Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Make A Bag Chapter 12: Blocked Tote

The last of our six bag types today - The Blocked Tote.

Here's that silly volume-dimensions diagram again (are you sick of it yet?):

The Blocked Tote, so named by me because it's comprised of individual pieces, each of which is connected on all their relevant sides to another piece by seams, like blocks of a quilt.

In fabric:

The bag can be assembled in any sequence - 
  • Front+Base+Back joined to the two Sides like a Wrapped Tote;
  • Side+Base+Side joined to the Front and Back like a Gusseted Tote;
  • Front+Side+Back+Side joined to the Base like a Bucket Tote

Either way, we try to get the corners to meet neatly:

For this bag, we made reversible loop straps

and attached them to the bag by anchor tabs sewn into the top seam.

The lining is, as usual, just a second identical bag topstitched to the outer bag around their opening. Because the strap tabs are sewn into that top seam, the bag is fully reversible and can be used lining face out. 

I don't really consider the Blocked Tote a technically distinct category because it can be constructed as a Gusseted Tote, a Wrapped Tote or a Bucket Tote, depending on the sequence of connecting its pieces. It was hard to find examples of true Blocked Totes to show you. I did find a few that qualified because of the extra stitching reinforcement that emphasized their seam pattern. 

Here's that fold-up grocery bag with external bound seams:

This is a cubic laundry hamper with topstitched seams (not that you can see them in this picture):

These are a couple of mailman bags I made for a friend's sons some years back. You can see the french seams emphasizing all the individual edges.

This brings us to the end of the reconstruction of the six bag categories. I know some of you might have been expecting full tutorials on the particular details of each of these grey bags but I must remind you that this bag series specifically excludes the details and sewing techniques. See the course outline here for more information. 

In a couple of days I will be introducing you to a seventh category of bags - quite different from these six and quite impossible to reduce to a single schematic diagram or construction sequence. See you then!


  1. I think this is my favorite example so far.
    But I have thought that several times during this incredible series.
    So...never mind about "favorite"...but I really love this design! :)

  2. What a great series, and all the examples look super-sharp!

  3. Nope, not sick of the volume-dimensions diagram. It is an integral design element that helps tie it all together....that's how I see it, anyway. Words are so inadequate but it's all I have....so...Thank You!


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