a summer tote

If you follow me on instagram (@kdahll) you might have recently seen a photo that looked similar to this one:

I’ve been in the mood to make a new purse for summer ever since it started to warm up, so I started sketching out some design plans. Something about carrying a heavy leather bag in warm weather feels like overkill, so I knew that I wanted to make something out of canvas. I chose to use a navy and a cream duck cloth, for a two tone look. I usually schlep around a lot of stuff, so I knew that it had to be on the big size. The final size of the bag is 16″ x 14″ x 4″. I wanted to make something that didn’t necessarily look homemade, so I made sure to include details like the riveting and a heavy duty zipper. I decided that medium brown leather handles would look beautiful against the navy and cream cloth. The details took a bit more work, but I think that the outcome is worth it.

I also designed the bag to have an open pocket in the front to store my phone and keys. I like both to be easy to access when I am out and about. I thought about putting in a clip for my keys, but realized that I probably would never use it. I also decided against a magnetic closure because I have yet to find one that isn’t a complete hassle to open. I lined it with a scrap of home decor fabric to make it slightly more interesting.

I did a 2″ drop recessed zipper because I didn’t want the heavy metal zipper rubbing against my armpit. I also prefer the way that dropped zippers look to regularly installed zippers. I used rivets to hold the end of the zipper in place.

Lastly, I wanted to make sure that there were some interior pockets. I made one with a zipper, and one with two open slots for pens, lipstick, etc. The open slots are big enough to hold my phone if I decide to store it on the inside of my purse. I lined the tote with a cream colored quilting-weight fabric. I thought about using a medium-weight interface, but ultimately decided not to. I didn’t want the bag to be too stiff, and the duck cloth was ridged enough.

I’ve been using this tote for about a week, and am absolutely loving it. It is very lightweight by itself, which is a nice switch from my favorite leather bag. Even though I am carrying around the same amount of stuff, it feels so much lighter. I am loving it so much, that I am already planning on using long after the summer is gone.


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