Professional Tote Review

CTT105 I’ve been wanting to make this bag for a long time. I keep pulling it off the pattern wall and wandering around with it at the store trying to figure out what fabric to use, but up until now, nothing had inspired me, so back on the wall the pattern went. Last week we got a small collection of fabric in at our Williamsville location from fabric designer Julia Rothman called “Type”.type2
This little collection of fabric lit the fire under me to finally get my professional tote made! When I told Barb my plan- she asked if I would be willing to make one for the store at the same time..”Making two won’t be any harder than making one” she said. I had always heard that the Professional Tote was a bit tedious to make, so needless to say I looked at her like she was nuts, but as she so often does- Barb convinced me!

The Professional Tote when finished is 18″Wide x 15″ Tall x 5″ Deep and has a zipper closure at the top. I bring my laptop to work everyday, and traveling between our Williamsville and East Aurora locations means that all of my files and  reference material has to travel with me. I am always hauling bags full of stuff back and forth, so I had high hopes that this pattern would be the perfect size for all of my stuff! (It did not disappoint).

The pattern calls for Decor-bond as the interfacing, but I already knew that I wanted to use Soft and Stable to stabilize the outside of the bag as well as the center zipper pocket so that my laptop would have a nice cushy home.

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The Soft and Stable is PERFECT for this tote. It stands up on its own without being too heavy, and my BERNINA sewed through 3 layers of decor bond and 2 layers of Soft and Stable like a champ. I used a Shmetz jeans needle once I got to the steps that involved that many layers, and lengthened my stitch length to 2.7 on the really thick stuff, but overall I had no issues sewing through all of the layers. I just took it slow.


Most people who have made this bag say the same thing, it has MANY pieces, but the designer provides you with numbered labels for all of the pieces, and  the instructions are very clear and well written. Once you get through the cutting, the sewing is not difficult, but if you are afraid of zippers, there are 3 in this pattern…so…GET OVER YOUR ZIPPER FEAR:).photo 2-1

On each outer side of the tote there is a pleated pocket  to hold a bottle of water, of maybe your coffee mug, or and umbrella The pattern calls for store bought cording for the drawstring, I know people who have used elastic in the place of cording in this step, but I decided to just make my own coordinating “cording”. I just took 2- 1″xWOF strips and folded them like bias binding and cut them to size. I like the way it looks…what do you think?

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Inside there is a pleated pocket with a velcro secured flap, as well as patch pockets- plenty of organizing space  for people who are always losing thing deep inside their bags (like me).

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The back of the bag has a large pocket that runs the whole length of the back which also has a velcro closure, great for a newspaper, or the folder that you know you’ll need to access quickly.

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I am so happy that I decided to make this bag, and (as usual) Barb was right- making two at the same time was no big deal, and I’m glad I did, because although I might make another one someday, I think it might be a while till i do.

This bag will be great for travel, and a perfect everyday bag- I would highly recommend making one (or two)!

photo 3So have any of you made this bag? I’d love to hear what you thought…let me know in the comments!


**Due to customer interest, we’ve added this tote as a class! Find out more HERE**


29 thoughts on “Professional Tote Review

      • I think a 17″ laptop would fit, but not in the center pocket- my 13″ was a perfect fit, but it doesn’t have much wiggle room. We will try to fit it into the summer schedule ( believe it or not, many classes are already scheduled for the summer!)

  1. I love the WOF cording! When I made this bag, I used regular cording and one end popped out of the seam, after the fact… 😦 . If I make this bag again, I would definitely use fabric cording, it looks so much better! Great job!

  2. Karie, I think you did a great job on the bag. That is something I think I would like to make. I love a challenge.
    Kathy Clendening

  3. Beautiful work…So proud of your work! Full disclosure – I’m her mom! I’d love to make one too! The fabric choices are wonderful…love it!

  4. I’ve had this pattern for several years, and reading your blog may have been the push I needed to start making it! Beautiful bags. My laptop is 15″, but I have a little netbook I take when we travel that should fit in the inside pocket with no problems!

  5. Pingback: What I’m Working on…Hidden Treasures Tote | The Aurora Sewing Center Blog

  6. I have made 27 of these to date. Every female I work with has one. They are great bags and so worth the work!! Love your fabric choice for this one!

  7. Have made three of these bags .love sewing it . Instructions easy to follow if you take each step at a time . Going to do a few for Xmas and Birthday gifts .

  8. Question….Did you use soft and stable for the bottom pieces as well? Or just the sides and inside “computer” pocket?

  9. I have made several of these bags and they are a lot of work but so worth it! I made the first in cottons and use it for my sewing gear to go to classes. I used Decor Bound but I am not happy with it; it pulls loose and bubbles. My best so far is one I made from a spun polyester sold for outdoor furniture. It needed very little interfacing and it has been my airline carry-on for six trips now! This fabric is great and really holds up to all weather and rough handling. Do put the strap across the back so it will slip over the extension handle of your rolling suitcase. I am considering a new one this year with a change for a cross-body strap and short grab handles!

  10. I wish I had done this bag for n a class because I was often confused and some of the steps seemed more difficult than was necessary. I really hated sewing this bag. My sister wanted it and I made it for her. I thought no I would have done better if I had had a class. SIGH

  11. Where can i get the pattern for this bag please?. This is just what i have been looking. Want to make it for my sister in law. It is just perfect for her. I am in New Zealand. Jude

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