Jenna Tote Bag from S.O.T.A.K. Handmade

What a great tote bag Svetlana from S.O.T.A.K Handmade has designed!  The Jenna Tote pdf sewing pattern was released last week and I had the opportunity to help test the pattern.  Although I am not usually one to carry around a tote bag, the spacious front pocket, roomy back zipper compartment, and interior pocket make this medium-sized tote bag easy to keep organized; so I've been carrying it every day since I finished sewing it.
*Disclosure: I received this pattern for free for the purpose of pattern testing.   The only testing requirements were to sew the bag and submit comments, suggestions and one picture.  The views expressed here are my own and not required as part of testing or influenced by the designer.

I discovered S.O.T.A.K Handmade during the Sew Mama Sew giveaway days last spring and I've been following her every since (psst! - the next giveaway day (week) is December 9, 2015, so keep an eye out!).  She has several helpful tutorials on her blog, as well as several patterns available for purchase in her shop.  Her blog features sewing and quilting posts, so if you haven't been over there before, be sure to check her out.   When she put out a call for a testing team recently, I eagerly applied and that is how the Jenna Tote an I became friends!

Are you on Periscope?  I'll be broadcasting live with a review and closer look at my Jenna Tote, so follow me to be notified when the broadcast is live or to catch the replay. *update: I've embeded the video from the broadcast at the end of this post

  • front pocket with heavy duty snap closure has dimension to it, making it a great storage spot
  • back has large zippered compartment
  • boxed corners on the bottom of the bag give the tote a stable bottom so it doesn't tip over when set down.
  • roomy interior fits several water bottles or lots of whatever you want to carry.  I haven't measured, but it seems like I could fit two two-liters inside.   
  • interior flat pocket to keep smaller items easily accessible
  • straps are long enough to fit over my shoulder but short enough to carry by hand as well.  
  • pattern gives instructions for making fabric straps, as well as using webbing or pre-made strap material.

For my bag, I used canvas for the exterior and interior, as well as for the large front pocket and the zippered compartment.  The interior pocket is quilting cotton.  Fabric, zippers, webbing for straps and snaps were purchased at JoAnn Fabric.  The pattern calls for SF101 or any medium weight interfacing.  I used 808 since that is what I had on hand.  I love how sturdy the bag is with the combination of canvas fabrics and the craft fuse (808).

I found the pattern clearly written and easy to follow.  The boxed corners at the bottom of the bag allow the tote to stand up nicely without tipping over when set on the floor, the lining fits nicely without bunching up or wrinkling, and the two parallel lines of topstitching give the bag a high quality finish.  (The pattern calls for parallel lines of top stitching around the top of the bag just below the zipper.  It was getting too late at night, so I waited to do it (afraid I'd mess it up).  Then I liked it fine without it, so I didn't go back and add the final top stitching.  You can do it either way!)  I also like the heavy duty snaps on the front pocket - this was the first time I used them and I found them easy to install and both sturdy and stylish.  If you don't have heavy duty snaps and don't want to purchase the press and snaps (I bought mine at JoAnn's), you could use magnetic purse closures, leave of closures and just have a flap, or even try a twist lock instead.  The front pocket is also made with shape and dimension - it is not just a flat pocket attached to the front.  Darts are sewn into the pocket before attaching it, and this gives more room to the pocket.  I can even store a few diapers in there!

If you are looking for a medium-sized, stylish, and practical tote bag pattern, I encourage you to try out the Jenna Tote bag pdf pattern from S.O.T.A.K Handmade.  And while you are there, take a look at her other patterns and tutorials!  You can also view her post about the pattern release, which showcases the other bags made during testing by visiting this link.

1 comment

  1. What a cute bag! I haven't sewn many bags, just clothes, but it looks like I may have to learn to sew bags, too. ;)


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