The Tote Bag Dilemma

Besides my second apron for Project Apron, the other sewing project I finished over the long, hot weekend was this tote bag. The Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild is having a tote bag swap at the June meeting, and since I’ve missed the last few swaps, I wanted to be sure to get in on this one. Plus, I really like making bags.

The pattern I followed is for a very simple reversible bag, but I added the flat zipper on the inside, as I like to do. This makes it slightly less reversible, in my mind, but much handier. (By following the instructions in The Bag Making Bible by Lisa Lam, you can add this, and other pockets, to any bag. I love this book.)

I’m really pleased with the shape of the bag and the combination of the two fabrics.

But it feels a little…flimsy. The pattern didn’t call for interfacing for either the front or lining pieces…or the handle for that matter. And I guess I’m just an interfacing kind of gal. I like the bit of added heft and shape that interfacing brings to a bag. The bag feels sturdy enough, so I don’t know that interfacing would make it that much stronger.

So the dilemma is: Should I leave well enough alone or should I unsew most of it to add interfacing? Time isn’t really an issue, since the meeting isn’t for a couple of weeks. But would you be disappointed to get a bag in a swap that didn’t have interfacing? Or do you like highly fold-able bags that you can fit into a small space?

I’d love to know your thoughts! Thanks!

Leave a comment


  1. I posted this link on my Facebook page ( if you’re interested), and the fabulous Kay Whitt of Serendipity Studio responded. Kay is the author of Serendipity Bags (a book on the top of my wish list) and Sew Serendipity (a fabulous book for learning to sew garments). Here’s what Kay had to say:

    I don’t think I would take it apart, but make another with interfacing and see what you think. If you want it to still be somewhat flexible, use Shape Flex, a woven interfacing made by Pellon. It adds some body to the fabric without being bulky or too stiff. I would add it to both fabrics.

    You can find Kay at her web site and on her Facebook fan page

  2. I personally like totes without interfacing so I can roll ’em up and take ’em on the go. But that’s just me. I love what you made and I want it. . . Guess I’d better get to work on my bag!


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