City Zipper Tote

Hello, sewing friends!
Here’s a versatile tote for so many purposes,
and all done up in patriotic summer colors.
The outer fabric, zipper flaps, and pocket fabric are True Blue by designer Ana Davis for Blend Fabrics.

The pattern is from Quilts Illustrated and it’s called the City Zipper.
There are no outer pockets, but the inside is completely lined with pockets.
I used my Baby Lock Sashiko outfitted with my Baby Lock Ovation binder attachment to easily add the binding to the top of the pockets.

Then I used the fly stitch on my Bernina 750 to reinforce the top of each pocket section:

And would you look at the width of that bag!
This one finished up at the exact measurements indicated on the pattern:
22″ wide x 11″ tall x 7″ deep
That’s one wide mouth bag!
Here’s a top view with the zipper closed.
and cut it down to size after I sewed it into the zipper flaps.
That way, I still have enough of my red zipper to use for another project.

For extra durability in the handles, I used navy leather for the tabs:
If you are going to use leather, just be advised:  it’s a pain in the rear because the tabs are folded to enclose all raw edges, then they are layered between the interfaced lining, two layers of interfaced zipper flap fabric, and the Soft and Stable quilted outer fabric layer.
I lost count of how many needles I broke stitching those tabs.  They were worth it though.
They’re so pretty and strong, and professional looking.  Yay!

The pattern instructs you to use fusible batting to give the bag some body,
but I sure do like a structured tote, so I chose to use by Annie Soft and Stable.
Yes, that made sewing the tote more of a challenge, but it stands at attention,
and that makes it easy to locate what you’re looking for inside that expanse of a bag.
The bottom of the bag would tend to hang low if you fill it to the brim, or if you carry
heavy items, so the instructions suggest firming up the bottom.
(Hmmmm, I initially thought that was directed at me,
but realized all the patterns are printed the same.)
The pattern suggestion is to use picture framing cardboard cut to the dimensions
of the bag bottom, inserted in a sewn sleeve, and dropped into the bottom of the bag.
I decided I wanted and even firmer bottom (heh, heh, don’t we all?)
so I enlisted hubby to help me experiment with making my own custom acrylic board.
This is what I purchased from Home Depot:

Now, how to cut that acrylic?  That’s where hubby’s services were enlisted (coerced, perhaps).
He surmised a regular blade on his table saw would perhaps melt the acrylic, or crack it,
so at Harbor Freight, we purchased this inexpensive (under $6) blade specifically for cutting plastic:
Perfect!  It made a beautiful cut.
Now all we (he) had left to do was lightly sand the rough cut edge,
and of course, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, she also wants the corners rounded.
So he used a small power sander to do the job:
What a guy!
Here’s the finished piece laying on top of the lining fabric that I used for the sleeve:
Instead of just laying my support piece in the bottom of the bag, I stitched one end and one side of the sleeve to the bottom of the bag lining before I attached the lining to the outer bag.
Then when I finished the tote, I simply slipped the acrylic support into the sleeve.
It was easy to slip it into the sleeve because one long edge and the open end of the sleeve were not stitched down flat to the bottom of the lining:
That acrylic base will not go anywhere, but it is still easy to remove should it become necessary:
Okay, load up your new tote with towels, bottle water, a good read, and sunscreen and head to the beach or the pool.  Your new City Zipper will hold it all.
You could also use it as a project bag for your crochet or knitting (yes, those long knitting needles will fit in here).
All those necessary baby and toddler items would also fit in here.  What a great gift for an expecting mommy.
Have fun daydreaming about how you are going to use this one as you are sewing it, or, as always,
the test sample is up for sale in my shop.
Thank you so much for spending some of your day here with me.

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