Monday, May 11, 2015

SF Giants tote bag

Among some of the fabric that I acquired when my sister-in-law's mother died, was some SF Giants woven fabric.  For whatever reason, I can find SF Giants and SF 49er fleece out here, but woven cotton is practically non-existent.  So I was delighted to find these pieces in her stash.

Now, I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a baseball fan.  The sport is just waaay to slow for me.  But, my niece and sister-in-law and my sister-in-law's sister are HUGE Giant's fans.  I mean dyed in the wool fans.  So, when I spied the SF Giants fabric, I asked my niece if she would like a tote bag ... or something ... made from it.  She agreed that a tote bag would be dandy.  (I also made my sister-in-law and her sister some zip pouches from the fabric, so they wouldn't feel left out.)

I searched through my collection of tote bag tutorials and chose my version of the Jordy Bag.  This is a great tote bag, but over the years, I've added some extras that have proven to be very useful.   This specific bag is larger than the original Jordy Bag, as I wanted to maximize the use of the fabric that I had.  The dimensions of this bag are a very generous 15"l x 17"h x 4"d.

I like to have an interior, hidden zippered pocket as well as a divided patch pocket.  The lining is a bright SF Giants orange solid and the zipper is a contrast black.  When the zippered security closure is flipped down, you can't even see that the hidden zipper pocket is there.  What I like about this pocket is that the pocket itself hangs freely between the lining and the tote bag.  It's securely made from interfaced fabric so there is no chance of it falling apart inside.  It's a very ingenious design.

On the other side of the tote, I put a divided patch pocket.

It's nice to have an easily accessible pocket for small things. 

The inherent downside of patch pockets is that all the stress is at the top, where the pocket is stitched to the base fabric.  Whenever you delve into the pocket, those stitches take the brunt of the pull.  I put a patch of interfacing on the back of the lining so help support that stress, as well as stitching a triangle at the top of the patch pocket instead of a single line of stitching.   But ... in the grand scheme of things, I expect this patch pocket to tear away at some future time.

My favorite middle daughter likes to have a loop to hang her key carabiner on, so she can immediately latch onto her keys instead of fumbling around at the bottom of the bag.  Sadly, I forgot all about this step when I made this tote bag ... oops.  :-)

I like to have a zippered security top for tote bags ... although I have never been pick-pocketed, I am leery of having an open-topped tote bag in public.  You just never know when a light-fingered individual is around.

I chose a bright orange sport zipper to coordinate with the black background logo fabric.

I also like to have the handles/straps fully surround the tote bag ... so that they start/end at the center bottom seam.  Having fully supported handles like this enables you to carry heavier loads in the tote without being concerned that the stitches only at the top seam will pull out.  Additionally, when the handles are sewn like this, you have a ready-made framework for an exterior patch pocket.

I made a patchwork pocket from the VERY SMALL pieces that were leftover.  (What now remains are even smaller pieces, which could be good for crumbs, but that's about all!)

Finally, I like to put a separate, removable firm false bottom in the tote.  I'm still trying out various substances for the false bottom; this one is foam board.  I cover the false bottom with the lining fabric and I put a piece of Velcro on the back side of the false bottom to match a piece on the bottom of the tote.  That ensures that the false bottom sticks in place but can be removed when the tote is washed.

The Jordy Bag is fully lined, which presents a beautifully finished interior, which is a lovely touch.  But as with many lined tote bags, the lining is a separate piece.  This means when you fumble around the bottom of the bag, many times the lining will detach itself from the bag.   This is annoying.  I figured out an easy way to permanently and invisibly attach the lining to the bottom of the tote bag but still have a fully finished interior.

When I made the Jordy Bag, I would make notes on the instructions, so I wouldn't need to think of how to do that feature again.  I have incorporated those features into the instructions so that my version is sort of a mish-mash of different tutorials from various people.  I figure, why reinvent the wheel when another sewer has already done the work?

The tutorial for the original Jordy Bag can be found at Jordynn Mackenzie.    The tutorial for the interior, hidden zippered pocket can be found at Jerisew(s).   The tutorial for the zippered security closure at the top can be found at the forum at Craftster.  The other variations are self-explanatory to any experienced sewer.


  1. That is one superb tote. Hope she keeps it clean forever.

    (Do you Scotchgard fabric for projects like this?)

  2. Love, love, love!