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In recent times, Bags have become quite the functional accessory due to their simple versatility and ease of use. These Bags can easily be personalized to represent who you are or be bought from several branded designers to make a fashionable statement while still being mindful of the environment. These bags can be dressed up or down depending on the event. Available in a wide range of sizes in a wearable material, a canvas bag can serve your needs for a wide variety of occasions. Read on to learn more about these bags, including how to make one of your own.
A tote is simply a large bag suitable for carrying (or toting) lots of stuff. A bag wit large opening on the top. A tote bag, in essence, is any bag of variable size that often lacks fasteners other than a pair of parallel handles on either side to hold the bag by. The main purpose of a tote bag is to serve as an easy carryall, especially during those busy days spent shopping or running errands. A canvas tote bag, however, is any tote bag made from the durable, fabric material woven out of cotton or linen. This material is also found on sails, tents, backpacks and other items. Canvas is also the very same material used by artists everywhere as the base for their medium.
Tote bags first came into creation in the 17th century, but the term "tote", which means "to carry", did not become common until the 1900s. Particularly in the United States, Bags did not reach their height of popularity until the 1944, when one of the major apparel company released their iconic Boat Bag. Interestingly enough, the purpose of this original tote was to carry ice during outings and the bag itself has remained in production with little change in product design. The Boat Bag continues to be made from a durable canvas material, which has undoubtedly withstood the test of time.
Although this company has contributed a great deal to the popularity of the tote bag, it's the American housewives of the 1950s who greatly ushered this bag into mainstream society. Bags because a staple accessory in the completion of errands and chores, which then led way to the tote bag becoming a fashion statement in the 1960s. This is when designers such as Bonnie Cashin took advantage of the practical design and turned it into something elegant. The bag also hit the intellectual society when the popular New York City bookstore, The Strand, adopted and re-introduced its own version the classic tote. High-end Bags are now commonly seen on runways across the world during every Fashion Week, which boast another level of luxury than the classic and practical cloth tote bag.
Now, in present day, these eco-friendly totes are available in a wide variety of colors and images. From subtle political expression to pop culture symbols, literally anything can be printed on these bags. The flexible material also makes it possible to customize to suit your personal sense of fashion and needs.
What is Tote Bag Made of?
A tote is often made of cotton or linen, although hemp has also been a popular material historically. Many people confuse canvas itself to be a material, although the term actually refers to the style of the fabric's weave and not the material of the fabric. For example, a tighter weave is called duck canvas. When it comes to the actual fabric materials, cotton is derived from the cotton plant. Another popular material is linen, which is derived from the flax plant. Hemp, which is not so common anymore, is derived from the cannabis plant.
Canvas fabrics have historically been used for sails, tents and painting. With a simple waterproof coating treatment, this fabric becomes impermeable in rain or shine. Canvas material is also exceptionally good for custom Bags due to its flexibility. The material is lightweight and holds the ink from prints well without bleeding or flaking of the design.
Canvas materials are sourced from the environment naturally, making these materials the perfect choice for those who are environmentally conscience. The reusable nature of canvas Bags further supports the ecosystem by reducing the production of wastes.
How are Bags Made?
It is fairly simple to learn how to make a tote bag. Here is a step-by-step guide to make one of your own: To get started, it is important to gather the appropriate tools from the beginning. The necessary equipment includes scissors, pins, a ruler, seam ripper, fabric chalk and a sewing machine and 1 meter of cloth.
What are the popular weights of canvas material that is used in canvas Bags?
Canvas material is available in 4 oz, 5 oz, 6 oz, 8 oz, 10 oz, 12 oz, 14 oz, 16 oz and 24 oz weights. The popular weights of the canvas material out of those options are the 6 oz for lower quality bags (also known as Cotton totes or Cotton sheeting totes) and 12 oz for durable canvas totes. The heavier weights are reserved for fashion Bags.
What is the difference between 5 oz, 6 oz, 10 oz, 12 oz canvas material?
The differences in weights account for differences in the canvas material. The 5 oz material is thin but also the most popular option for cheap bags, such as those used for grocery shopping in order to prevent the wastage of plastic bags. The 6 oz material is indistinguishable from the 5 oz, so it is often better to opt for the cheaper 5 oz material if deciding between the two.
The 10 oz canvas material is reserved for high quality Bags that are durable and last several years of use. This material looks even better with age, as it washes and wears well. The 12 oz canvas material is heavy duty and used to make more refined looking bags, encroaching into fashion beyond practicality and simplicity.
What is GMS for Tote Bag and how is GMS calculated?
GMS means grams per meter squared. A gram is a unit of weight. A thousand grams equals one kilogram. Basically, it is another term to determine the weight of the fabric when the material ends up being a blend of two or more fabrics. The higher the GMS, the heavier the weight of the fabric.
What is the difference between canvas and cotton tote bag?
Canvas can be made from cotton through a special weaving process. Although canvas can be made from other materials, including cotton, the build tends to be sturdier than a plain cotton bag.
The advantages of a plain cotton tote bag include the positive environmental impact due to its reusability. They also tend to be cheaper but serve multiple purposes, from errands to shopping. Another benefit of cotton material is the fact that it retains heat transfer, iron ons and screen-printing extremely well. Cotton itself is heat resistant up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The material is also easily penetrable by a needle, serving as an adequate canvas for threadwork and embroidery. Cotton bags also tend to be lightweight, between 4 oz and 6 oz. However, this also means that cotton Bags aren't as durable and should be handled with care.
Canvas Bags are heavier duty than cotton Bags due to the intricate weaving process used during manufacturing. As a result, canvas Bags can carry heavier items for long periods of time without worry of the bag ripping or giving out during an errand or day out. Even on canvas material, iron on logos, screen printed designs and heat transfer applications work well with little effort. Due to their sturdy nature, canvas Bags tend to be heavier, weighting between 8 oz and 24 oz. Most popular canvas weights are 10 oz and 12 oz.
Although both types of Bags have their advantages and disadvantages, the perfect type of tote bag for you depends on what you plan on using the tote bag for. Cotton Bags work well temporarily for light use. However, canvas Bags are more durable and can withstand continuous wear and tear, accounting for why these bags tend to last longer.
Read more: What is the Difference Between Cotton Bags and Canvas Bags?
Are Bags waterproof?
Although many store-bought tote bags will come waterproofed, many DIY projects and cheaper bags will not have a waterproof coating over them. The advantages of waterproof Bags are limitless and worth paying for if you're debating between the two. After all, a bag that is weather resistant will protect your belongings from water damage. An easy way that you can waterproof your drawstring tote bag is with wax.
How to Wax Your Bag?
A tote bag can be waxed at home to make it waterproof. Before getting started, a few precautions should be taken to ensure a smooth and high quality wax job. Clean the bag and make sure that the material if free of loose strings and any debris. This is best accomplished by washing if the material is machine washable or vacuuming the surface as an alternative. After this step, it is imperative that the material is completely dry. Before starting the waxing process, set up the work area in a well-ventilated area, such as your yard or garage. This will help dilute the strong smell of the wax.
Next, gather the necessary materials. You'll need a lump of wax, whether it's a mix of paraffin and beeswax or organic wax. In addition, you'll need two pots, a cup of water, a paintbrush and a hairdryer.
It is important to remember that the wax coating will not last forever. Typically, the coating will have to be reapplied once every year. The coating will last longer with proper care. Remember to never wash your bag with hot water. It is best use a soft brush with natural bristles to clean the bag or even hand wash with cold water.
Read more: How to Waterproof Canvas Bags – An Easy Guide
Where Can You Purchase a Tote Bag?
Bags are easily available from a wide variety of retailers and online. You can even create your own custom tote bag at a variety of retailers, especially online. is the one of the largest tote bag suppliers in the United States, and provides various styles of Bags. When it comes to customization, you can pick from collegiate themes, sports memorabilia, classic monograms, logos and plenty of other options to add some personal flair to your new accessory.
How long do tote bags last?
Although the lifespan of a tote bag typically depends on the material, weight and use of the bag, the heavier duty ones tend to last at least a year of heavy use if not longer with light use. Canvas or Jute Bags are also longer lasting than other alternatives like non-woven or polyester.
How to Choose the Correct Size for You?
Bags are available in a variety of sizes. The largest item you plan on carrying in the bag can help to determine the most appropriate size of the bag for your needs. Whether that item is a notebook, computer or planner, measure the dimensions and add at least two inches of room to allow some space for closure. Now, look to the available standard bag sizes and pick one that best suits your needs.
What are the most popular Tote Bag Sizes?
We also have a variety of different sizes and can even customize to a preferred size if a standard one does not meet your requirements. Here are the dimensions of some of the standard sizes available on the market:
What are the Handle Lengths of Bags?
Handle length varies for each tote and can also change the look of the bag. Here are some common handle types:
How to Personalize Your Bags
Canvas as a material has the ability to hold onto a variety of inks well, allowing for the use of many techniques to personalize your blank tote bag.
How to Create Silk Screen Images on Bags:
Silkscreen images result from screen-printing. In order to achieve this method, you must have a silkscreen frame, emulsion, acetate, ink and the bag ready.
Read more: Easy Screen Print Guide: DIY Screen Printing vs. Professional Services
How to Do Heat Transfer on a Bag:
Heat transfer is an extremely easy process requiring nothing more than vinyl already cutout into your preferred shapes or symbols and an iron to apply the print to your tote bag.
How to Do Embroidery on a Canvas Bag:
Canvas is made of fabrics that are typically penetrable by a needle with little effort. Therefore, it is extremely easy to directly embroider on a bag with nothing more than a thread and a needle, although an embroidery hoop would definitely help for beginners. It may help to pencil in an overall design with a washable fabric marker before beginning the thread work process.
How to Paint a Tote Bag:
Any type of fabric paint from craft stores is compatible with canvas materials. The perfect way to personalize a canvas tote bag for beginners, fabric paint requires little skill or effort. Simply grab the colors you need and a few brushes to get started on your masterpiece!
Read more: How to Paint on Canvas Bags
How to Fix Bags:
With enough wear and tear, Bags may need a little darning now and then. Here are some ways to fix common damages incurred by these bags.
How to Fix the Handle of a Tote Bag:
If the handle of your tote bag rips, this indicates that you have been carrying weights heavier than the bag's intended use. Depending on the severity of the rip, the handle can often be repaired with fabric glue or stitching. Fabric glue often isn't a permanent fix as you would have to lighten the use of your bag, but with sturdy stitching, your bag can be back in business as usual.
How to Fix holes in a Tote:
Holes in a tote bag can be repaired by sewing the ends back together or introducing a patch of the same material and color if the hole is too big to sew shut. When choosing a patch material, pick a thicker material that is at least one inch larger in diameter than the hole. Turn the bag inside out and place the patch over the tear, ensuring that the area is completely covered. Now, you can bond the patch to the original material with either heavy-duty fabric glue or stitching.
How to Fix the Zipper of a Bag:
Zippers can be finicky, but they must be replaced if the actual zipper separates from the teeth. If a zipper is stuck, apply some lubricant, such as soap, lotion or lip balm to the teeth. This should allow for mobility again. If the slider is no longer holding the teeth together, you may have to replace it with a new one with the help of some pliers for removal. Then, simply reattach the new zipper by sliding it onto the teeth. If the zipper actually came off but the tab remains, simply loop a paperclip or key ring through the hole and you have a functioning zipper again.
How to Fix the Pocket of a Bag:
If a pocket has a hole, simply stitch it back together with the help of a patch if necessary. If a pocket is ripping off, you can sew it back in place with a needle and thread or opt for fabric glue to the bond the piece back together.
How to Fix the Interior Lining of a Tote Bag:
To fix holes in the interior lining of the bag, you will have to pull the lining out by picking the bottom seam open. Then, place a patch over the hole and sew it closed. Finish by sewing the seam shut again. If you'd rather not deal with a needle and thread, then you can always place an exterior patch on the lining with the help of some fabric glue.
How to Clean / Wash / Care Your Bags
Although the cleaning instructions for a tote bag are typically found on the inside of the bag labeled on a tag, it is better to be cautious with bags that feature prints, embroidery, paint or other sewn on or glued decorations. Whether the bag can be machine washable or must be hand washed, it is better to err on the side of caution and wash the bag with cool water.
Prior to washing, empty the bag of all possessions. If there are any large stains on the exterior of the bag, treat them with a spot stain remover. Then, turn the bag inside out. Locate and follow any care instructions labeled by the manufacturer. If the bag is plain, it may be suitable for machine-washing with cold water. Certain printing techniques are also safe for washers. However, this does not include many fabric paints and other fragile trimmings. If you're ever in doubt, opt for manually washing the bag with your hands.
Start off by dipping the entire bag in clean, lukewarm water. Then, wring out the excess water and use a soft bristled brush or your fingers in a light, circular motion to remove any dirt or debris. Focus on problem areas with a light detergent. Follow up with a final rinse to remove all remnants of detergent. As for drying, simply hanging the bag up on a clothesline to air dry will work well. The risk with throwing a tote bag into the dryer is the issue of shrinkage. Allowing the bag to instead air dry will help the bag retain its original size and shape.
Read more: How to Clean a Canvas Bag
Are Canvas Bags ECO friendly?
Canvas Bags are renowned for being good for the environment due to the material of the fabric being from renewable resources. The bags themselves are biodegradable when it does come time to part with them. The most eco friendly aspect of the bag stems from its reusability, which saves individuals from the use of harmful plastic bags that collect at the bottom of dumps every year.
Read more: The Environmental Impact of Reusable Grocery Bags
What are the Occasions to Use a Tote Bag?
Bags are versatile enough to come in handy over a multitude of occasions.
Fair / trade show giveaways:
It always seems like people are giving away free stuff at the booths in these fairs and trade shows. With a tote bag, you'll have ample room to store all these giveaways in without having to juggle these items in your hands.
Often given away as party favors at weddings, favor Bags are an excellent way to collect and store memorabilia from such an important event with ease. They can also be customized with the date of the wedding, the couple name of the bride and groom and even pictures.
Reusable grocery Bags are used infamously in grocery stores, replacing the less than ideal plastic alternatives. Environmentally conscious shoppers take these shopping bags with them during checkout to carry their groceries to the car and then home.
Due to the customizable nature of Bags, they make the perfect vehicle for promotion. Not only is it easy to place logos on them, but they can be mass produced for an affordable price.
Messenger Bags can hold everything from important portfolios and laptop to lunch. These bags are the epitome of convenience for any career woman of man on the go.
Whether it's textbooks, notebook or laptop computers, these canvas Bags can hold them all. As a single, lightweight carryall that can also serve as a fashion statement, this bag fits the bill.
Packing for beach days can be stressful, but the day can be made easier with portable and lightweight beach Bags.
Bags are perfect for daily use and errands due to their durable nature and availability of large sizes.