I started with this pattern for the Mini Professional Tote and fully intended to make it just like the designer intended……until my good friend stopped in and showed me the Professional Tote she made for her granddaughter. The Professional Tote is like the papa bear to the mam bear Mini Professional Tote. I liked the size she made so decided to just make my bag bigger by 2” each direction. Sounded like a good plan but wow there were a lot of pieces to adjust. I had to double check my figures on all the pieces and luckily I didn’t cut anything wrong.Here are the front and back sections all finished. I used black leather from one of the coats I purchased from Goodwill for the bottom and straps. I figured that the leather would be easier to clean and be better for when I used the bag for travel. Easy to wipe off and clean. The main fabric is a denim but happens to have some stretch to it. I liked the pattern and think it should not make any difference in how the bag holds up and wears.
Back to the coat....It dawned on me about a year ago that if I purchased inexpensive leather coats at thrift stores I could disassemble them and use the leather in a variety of ways so now every time I make a trip to our two larger towns about 1 and 1 1/2 hours away I check out the thrift stores for any new leather coats. I make sure they are pure leather and not the look alike vinyl. I also check to see if there are areas of the coat that have larger pieces. Leather coats tend to be made of small pieces seamed together so I like to find men's coats that have larger areas of leather pieces.
Back to the tote.....Here are the end pieces with two pockets, one made with matching fabric and one made with black mesh. I added the pink fabric to encase the elastic at the top of the pockets.All finished front with a pocket in the front between the straps.Back of bag – a large pocket across the width of the bag with the straps stitched just to that layer. Above it a zippered pocket.The ends of the bag all finished. I did make the mesh pocket the size to fit a water bottle. I pinned the bag pocket and tested the size before I stitched it. Both pockets have a pleat stitched in to make it fit the width of the bag. That width was taken up with elastic on the top.Taking photos of the insides of bags is always a challenge but I forged ahead. The bright pink rectangle is actually a zippered, padded pocket made to hold a tablet, kindle or other item that needs a little more protection. It is stitched into the center of the bag so both sides of it could be packed with clothes if traveling or papers and other items if carrying it for work. As you can see there is a zippered pocket against the outside wall of the bag.Now here is a look at the other side of the inside of the tote. This side has a pink patchwork pocket to fit a cell phone and an elasticized pocket with a tab closer to hold other items.
Last photo is of the tote with the top zipper all zipped up. I do like this bag but have to admit that it is a little heavy unloaded so might just be a bit too heavy to carry if it is packed with all my goodies. That is probably because of my choice of fabrics. The leather and the denim are more dense and heavier fabrics so make the bag heavier too, oh well can't do anything about it now.
I have yet to carry the bag but did enjoy finishing it up. Not sure I will ever try to enlarge a bag with as many pieces ever again as it was a real challenge and worry if it would all fit together in the end.