Sometimes it's good to get back to basics! We recently got in the Portsmith Tote pattern + leather handle kits from collaborative sewing space Klum House out of Portland, OR. Katy whipped one up in an afternoon, and we think it's the perfect project for a beginner sewist or a more advanced sewist who just needs a quick project.
Pattern: Portsmith Tote by Klum House
Materials: 5/8ths yard Grey Waxed Canvas, 5/8ths yard Squares Cobalt cotton/linen canvas, Klum House Black Leather Handle Kit (additionally 5/8ths yard Plain Canvas as needed for structure)
Size Made: one size
Modifications: None (recommended to add plain canvas reinforcement if using non-waxed canvas)
The tote is designed to mix and match fabrics—you can use one color of waxed canvas for the whole bag, or do two different colors, or do waxed canvas on the bottom and one of our great cotton/linen canvas prints for the top. The pattern has lots of good tips for working with waxed canvas if you've never used it before.
If you use a non-waxed canvas, we do recommend adding an additional layer of plain canvas to give the bag more structure since it's unlined otherwise. Cut the piece to 18" x 32.5", and when doing step 1 of the base layer, center it wrong sides together on the main body piece, then layer the base piece as shown in the pattern and sew. Once you do the top hem of the tote, the plain canvas edges will nestle into the hem and make a nice lining and reinforcement for the handles.
One of the most fun parts of sewing the tote is the technique for squaring the bottom. Instead of doing the typical style of cutting off the corners at an angle and sewing them to make the box, you do a cool envelope fold technique that works like magic and looks great! It is very easy and the instructions are clear, but Klum House has a great video tutorial on their website if you get stuck.
The final touch on the tote is the leather handles. The leather handle kits have everything you need, including a D-ring for clipping your keys, sunglasses, etc. The leather is soft and supple, but sturdy, making for comfortable all-day wearing if you're out shopping.
This is one of those patterns we know we'll make a million of in a billion varieties, so pick up your copy today! Additionally, check out the Portsmith's sister tote, the Oberlin, for a slightly more difficult bag.