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Bottega Veneta-Inspired Tote

NMV1CC5_mx Inspiration: This coated linen and leather tote from Bottega Veneta, available at Neiman Marcus for $750.

Spring is finally here and that meant I needed a new tote bag to schlep my shoes and magazines around in. The black leather tote I made a few months ago served me well this past fall and winter, but I was craving something new. My caveats: a bag that was unstructured, lightweight, and combined fabric and leather. The Bottega Veneta bag, above, was perfect! (Except for the $750 price tag; yikes.)

Here's my version of the Bottega Veneta tote. Here's my version of the Bottega Veneta tote.

For the fabric part of my knock-off bag I used an off-white, coated linen from Marc Jacobs, which, sadly, is all gone. For the leather portion I used a black washable leather that is very soft and easy to sew. Plus, washable! (Dmitry, our leather department manager, sewed little britches out of this washable leather for his toddler son. How cute is that.)

Sewing a tote bag is pretty straightforward. Determine the size you want and make a quick muslin first just to make sure you've gotten the proportions right. (I always tend to screw up a bit when I factor in the depth.) My bag measures 15 inches tall by 15 inches wide by 4.5 inches deep, with a 10 inch handle drop.

tote- I like that my bag is soft and scrunchy, with no hard edges. You know how packed with people this part of Manhattan is, and nobody likes to get bumped by a hard bag.

I constructed the coated linen part of the bag first, then I made the leather "bottom" which I fitted and then stitched onto the linen bag. I used a pinking rotary blade to mimic the Bottega Veneta bag's serrated leather edge. If you look inside my bag all you see is the uncoated linen, which makes it look like I lined the bag.

For the top edge of the bag, where the handles are attached, I simply pressed and turned a 2-inch facing, twice. Like the real BV bag, I didn't even bother to stitch the edge of the facing in place. I took the bag and the handles to Star Snaps down the block from Mood NYC at 262 W 38th St, #202, and for $12 had twelve studs put in place to anchor the handles.

tote-closeup-1 A glimpse of the inside. The uncoated part of the linen looks like a lining. You can see how I just turned the facing under, securing it with the studs on the handles.

That's all there was to making this tote. I love it soooooooo much and carry it to work every day. If you're thinking of making your own similar tote, our two stores have coated fabrics to choose from, plus I found this coated linen online (but order a swatch first as I'm not personally familiar with this particular fabric). We have a large selection of faux leathers online as well.

Have you made a tote bag that you just love? Tell us about it here!

6 thoughts on “Bottega Veneta-Inspired Tote”

  • Meredith P

    Great bag! How I envy the fact that you can have your snap/rivets professionally attached! :-) Whatever will you do with the savings from the $750?

  • Linda T

    One fantastic knockoff!

  • Sandra

    Great bag. I've never attempted to make a bag, but this is definitely inspiring - especially when my handbag is much loved and I could do with a new one.

  • New York Sewer
    New York Sewer May 7, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    Cool. It looks very good.

    1) Is there a way to keep the linen from wrinkling so much, e.g., underlining, heavier fabric?

    2) Did you do rub-off of the original bag or have a pattern from another bag to work off of?

    3) Doe Mood sell cotton duck in colors?

    • Meg at Mood

      1) Re wrinkling, maybe if you blocked-fused it. But linen is inherently a wrinkly fabric, even with a vinyl coating like mine has.

      2) No, never seen the BV bag in real life. I create my own simple tote bag patterns. Emphasis on SIMPLE.

      3) Yes, we sell cotton duck in colors.

  • Ginger

    Love this! It looks so professional!

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