The creation of the oversized utitlity tote above was an evolution. My customer contacted me because she had seen my oversized totes in laminate fabrics. She was interested in beautiful paisley laminates that she and I found across the web. But we first had to hone in on her design. Communicating via messages can illustrate shortcomings. For example, the way I was describing the size of my bags was not clear (and I have since sought to correct this problem.) Since my bags are typically unstructured, I often describe them by their flat dimensions. However, they do have a box shape, so it is better to give three dimensions: width x height x depth.
To ensure that we reached the right design, I worked with my client, one bag design at a time. It took several iterations to obtain the desired result. The finished size of the tote is 21″ W x 19″ H x 11″ D and the handles are 30″.
I used Oly fun as the lining, to keep the bags lightweight, yet strong. My customer really wanted the bags to stand up. I didn’t think I could achieve this with ordinary interfacing – at least not very easily with the size of the bags. That is when I discovered ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable. (I used it on Annie’s Burberry bag.) This is a such an interesting stabilizer! It’s a foam that is lightweight and stable, yet also able to fold. I purchased a roll because it has a generous width. Pellon is also making a similar product that is selling at Joann’s and will soon have a fusible version. These do not come in very wide sizes.
It was a little challenging to work with the size of these bags and the laminate fabric, but not impossible. To add to the stability, I also top-stitched the four corners of the bag. In the testing phase, I made myself one and am currently using it as a dirty clothes bag. My laundry room is downstairs and I was tired of carrying a plastic clothes basket down, not being able to see steps, nicking walls and making it difficult to open doors and turn on light switches. With this bag, it sits upright in my room and I can sling it on my shoulder to carry it (and myself) safely downstairs!
My client presented me with a challenge and I enjoyed the process of reaching a design that worked for her and I learned a great deal in the process.