Sometimes it is extremely satisfying to sew a pattern that doesn’t require fitting. For me, that means a bag. Or two. Or three. Maybe even four.
Most of my readers know that I am friends with Anna, who has designed the Genoa Tote in conjunction with Nita-Jane of Pattern Fantastique. So take that into account when you read the rest of this blog post – I might have unconscious bias. But I don’t think that I do – it’s a terrific tote pattern and I think that the results speak for themselves. But boy, bags are difficult to photograph well!
Yes, there are a million free patterns and tutorials for tote bags out there on the internet. But I think that there are a few points of difference that make the Genoa Tote pattern worth the money (I will point out here that I didn’t pay for my copy of the pattern as I helped with final testing). This pattern comes in three sizes, all nicely proportioned. I’ve made the Medium and the Large (the orange bag). The facing at the top of the bag gives structure, the lining is nicely attached to the main bag, and there is a nicely constructed inner pocket and key leash. And of course, those leather handles. They’re great.
I used denim for the outer of all my bags. The most difficult part is sourcing the requirements for the handles. I got my leather directly from Anna – she will be selling some kits – but you can get it from places like NSW Leather Company. Or you can do as I did with one of my bags and cut up some old belts! I bought rivets and punches and other bits and pieces online from Adelaide Leather Co (their service was great) and now I have enough to sew Genoa totes for the rest of my life. My rubber mallet came from Bunnings and the bread board from the supermarket.
It’s lots of fun putting together fabric combinations for this bag. Anna’s instructions are excellent (she has an extensive teaching/training/writing background) and combined with Nita-Jane’s drafting you are assured of a great result. I’ve already given one bag to a friend for her 50th and can tell that this will be a go-to pattern for gifts.
The pattern description from the website is as follows: Designed with denim in mind, the Genoa Tote borrows it’s name from the Italian city, where the first denim trousers were made. The Genoa Tote is fully-lined, features a zipped pouch and a clip for keys. The leather straps can be made in two lengths and two widths, and are attached with double capped rivets, creating beauty, strength and longevity.
I’ve already seen loads of these pop up on Instagram. It’s a basic, but a basic that has all those elements that in my opinion elevate it above the ordinary. Nicely done, Anna and Nita-Jane!