What Is the Best Fabric for Tote Bags?
We have one or more bags for each need and goal in our life. We have fancy purses for fancy outings, messenger bags for work or travel, casual bags for casual activities, shopping bags, large travel bags and luggage, specialty bags for gadgets, and so on.
However, tote bags are somehow unique in their versatility. We already showed you how to wear tote bags to look cool and how to use tote bags for school or for work. They make our best eco-friendly friends when it comes to shopping and they are recyclable and reusable as well. These tote bags’ advantages beg a question, nonetheless: what is the best fabric for tote bags?
We know tote bags are available in a wide range of fabrics and blends, each coming with its own specific set of advantages. Today we will discuss these features of the most common fabrics used for tote bags and decide which is the best for you!
1. Canvas Tote Bags
As you know, canvas is a fabric made from cotton using a plain weave – a knitting technique allowing the fabric to become notoriously sturdy and resilient to wear and tear. We use canvas not only for shopping bags and tote bags, but for heavy-duty bags, tents, tarps, clothing, and other personal or industrial items. Here are the main advantages of canvas tote bags:
- Excellent strength-to-weight ratio, meaning that they are lightweight but also incredibly durable to wear and tear; in other words, canvas tote bags are perfect for carrying heavy loads of groceries, books, and other work and personal items.
- Canvas tote bags can last for years due to their resilience;
- You can wash them with ease; if you follow a minimal set of rules, you can clean your canvas tote bags in the washing machine to eliminate dust, grime, stains, and food leaks;
- Canvas is an excellent fabric for printing; it holds colors amazingly and the ink stays on it very well, without fading, flaking, or rubbing off; in other words, you can print anything on a canvas bag and enjoy the print without worrying about wear and washing;
However, canvas comes with some disadvantages as well:
- Even if cotton is a renewable source, creating canvas from cotton has an impact on the environment in the production stage that we cannot ignore; therefore, to make a canvas bag eco-friendly, you need to use it at least 100 times.
- Canvas is a bit more expensive to manufacture than other fabrics.
2. Cotton Tote Bags
We use cotton every day; either it is present in clothes, bed sheets, towels, underwear, bags, and much more. Cotton is a renewable source, even if manufacturing it into consumer goods takes its toll on the environment. Organic cotton has become extremely popular in the past years, being the go-to fabric for children’s clothes, bed linen, towels, and other similar personal items. In general, cotton is hypo-allergenic and very resilient.
Cotton tote bags come with their fair share of advantages as well:
- Cotton tote bags have a smoother, more refined texture, therefore they are the poster-products when it comes to promotional bags, gift bags, and tote bags to wear as casual purses and accessories;
- You can wash and clean cotton tote bags easily, just as you would wash your cotton clothes;
- Cotton tote bags are also resilient to wear and tear, being sturdy and durable; as a word of advice, when you buy cotton tote bags, make sure you shop for quality. Some manufacturers offer thin cotton fabrics that will not endure your heavy groceries or you carrying loads of books or personal items;
- Cotton tote bags are also reusable and recyclable;
- They make incredible promotional opportunities, as cotton is a perfect environment for printing and styling.
Cotton tote bags also come with a few disadvantages you want to keep in mind depending on the reason you need them:
- Cotton bags are suitable for carrying lighter items, such as clothes, gifts, light groceries, and so on; cotton is a tad more frail than canvas;
- You need to pay attention to washing cotton, as it may shrink if you are not careful.
3. Jute Tote Bags
Many people do not know what jute fabric is, so we will seize the opportunity and explain: jute represents a rough fiber made from the stems of a tropical Old World plant. We use this plant to make making twine and rope. You will also find jute threads in woven sacks and mats. The jute plant is, in fact, herbaceous plant, which is cultivated for jute fiber. One variety of jute plant has edible young shoots as well.
Jute fabric cannot be mistaken for anything else, due to its coarse, natural, rustic look. This look and rough texture makes jute very fashionable. Being a natural fiber with a unique look and feel, jute has extended commercial applications and value as cotton.
Here are some advantages of jute tote bags, with the amendment that jute bags make exquisite gift bags, party/wedding favor bags, and even fashion bags:
- The manufacturing of jute fibers and fabric comes with low chemical consumption and low carbon impact, therefore jute tote bags are eco-friendly;
- The jute fibers are very resilient, being used for heavy carrying; in other words, jute bags can carry quite the load without being vulnerable to wear and tear;
- Speaking of the manufacturing process, jute is cheap to cultivate, maintain, and turn into consumer or industrial goods, therefore jute tote bags are cheap;
- Being a resilient natural fabric, jute tote bags are reusable, easily recyclable, and biodegradable.
Some of the disadvantages of jute tote bags are as follows:
- Their longevity is lower than the one of canvas;
- They do not make very good mediums for complex printing, as the exact printing impression will not match the one you can achieve on cotton or canvas;
- It is hard to wash or clean jute bags due to the specifics of the fabric.
When you have to decide what is the best fabric for tote bags, you need to take into consideration the following criteria:
- The eco-friendliness of the manufacturing process, lifecycle, recyclability and reusability;
- The looks and texture of the fabrics;
- The resilience to wear, tear, and heavy loads carrying (if this is what you need tote bags for);
- The ease of washing and removing stains;
As we mentioned earlier, we have at least one bag for each of our needs, tastes, purposes, and even moods. Instead of using one natural fabric tote bag, you can use at least one in each category. You will certainly enjoy the versatility of these fabrics and all the advantages they feature.
Now that we presented you with our favorite fabrics, which is your preferred tote bag fabric? Which of the totes presented above is the most frequent type we could find in your home?