A Gigantic Tote Bag


My partner in the Wish List Swap requested a tote bag.  To me, a tote bag is a large bag to carry around a bunch of stuff.  I always think of a beach bag when I hear the term “tote bag.”  However, I’ve come to realize that most people consider a tote bag to be the size to hold a few notebooks—on the smallish side.  So, I started a discussion thread to ask what size would be best, and my partner said the bigger the better, so I made one huge bag.

I honestly didn’t intend for it to end up quite this large, but it is a nice bag, and it’s one that I would be happy to have myself.  I’m considering making myself a slightly smaller version to use for a diaper bag.  However, it was a real pain to sew up.  The main fabric is a heavier twill fabric, and I also added batting and a back layer as well as a lining layer (so that’s three layers of fabric plus batting).  It’s a good solid bag, but all of those layers were quite cumbersome to sew through.  I broke several needles along the way.

I wanted the straps to be sturdy since the bag was so big.  I had planned to use canvas webbing, but my local craft stores only had one inch wide webbing, and I thought those thin straps would look very out of place on a bag this big, so I used two layers of fabric plus a strip of canvas duck sewn in between.  It worked quite well, and I don’t think they would stretch much even under heavy weight in the bag.


Because the bag is so big and because there is no closure at the top, I added a couple of side ties to cinch in the bag.  They can always be untied if there is a large load in the bag but the side cinching should help keep the contents in place.  The front and back have three divided pockets each plus one pocket on the inside.  I always love extra pockets on a bag, so I added plenty to this one.  These would also be a great feature on a diaper bag.


I put  an appliqued camper on the front because my partner said she loves vintage campers.  I’m going to make her a zipper pouch as an extra item, so I might do another little appliqued camper on the pouch.


Overall, I’m very happy with how this bag turned out (though also happy to have it finished since I’m running out of machine needles!).  I made up the pattern myself and went through a bit of difficulty since I mismeasured/miscalculated a couple of times.  It was late at night, so hopefully if I make this again, it will go more smoothly.  My partner in another swap also wants a tote bag, and while I may do something similar, I will definitely make it at least a little smaller.


  1. Your bag turned out awesome! I know it’s not for me (I’m in the swap as well, “The Days Dewings”), but the camper turned out so cute!! It does look like it would make a nice diaper bag. I recently finished my 1st Weekender Bag and I’m using it for a diaper bag. It’s working great! My 3 yr old still needs a change of clothes, my 19 mth old still needs all the diaper stuff and in August, we’re expecting #8, so I’m going to need all that space! You can imagine I’ve gone trough my share of diaper bags and this one is doing a great job! It looks like yours here will just a good choice, as well!

    • I thought the weekender might make a great diaper bag– good to know. I asked for a diaper bag from my recent swaps, so I’m going to see what comes of that in the next couple of months, but if nothing does, I might have to buy the weekender pattern and give it a try.

      This bag is way too big to carry around daily, but a smaller version would work well, I think.

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