But usually our time is spent on the lakes and boating. This means I use a lot of tote bags to carry supplies on and off the boat. I can never have too many tote bags. But the bigger the better and I need nice long, strong straps.

This means I make my own tote bags. I want to have them waterproof, if possible, or at least water resistant AND I want them big. If we need extra life preservers or towels or whatever then it is much easier to carry a lot of stuff in a big bag while you are walking on a narrow dock. I tried big trash bags for awhile but with straps you can throw them over your shoulder which allows you to carry more stuff and free up your hands to open doors/gates/trunks/whatever.

I usually surf the internet to find some ideas for patterns before diving in and making one. Just like my cooking and baking I tend to be inspired by patterns and recipes but never follow them exactly. I like to take my own twist on them and add or remove what I like or don’t like. So??? Turns out interesting sometimes.

This past week’s project was making another big tote bag. I decided to try some oilcloth fabric since I had never really sewn with that type of material before. I actually quite enjoyed working with that material, it doesn’t slip, it wasn’t too thick, but you need to be careful and not use too small of a stitch otherwise the material can rip easily. I used a denim needle and a longer stitch. Seemed to work fine. But, of course, the proof is in the pudding, wait until I use it for a summer and see how it lasts!!

I followed Jessica Kesterton’s pattern on HGTV who blogs over on Living the Swell Life. Thanks Jessica. I enjoy her blog and her work. My changes to it were basically the size and the shape and the length of the straps, other than that I followed it exactly. I wanted to make sure I could easily have the straps over my shoulders with no problem. Her writing along with her photos makes it very easy to follow.

I cut my rectangles at 26″ x 30″ (instead of 14″ x 18″) and I cut EACH strap 42″ long. Her pattern was for a total of 42″ for the strap which you cut in half, one for each side. I needed longer straps.

I really like patterns to include the dimensions of the finished product. I know I should be able to calculate it but why not just include it.

My finished product came out to be about 19″ tall, 19″ wide, and 10″ deep. I really want to have a deep tote bag to allow a bunch of towels, shorts, t-shirts, etc. to easily fit in there. We haul a lot of stuff especially when we have large groups on the boat.

Here’s the finished product in oilcloth fabric on the outside and canvas lining on the inside.

Lisa Kyle Young - Homemade Tote Bag

Lisa Kyle Young - Homemade Tote Bag

Lisa Kyle Young - Homemade Tote Bag

I added a little bling to the handles. I had lots of extra oilcloth so I just added a little band to the middle of the strap.



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