Nicki LaFoille

Tote Bag with Cork Bottom Panel

Nicki LaFoille
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Duration:   40  mins

Cork fabric is a fun and unique material for many projects. It is not an actual “fabric” in the traditional sense, as it is neither woven nor knitted. Instead, it is the bark of the cork oak tree pressed down into a sheet. The edges do not unravel, making it an excellent material for small monogram projects and even earrings.

Cork fabric has waterproof properties and is quite durable, making it suitable for bags. Cork sheets can come in various sizes, weights, colors, prints, and dye-cut designs. Sewing with cork fabric requires a few considerations that Nicki discusses, including needle size and the use of clips rather than pins.

Using a sheet of cork fabric, Nicki demonstrates how to fuse interfacing to the wrong side to increase the bag’s stability. Cutting out sections from the edges makes boxing the corners of the lower cork panel much more straightforward.

Nicki demonstrates how to finish the canvas panel’s upper edges and attach the webbing straps. She uses French seams to stitch the canvas panels together until the bag is finished inside. Nicki then stitches the canvas panels to the cork panel and demonstrates how to trim the seam allowances and topstitch the seam to ensure all fabric seam allowances are enclosed.

The finished bag is durable and water-resistant on the lower panel, making it an excellent choice for grocery or beach bags.

More bag-making projects

Check out how to make a Beach Bag using oilcloth fabric, sew a Reusable Lunch Bag, and make a Monogrammed Beach Bag using canvas fabric. This Wet Bag uses water-resistant fabric to carry swimsuits home from the beach, and this Padded Book Bag uses fusible fleece.

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