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Posts Tagged ‘waterproof tote’

At a Baby Bjorn event they gave out a canvas tote bag that I’ve found to be almost the perfect size. It fits all the things I need when I go out with Alyssa – diapers, changing mat, extra clothes, etc. It’s sturdy because there is no seam at the bottom. It’s made of a single piece of cloth that’s sewn together at the sides. That also makes it very light, which is great because some diaper bags feel quite heavy even before you put anything inside. The length of the straps are also just right. Long enough to slip off one strap past my elbow while the other is still on my shoulder, yet not so long that when you hold it in your hand the bag touches the floor.

But when we got caught in the rain in Malaysia I realised the one flaw of the bag was that it wasn’t waterproof. In Malaysia I had to stuff my bag into my Mum’s oil-cloth bag so that it would stay dry. I decided then and there that I would try to make a waterproof version of that tote.

Initially I was thinking of oil-cloth or vinyl-coated cotton, but Spotlight didn’t sell those. So I went for waterproof canvas that’s meant for outdoor furniture. There was a nice range of patterns and I was tempted to go for a bright red in a geometric print. In the end I decided to stick with the classic and easy-to-match black and white stripes. If it’s good enough for Coco, it’s good enough for me.

The waterproof canvas frays easily though, so instead of regular seams I sewed French seams. I love the clean finish!

I also didn’t anticipate having trouble making the gusset. I thought I could just hem up the bottom bit and everything would line up properly. Only as I was doing it did I realise the method I had planned out in my head was flawed. Thankfully I remembered seeing a pattern somewhere that had squares cut out at the bottom corners and tried that method. It worked! At first I didn’t realise they had to be squares though, and cut out a rectangle, only to discover that the seams did not line up. I then had to expand the cut-out into a larger square, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise because now the bag has a wider gusset and my things fit even more comfortably inside!

I’m so very pleased with my tote. I tried putting a couple of drops of water on the bag and they just rolled off. Perfect for the coming rainy season and for our upcoming holiday to Hong Kong. I don’t have to worry about Alyssa’s things getting soaked anymore!

Making square cut-outs at the bottom corner to make gussets

Making square cut-outs at the bottom corner to make gussets. Note that this is a single piece of cloth, folded in half before cutting out the squares.

Makes a practical, wide gusset. And I love how the stripes lined up perfectly just as I wanted!

Makes a practical, wide gusset. And I love how the stripes lined up perfectly just as I wanted!

My beautiful French seam, if I may say so myself haha! It's the first time I did it!

My beautiful French seam, if I may say so myself haha! It’s the first time I did it!

Looks neat on the outside too

Looks neat on the outside too. Except for the fraying, waterproof canvas is very easy to work with.

The finished product stuffed with all the baby things.

The finished product stuffed with all the baby things.

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