I’m very happy to introduce my newest pattern today, the Explorer Tote! I’ve been working on this pattern on and off since the end of 2015, whew that’s a long time, and I’m glad it’s finally ready to share. A couple quick notes about the Explorer Tote pattern:
- two sizes to sew! The large size is great for traveling and overnight trips and the small is ideal for an everyday bag
- one front pocket (covered by flap) and back exterior pocket divided into 3 sections (large) or 2 sections, large divided interior slip pocket
- open top or recessed zipper closure option, flap with closure provides extra security for both
I felt really strongly about making this tote bag a highly functional and useful carry all. I went through so many different versions of this bag before ultimately deciding that these two sizes and styles were the most optimal for all uses. I do like the large size for use as an overnight bag or a carry-on or if you just like carrying a large bag, whereas the small size (which isn’t small necessarily) is a great everyday tote that will even fit a laptop in it’s case (and more!) – making it ideal for taking to school or the office.
The optional zippered top was a huge factor for me in this design – it was a must-have. I personally don’t prefer to carry bags with zip tops, but will make this an exception because this zipper when it’s not in use, is not in the way at all. So, when I use my Explorer tote for an everyday bag I can leave it open, but if I’m traveling I can zip it secure. Instructions are included if you’re not in need of a recessed zip as well!
A special feature of this pattern is the waxed canvas. I can’t recommend it enough. Actually, it’s by far my most preferred fabric choice for the contrast bottom/flap portion of this bag and therefore the only fabric type I have listed in recommended fabrics section for the Contrast Bottom fabric requirement. If you’ve never worked with waxed canvas have no fear. It’s not as complicated as you might think. I’ve included a bunch of tips for using waxed canvas right within the pattern. Because the canvas is waxed it makes for such a durable bag. The wax makes the canvas stiff yet pliable as well as being a protectant from dirt and grime. In fact, you don’t even use interfacing with it (saving you both time and money), so if at first you’re thinking it’s a bit more costly than regular canvas, you might want to reconsider. However, if you’d prefer to use regular canvas, I’ve given specific instructions within the pattern for using that as well.
Here are some shops that I love and recommend that carry waxed canvas by the yard. I use mostly a 10-12 oz. weight from AL Frances Textiles.
I hope you’ll take the time to try waxed canvas! If you have any questions about this tote please let me know in the comments. p.s. If you’re a shop owner that carries waxed canvas let me know, I’d love to add you to this list! I should also mention (and maybe I can put something together for a future post) that you can wax your own canvas, Otterwax is one brand I’ve seen people use.
Lastly, the turn lock on the flap is so handy! It’s easy to use (bonus!) and easy to install and looks great, too! I purchased the ones for my samples from Janelle over at Emmaline Bags, although in the pattern I’ve linked to a few more sources as well. I really prefer the type that have the mini screws that secure the face plate of the turn lock. I hope you’ll give it a try if you’ve never used one before, they’re a lot like installing a magnetic snap!
For the large sample shown I want to point out that I swapped out the fabric handles (as called for in the instructions/materials) for leather ones, it’s an easy swap, so if you feel that leather is right for your project – go for it.
Thanks so much for your support and enthusiasm! I cannot wait to see what you make! Tag your creations #explorertote on Instagram!