Tag Archives: bag

Completed: Addictive Free Canvas Tote from Niizo

4 Dec

It’s that time of the year again – new bag season!!

Addictive Free Canvas Tote

This is the Addictive Free Canvas Tote from Niizo, and my third project made using a kit + pattern from this company. I cannot say enough good things about them – my Freedom Backpack has been the best travel companion I could ask for (I’ve dragged that thing EVERYWHERE – including all the way to Egypt!) and my Craftsmanship Bag gets loads of compliments every time I carry it.

While I wasn’t much of a tote bag user in the past, that has changed recently. Now that I walk to Craft South for classes, it’s nice to have a bag to carry all my junk in. I have also started doing occasional work in alterations for photoshoots and tv, which require me to carry all my supplies on set. I have tons of those free tote bags that pretty much every business gives away, so I’ve managed just fine, but I really wanted something more sturdy that looks professional and doesn’t collapse when you put it on the floor. This pattern checks all those needs, and it’s an added bonus that I made it myself – call it advertising, if you will!

Addictive Free Canvas Tote

The Addictive Free Canvas Tote pattern includes 3 sizes, as well as instructions + a formula to create the custom sized tote of your dreams. I went with the largest size, which is quite large – about 19″ x 9″, and 5 1/2″ deep. I wanted something that would fit my 13″ laptop, as well as my knitting bag with plenty of room to spare.

I used the kit to make this bag, which is 100% what I recommend! Of course, you can buy just the PDF pattern if you want to supply your own fabric, but the stuff that comes in the kit is super nice! It includes medium weight canvas, water repellent nylon lining, thick foam for the bottom of the bag (which helps the bag keep its shape when you fill it with all your crap), a nice metal zipper & magnetic bag closure, and the leather tag that you can choose what words you want to have stamped on it. The medium weight canvas is sturdy enough that it doesn’t require interfacing – the bag stands up on it’s own without it. My backpack & purse are made of this same stuff, and they have held up beautifully over the year that I’ve carried them.

The kit is beautifully packaged, with each piece clearly marked so you know what pattern piece to cut from it. The pattern is a PDF, so while you do have to print it, there is only one page that needs to be taped. I have found the easiest way to cut my fabric is to trace the pieces directly on the fabric with tailor’s wax, and then cut the single layer with a pair of sharp scissors.

Like the other Niizo patterns I have sewn, the instructions are clear and easy to follow! This is definitely the easiest one I’ve sewn – but it has some fun features that keep it from being just a super plain tote bag. There are interior pockets – including a zippered pocket – plus one outside pocket which is the perfect size for my phone. The straps extend all the way to the base of the bag, and they are long enough to hold over your shoulder. There’s also a cute little fabric piece sewn to the back that you can use to attach a charm (or in my case, keys).

Addictive Free Canvas Tote

Addictive Free Canvas Tote

My little leather patch says L.Taylor, but you can customize it to say anything! I’m not going to lie – I had to actually talk myself out of asking for it to be stamped “butts.” Butts on everything, man.

Addictive Free Canvas Tote

Addictive Free Canvas Tote

Addictive Free Canvas Tote

You have the option to add stitching lines to the flat pocket to make it whatever size you want. I added a section for a pen and made one side big enough to hold a small notebook or my phone.

Addictive Free Canvas Tote

Here’s a picture of the tote on my dressform, to give you an idea of it’s size!

Anyway, if you made it this far – congratulations, now you get to learn about Niizo’s holiday sale!

4th -18th December
♥︎ All items 10% off in niizo Etsy shop.
♥︎ Participate #mapofbagmaker event to get a 15% off coupon code
– Post a photo of your SELF-MADE bag in a scene that could represent where you are.
– Name your location
– #mapofbagmaker @niizocraft
(the code will be sent via ig private message, one account one coupon, valid until 31st Dec)
for more information please follow @niizocraft in instangram

Addictive Free Canvas Tote

I think that’s about all I can say about this one! Happy bag-making, friends! ❤

Note: I was given this bag pattern + kit free of charge, in exchange for writing a blog post about it. All gushy opinions are 100% my own. Get you a niizo bag kit, they are worth it! Really!!

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Completed: Craftsmanship Bag

23 Mar

Hi!

Another bag post today 🙂 I’ve been making clothes – tons of clothes – but haven’t had the will to drag myself in front of a camera quite yet. Also, my sewing mojo completely disappeared for a minute there, and this particular project is responsible for reviving it – so it seems appropriate to give it a shoutout!

(My apologies in advance for the quality of these photos – I got a new computer and my photo editing software doesn’t work on the new one, so I’m going through a pretty intense learning curve right now. Also, way to learn on something red. Brilliant move, Lauren :P)

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Anyway, my new bag! This one is another pattern/kit from Niizo, it is the Craftsmanship Bag. I have mentioned before that I don’t care to make bags (I’d rather just buy one really nice one and let someone else do all the sewing work!), but I do really love the ones from Niizo. I think one of my biggest beefs with handmade bags is the materials – they just always look, well, homemade. Quality materials is a big part of making your bag look nice – and it’s hard to source all that stuff, let alone get it to match. Then there’s the issue with the patterns themselves – they are usually much more simple than what you see in a RTW bag, which adds to that whole homemade factor. Thus is the reason why I like sewing bags from Niizo – her patterns have those cool features you see in bags at stores, and you can get a kit with all the supplies you need. The patterns are easy to follow, and the finished bag always look professional. This is my second pattern I’ve sewn from this brand (my first one was the Freedom Backpack,which you can read about my experience here. I have carried that thing several times on my last few trips – including when I went to Egypt – and it is fabulous!), and I had just as good of an experience with this project.

As I mentioned, I used the Craftsmanship Bag kit, as it includes all the materials you need to make the bag (except thread and your sewing tools). I love the quality of the materials that you get – medium weight canvas for the outer, Oxford cotton for the lining, beautiful brass hardware, rugged metal zippers – and that it’s all collected in one neat little package. You also have the option to buy the pattern separately, should you want to use your own materials for this bag. But I like having everything handed to me, so I opted for the kit! It was REAL HARD not to get the same olive green as used in the product photos, but I ended up going with red because I’ve always wanted a red handbag! I love the rich color, especially in contrast to the beige lining. It’s so pretty and happy 🙂

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

This pattern looks deceptively simple, but it has a lot of great features that really make it special. The purse is fully lined with pockets on the inside, and includes a covered zippered pocket on the back, roomy side pockets finished with self-piping, handles and a long adjustable strap, and hand-stitched leather details. The lining pieces are interfaced for additional support (since the outer is a medium weight canvas, this makes the bag quite sturdy), and there is foam at the bottom of the bag as well. I forgot to take a photo of the bottom, but I attached mine with long diagonal rows. You can do any sort of design you want, though, which is kind of fun! 🙂

Sewing-wise, this was much easier to make than the Freedom Backpack. There are tons of little pieces (like the pockets, the straps, etc) that are quick enough to put together so that you can work on this project in short little bursts. I wasn’t sure if I would have a hard time going through all the layers of at those side pockets – with the self-piping, it’s quite thick – but my sewing machine handled it fine. I used a 90/14 needle and didn’t even break one this time! 🙂 I think Amy also increased some of the seam allowances on this pattern, so they’re slightly wider (still 3/8″ and under, but not like, less than 1/4″ as in the version of the backpack I sewed) and thus easier to sew. The instructions were very easy to follow and I had no problem sewing any of the pockets or zippers. Turning the bag right side out was MUCH easier than it had been with the backpack!

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

If you get the kit, you have the option to get the front leather piece stamped with whatever phrase you want. Obviously, I went with my own name, because I am totally one of those people who loves their name. No shame about that.

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

The long strap is attached by a swivel hook, so it’s completely removable if you want to carry the purse by its handles.

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

To be honest, I was the most excited about sewing that zippered top! I have always wanted to learn how to add a zippered top to a lined box bag, and this pattern totally delivered! It’s kind of a weird pattern piece, but it comes together SO satisfyingly and all the seams are completely enclosed.

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Here is the inside of the bag. Ha! There are lined pockets on both sides. I just sewed straight down the middle of each one, so they are all the same size, but you could customize these to be whatever size you wanted – including making little pen holders.

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

I anticipated that it would be impossible to get a shot of the lining, so here it is flat before I put it in the bag. The lining is an Oxford cotton – about the same weight as a quilting cotton. All the lining pieces are interfaced, with the exception of the pockets. I love how the pockets are finished – they are lined with the nylon lining (the same stuff that I lined my Freedom backpack with), and the pattern pieces are measured so that the nylon is longer than the cotton, which when everything is turned and stitched down, you have a nice nylon edge. It’s a really pretty detail.

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Since the bag outer is red, I decided to topstitch the lining with red thread to bring everything together. I used the triple stitch on my sewing machine so that the stitches would be thicker and thus more visible. I love the way it looks – shame it’s on the inside of the bag, ha!

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Here is a picture of the bag with some of my stuff in it, to give you an idea of it’s size and what it can carry! (I should mention – the above photos are all with the bag empty. It holds its shape really well!). The side pockets are big enough to carry a water bottle – there is a dart at the bottom, so they are shaped (not flat). The water bottle in my bag is a S’Well mini, but I reckon most bottles would fit. The bag can also comfortably hold a full-sized iPad Air, and you can zip it closed. I didn’t take a photo of this, but the back pocket also easily holds my phone (which is an iPhone 6 – but there is lots of extra room, so I think a bigger phone would fit too) or my wallet. The interior pockets are also phone-sized.

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

And here is the bag on my dressform, to give you an idea of the size in proportion to a person. It’s not a super tiny bag, but it’s also not giant. The dimensions of my finished bag are approximately 13″ long, 7.5″ tall, and 6″ deep – which is a great size for my needs! The size is pretty similar to the handbag that I use daily, which is a Coach Crosby. Big enough to hold what I need, but not so huge that I’m tempted to fill it with everything I own.

Since I already have a nice leather handbag, I probably won’t be using this bag on the daily (unless I’m going somewhere dirty, like the flea market haha). I primarily made this bag as a replacement for my travel purse. For years, I have used a Po Campo Roscoe Crossbody bag, which I LOVEEEE, but the lining is finally falling apart. I was looking for something to replace it with that was a bit wider (the Roscoe is super flat, which is nice, but then you stuff it with your crap and then it’s not exactly flat anymore haha), and the Craftsmanship bag is exactly what I wanted. I think it’s ideal for travel – you have the option of hand or shoulder straps, there are pockets to hold a water bottle, the top zips shut and there’s a zippered pocket in the back. I haven’t traveled since finishing the bag, but it’s ready to go when I take my next trip!

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Anyway, I guess that’s all for this bag! Who else is into making bags? Have y’all tried a kit/pattern from Niizo yet? What’s your favorite bag to carry – pattern or store-bought?

*Note: Niizo sent me this kit for free, as a thank you for reviewing the Freedom Backpack. I was under no obligation to post about this project, but I truly love how it turned out and felt like it deserved to be shared!