Workshop Tote Sew Along: Fabric Options

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Happy Thursday! Today I wanted to share some recommendations for fabrics that would make a great Workshop Tote as well as my choices for the bags I'm going to make. I'm posting this now so that you have time to pick out or order fabrics if you need to, before the sew along starts!

First up, I'm including the pattern fabric requirements down below.

The tote exterior can be made with yardage, fat quarters, fat eighths or charm packs.

There are lots of different fabrics that you could use to make these totes. Let's look at a few bags stitched up and some fabric pulls I'm going to use for bags throughout the sew along!

Quilting Cotton Fabrics

Quilting cottons are perfect for these bags! Cut into some fresh fat quarters, fat eighths, a charm pack, or scrap bin for the patchwork + half-square triangle totes or show off a focal print with the plain tote. There are endless possibilities! Above you can see my quilting cotton pull for a tote using Terrestrial and Bird's Eye View collections by Sarah Watson.

And here is a beautiful bag made for me by my friend Brianne! She used black and white prints from her stash, and added a pop of color with nylon handles and a fun lining fabric. She also used a heavier interfacing (I believe Fusible Fleece), to add some extra structure and softness!

Light-weight Woven Fabrics

These are the fabrics I used for my half-square triangle tote and patchwork tote. They're a combination of shot cottons, cross weaves and peppered cottons. These solids have really lovely texture, and often are made with two different colored threads to give them extra dimension. Here are a few great options on the market right now:

- Kaleidoscope by Alison Glass
- Shot Cotton by Kaffe Fasset
- Peppered Cottons by Studio E
- Chambray by Andover
- Cross Weaves by Moda
- Cirrus Solids by Cloud 9 Fabrics
- Manchester Cotton by Robert Kaufman
- The Denim Studio by Art Gallery Fabrics

In addition to these, there are a number of beautiful fabrics that have designs woven in with different colored threads. The plain tote I made uses a fabric from Union Chambray. Here are a few great options for something similar:

- Mariner's Cloth by Alison Glass
- Union Chambray by Robert Kaufman
- Essex Yarn Dyed Classic Wovens by Robert Kaufman
- Window Dressing by Cloud 9 Fabrics

I'm using a combination of Mariner's Cloth paired with a Kaleidoscope solid for a half-square triangle tote. Each half-square triangle will be half solid and half stripe. To make one this way too, you'll need 5/8 yard of the solid and (7) fat eighths of the stripes.

Essex Linen Fabrics

Essex Linen is a great choices for these bags! It's got great structure, and is available in lots of colors. There are also a number of collections that are overprinted on Essex Linen and Homespun. Since it is a little heavier weight, you probably want to avoid using these for the half-square triangle version to avoid bulky seams. Here are a few options:

- Essex Linen by Robert Kaufman
- Euclid by Carolyn Friedlander
- Polk by Carolyn Friedlander
- Arroyo by Cotton Flax
- Forage by Anna Graham

Gingham Fabrics

Who doesn't love gingham? These woven fabrics would make lovely tote bags. I'm using seven colors of Checkers Gingham for a patchwork tote! Here are a few great gingham collections:

- Checkers Gingham by Cotton & Steel
- Carolina Gingham by Robert Kaufman
- Checks Please by Cloud 9 Fabrics

I'm really excited to be dipping into my Gertrude Made barkcloth fabric for my plain tote. Barkcloth is a really interesting fabric that has a unique texture. You can sometimes find vintage barkcloth fabric, but there are some great modern ones on the market right now too:

- Gertrude Made Barkcloth
- Cloud 9 Barkcloth

Feel free to start posting your fabric choices and tagging them #workshoptote so we can see what you've got planned! And don't forget to pick up a copy of the Workshop Tote pattern! You can find it in my online shop, here.

We'll officially kick off the Sew Along on Tuesday, August 21st! Can't wait!!


  1. I've got my pattern, using stash (probably randomly!) and I can't wait to get started!

  2. I'm excited to get started with this project. I'm also pretty sure that I will me making more of these bags for family/friends. Thanks!


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