Wood Carrier Tote Hack / Tutorial
In the last post, I shared a bit about the canvas fabric I used for this project, as well as my thoughts on needles. In this post, I'm sharing the tutorial for how to hack the Wood Carrier by Anna Graham of Noodlehead from Making No. 8 / FOREST into a tote. This a simple hack that's beginner-friendly, so let's get started!
The supply list and instructions for this pattern can be found on page 45 of Making No. 8 / FOREST, which I'll be referencing throughout this tutorial.
Start by following the instructions on page 45 for making the handles. My handles are 4" longer than the pattern because the webbing in my stash had already been cut, and I figured it wouldn't hurt for them to be a little longer since this was going to be more of a bag that I'd wear over my shoulder. If you plan to wear this bag over the shoulder, I'd recommend adding 4" - 6" to the handle length for a comfortable fit.
Tip: If you have a tote bag that you already like, measure the handles and add the difference to the handles in this project so that you don't have to guess about how much extra length you might need. I am 5'1" so 4" was enough for me, but if you're taller or would like your bag to hang lower, more length might be needed.
Next, complete step 1 of the Main Panel instructions. For steps 2-4, hem all edges except for sides 8 & 4 leaving them to be finished later.
Follow steps 1-4 for attaching the handles.
Attach Front Closure and Back Closure
If you would like to attach the top closures as designed in the pattern, follow the instructions for doing this. I decided to omit this part since it would be functioning more like a tote bag. However, I did think about adding this Strap Hardware Kit, which I think would look lovely with this hack and would work well if you wanted more security.
In step 1 of this section, only fold under the long edges that will be aligned on the bag horizontally, leaving the two short edges that will be the sides left unfinished just like the Main Panel. Attach the Contrast Bottom by following steps 2-4 in that section.
Finishing the Tote
Now that we have the main pattern complete let's finish up this simple hack! I decided to close the sides of this pattern using a French seam to hide away all raw edges and give the inside a clean look. Another option is to use twill tape to cover the raw edges similarly to how bias tape is used. I learned this method from the Purl Soho bag tutorials and have noticed it in some of my ready-to-wear (RTW) canvas bags.
1. To close the sides with a French seam, fold the wood carrier in half with the wrong sides (what will be the inside of the tote) facing. Make sure to line up all edges, paying close attention to align the top where the front and back meet. Pin together and sew with a 1/2" seam. Repeat this for the other side.
Optional Tip: Mark the 1/2" seam line from top to bottom with a removable pen before sewing. I find that marking the seam line on challenging fabrics like this thick canvas can make the sewing process more manageable. My favorite pens are Pilot Frixion Erasable Gel Pens that disappear with heat. Just make sure to test them on your fabric beforehand as they can leave a mark on some fabrics.
2. Next, trim away 1/4" of the seam allowance on both sides of the tote.
Optional Tip: Before turning the tote inside out, fold the seam allowance to one side at the bottom corner of the bag and iron flat with steam. This will help you to get a nice and pointy corner when you turn the bag inside out. Additionally, you may choose to trim off a tiny piece of the corner before turning the tote inside out.
3. Turn the bag inside out (the wrong side will now be facing out), using a point turner to aid at the bottom corners, and iron the side seams flat.
4. Next, sew the side seams again with a 1/2" seam allowance to create the French seam, making sure to secure the beginning and end of the seam with backstitching. Again, you may choose to mark the seam line here before sewing.
5. Turn the bag inside out again (now the right side will be facing out), using the point turner to help with the bottom corners again, and then iron the side seams flat.
And that's all there is to it! Now you have a sturdy tote bag that can be used for all kinds of fun things. - Emily