Playing with a Tote

What happens when you deconstruct a tote bag?

It does sound quite silly, doesn’t it? After all, who would want to deconstruct a tote bag when the outcome is essentially just a rectangle? Well, I did but it was all for a reason.

I was invited to a school a while ago to chat to the students regarding pattern cutting and I thought the best way for them to quickly understand pattern cutting was for them to cut and sew a tote bag. I wanted to teach them that pattern cutting is basically putting shapes together to achieve something different and they shouldn’t be scared of it.

However, I didn’t want them to just sew a normal tote bag. I wanted it to be a challenge but, at the same time, show them what is possible in the simplest way. I did this by piecing together, in paper, the shape of a tote bag and from there I decided where I wanted the seam line to go and if there were any details – in this case a pocket in the front.


I was quite pleased when the students managed to put it together. They might have struggled with the theory and construction at first but once they got a hang of it, the tote was done before the end of their class.

Needless to say, I made myself one as well but in a rubberised plastic material.


I was told by their teacher a few days later that the students thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and the teachers also made the tote bag. This was such an enriching moment for me as it’s always great to show others that pattern cutting can be easy and, if you understand the ideology of it, anything can be made.


About syvyaw

Eat, sleep and think Fashion.

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