Finley Tote Sew-Along (intro + supplies needed)

Hello, hello everyone!

Are you planning on joining our Finley Tote sew along? Yay, welcome! 

I absolutely love how versatile and useful this tote bag is. It's large enough to carry all one needs on a daily basis but is not so huge that you feel like you lug half of your belongings around :).

Finished size of this tote is 13'' tall x 10'' wide on bottom x 4'' deep.

And, there are so many possibilities for customization to fit one's needs. You can make exactly the same tote as the one pictured above, you can also choose to customize the exterior by using a focal fabric for your pocket (photo below), or you can decide you don't care for a long adjustable strap but will add long handles to carry your tote on your shoulder instead. I'm telling you, lots of possibilities here :)

Before we get to the fun part and start sewing though we need to talk about materials and supplies. Let's dive right in, shall we?

First thing you will need, of course, is Finley Tote pattern (purchase here).

FABRIC A (main exterior) – 1/2 yard 

FABRIC B (contrasting exterior bottom + handles and strap) – 3/4 yard 
FABRIC C (lining) – 3/4 yard 
SF 101 INTERFACING (or other medium weight fusible interfacing of choice) – 2 ¾ yards 
one (1) - 9'' long metal or nylon ZIPPER 
one (1) - 7'' long metal or nylon ZIPPER 
one (1) – 14'' long metal or nylon ZIPPER 
two (2) – 1'' wide D- RINGS 
one (1) – 1'' wide RECTANGULAR STRAP SLIDER 
two (2) – 1'' wide SWIVEL HOOKS 
four (4) – 6-8 mm RIVETS (optional)

cutting mat, ruler, and rotary cutter
Wonder clips and/or pins
disappearing fabric marker or fine chalk pen
small sharp fabric scissors
90/14 or 110/18 (jeans/denim) needle for your sewing machine
leather hole punch + rivet setting tool (optional)

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 I recommend using heavier weight exterior fabrics (fabrics A and B) since they bring just the right amount of sturdiness to the finished bag without having to use tons of interfacing. Here are some examples:

designer canvas

Cloud 9 and Cotton and Steel canvas are my absolute favorites.

Japanese cotton/linen blend

I purchase most of these from Miss Matatabi on Etsy.

Essex linen

Essex linen by Robert Kaufman (either plain or overprinted) is one of my most favorite materials to use for bagmaking.


And then there's barkcloth. I love using Cloud 9 brand because I love their designs but I'm sure there are other brands you can find on the market.

duck canvas

Last, but definitely not least, is the humble duck canvas. I love its sturdiness and affordability

There are, of course, other options you could go with. Denim, oilskin, or even waxed canvas would work great. Just choose what works best for you. 

I wouldn't really recommend using quilting cotton for the exterior of the bag as I find it a bit too thin but, if your heart is set on a certain print, you can definitely make it work. Just double the amount of interfacing to make your panels sturdier, or you could even use Pellon fusible fleece to add a bit of extra body to your finished tote. 

Told you, lots of possibilities :)

Quilting cotton though is perfectly fine for the lining (fabric C).

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Now let's talk zippers and bag hardware.

I love using metal zippers because I think they look super polished and add just the right amount of style to my finished bags. You can, however, use nylon zippers if you prefer. I'd recommend using heavier weight 5 mm nylon zippers, they are a bit wider and sturdier than your standard nylon zipper.

I buy all my zippers from Zipit Zippers on Etsy as the zippers are of high quality and their service is lightning fast.

 As for the hardware, I'm a big fan of Dritz bag hardware. I love that you can find it at most of the craft stores so no need to order it online and then having to wait. I especially love these triangular versions of D-rings but regular D-rings will do just fine. If you need help finding just the right hardware check out my post on Bag Making Supplies for a few more links to online stores that carry bag hardware.

Oh, I almost forgot. I do like adding leather handles to my bags, I'm sure you have noticed :). I buy all my leather handles from leatherEU. You can, of course, use cotton webbing or simply make your own fabric handles instead. We'll tackle making handles during our sew along.

I think I got most of materials and supplies covered. Any questions? Please leave them in comments below so everyone can benefit from any additional information.

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The sew along will officially kick off on Wed. May 1st so you all have enough time to gather your supplies. I'm thinking about doing a post each Wednesday for four weeks. I'm sure it will be great fun.

Wishing you all a happy and creative week.