Archival Clothing - Made in USA

Posts Tagged ‘tote bags’

Release – Archival Shoulder Tote

April 15th, 2014

We’re excited to announce the release of our latest tote – the Archival Shoulder Tote.  This new model is easily worn over the shoulder by its handles or by the removable, easily adjusted shoulder strap. Made from remarkably sturdy, waxed twill which practically stands up on its own. The bag also comes in a dry finish, lighterweight canvas duck canvas. The bag’s leather handles are securely sewn and riveted into the top hem.  Spacious main compartment, two pockets inside, two pockets outside. The team here and friends who tested it, are already enamored with this bag, using it for everything from canoe trips to bike commuting.  For more information, see the Archival Web Shop.

Shoulder Tote Twill Navy Angle2
Shoulder Tote Duck Cinnamon Front-1
Shoulder Tote Natural Crop

Archival Laundry Tote

August 11th, 2011

Last year, we asked the Steele Canvas Basket Company to reissue a square bottom janitor’s tote that we found in an old Steele catalog. We made some minor tweaks to the design, specifying extra heavy duty #4 canvas duck and opting for longer, 6″ handles. Working with Steele, we also brought back the original Steele stencil. In addition to laundry (the bag fits an entire comforter), we’ve been using ours to schlep packages to Fed Ex and the post office. We’ve also found the tote convenient for transporting small children. Here are some updated photos of the bag in action.

Archival Update: A.C. Totes

April 10th, 2011
12″ and 6″ straps

This week, Archival Clothing is releasing a newly revised tote based on collective feedback from our customers and retailers. We’ve been asked to offer a short handled version of our tote for people who prefer to carry the bag in hand. The tote is now available in two strap lengths: 12″ long with 1.5″ webbing and 6″ long with 1″ webbing.

New colorways (black, navy, ranger tan and gray)

We’ve added visual interest to the bag by making the inside pockets out of a contrasting color of dry canvas duck fabric. We are using this tote run to introduce our new waxed cotton twill in Navy.

New strap attachment method and revised internal pocketing

We’ve refined the strap attachment points on the inside edge of the bag to strengthen these points and ensure that the inside of the bag looks as well appointed as the outside.





All internal seams finished with bias tape made from our own waxed fabrics

All stress points reinforced with sturdy bar-tacking

As with the original totes, our new model is made from 22 ounce waxed twill, 18 ounce dry duck canvas, and military grade cotton webbing. The tote is designed to be water-resistant and ready for a long life of service. Three inside pockets store personal items such as keys, phones, notebooks and pens—keeping them easily accessible and separate from the interior contents. A double-layer reinforced bottom ensures a long life and even wear.

Tote dimensions are 14” x 14” x 4” – perfect for your every day toting needs.

Archival Field Trip: NYC/Brooklyn (Pt 1)

October 30th, 2010
Bobby Short portrait at the Cafe Carlyle. Soon after we landed we headed over to the Carlyle for a dinner show featuring OFAM favorite, John Pizzarelli and his wife Jessica Molaskey. Jonathan Schwartz was in the audience. 

Tom, Sara and I breakfasted in Brooklyn with Matthew from the William Brown Project.

Pratt campus. We wanted to see to whence Tom has disappeared.
Visit with Emil and Sandy, the kind and creative gents behind Hickoree’s/The Hill-side.
Some Hill-side wears with Brooklyn view

Exemplary packing station

Sara and Tom inspecting a Stanley & Sons conveyor belt tote
Brooklyn transport

Brook Farm General Store. Our Chaz would enjoy being a shop dog.

In constant transit. Footwear report to follow.

I emailed with this nice gent about places to stay in Brooklyn. We ran into him–by chance–at the restaurant he manages, Marlow & Sons. In addition to serving food, they sell woven towels and Armor-Lux apparel.

The Brooklyn Kitchen. Tom and Sara browsed the pickling supplies. I obsessed over the MKS Design paring knife on the left.


We stopped by Epaulet to check out their new Thorogood farm boot and Vanson for Epaulet waxed cotton motorcycle jacket. Lots of foot traffic in the shop.

A few doors down from Epaulet, we made a quick visit to Smith + Butler. Tom checked the fit on a Pointer chore coat. Just out of the frame, a reality TV couple browsed the inventory of nautical scarves, Barbour jackets and American workwear.

An all-important, end of day pause for cured meats at Los Paisanos meat market.

NYC/Brooklyn field trip, part two, coming next week.

Archival Update (8/9/2010)

August 7th, 2010

A few updates on archival projects. Tom and I went up to Portland on Friday to discuss plans for an upcoming waxed cotton jacket. We’re working with a clothing manufacturer who also makes traditional letterman jackets, vintage MLB apparel and dresses for a recent Project Runway winner.

Waxwear fabric for the prototype (not final jacket color).

Future A.C. show banner?

Since Tom is moving to New York for grad school, we’re trying to wrap up as many production issues before he departs. High on our list was our need to source zippers for our jacket and future bags. We visited the Riri rep in her home in Portland to choose our zipper size, finish and features. Later this month, Tom will make final decision about tape color at the Riri office in NYC (located, of all places, in the Empire State building).

Riri zipper samples

Lunch with Patrick

Snap view: Patrick’s studio

Prada shorts, baseball belt

Patrick (sporting our Stop Making Sense Big Tote)

A.C. flap musettes and totes available at Winn Perry

Friend Jordan was taken with a finish detail on Tom’s undershirt.

(It’s actually a laundry bag)

Please note that we continue to build St James inventory in our store. Pictured above – the unisex Navale, a slim-fitting official French Navy shirt.

Don’t forget that we have a fresh batch of Flap Musettes, now in Gray and solid Black, as well as solid black Totes.

Tom has also been working on a long-term CTS project by cutting all of the straps for our next run of Rucksacks at the A.C. headquarter’s temporary plywood workbench (sometimes assisted by our Weimaraner-in-residence).

Archival Update: Steele Totes Available

August 3rd, 2010

Steele Canvas Basket Co. tote in #4 (24 oz) army duck

We just received our first shipment of Steele Canvas Basket Co. totes. While stock Steele totes are made from #6 (21 oz.) duck, ours will be produced in natural, untreated, stand up stout, #4 (24 oz.) canvas duck. We’re adding a simple internal pocket, 2″ U.S. stencil and requesting an 8″ handle length. Dimensions: 17″ L x 10″ W x 17″ D.

Available here.

Also, Steele sent us the first sample of our square bottomed janitor’s bag. The bag is based on a vintage catalog image from the Steele Canvas Basket Co. archives. We’ve tweaked dimensions, added longer handles and specified that the bag be made in #4 army duck. Let us know what you think.

Steele Canvas Basket Co. janitor’s tote (aka laundry bag).

Archival Totes: Steele Canvas Basket Co.

June 5th, 2010
Steele Canvas Basket Tote (AC edition)

We’re tote bag fans and Steele Canvas Basket Co. is one of our favorite brands. I am almost never without a bag. For my daily bike commute, I carry a shoulder bag plus a (sometimes empty) tote to handle more cumbersome loads or or end-of-day debris (library books, 5 lb bags of coffee, rain gear, etc). I prefer oversize totes since they fold down easily but handle ungainly loads (a weekend’s worth of cycling gear, a month’s worth of newspapers, a load of packages for FedEx). We’re on the fence about tote bag handle length. Some of us prefer full, over-the-shoulder straps while I like a short strap (matching my short arm) that permits me to carry a heavy load without causing the bag to drag on the ground. But again, as an unofficial bag library, Archival Clothing owns many totes with both handle lengths.

Vintage Steele Canvas Basket catalog

We thank Andy over at Reference Library for putting us in contact with Steele Canvas. Here’s Andy’s mighty black Steele Canvas tote. While there are many fine totes on the market (examples here), we prefer versions that have an established commercial use. Steele has been making industrial canvas baskets, hampers, trucks and buggies since 1921. One of their clients is Brink’s Incorporated. While other companies have transitioned from canvas to synthetic carry bags, Brinks insists on using a heavy duty canvas for all their cash delivery bags. I’ve been told that one of the specifications for a Brink’s bag is that it stand up and stay open on its own.

We’ve been working with Steele on two different totes for Archival Clothing. The first, a modification of a stock Steele tote, will be made from the most stout cotton canvas army duck available. While Steele bags are made from #6 (21 oz.) duck, ours will be produced in natural, untreated #4 (24 oz.) canvas duck. We’re adding a simple internal pocket and requesting a 7.5″ handle length that will permit folks with short or long arms to comfortably carry the tote by their side. Paul at Steele has helped us develop a simple 2″ U.S. stencil for the bag. Bag dimensions: 17″ L x 10″ W x 17″ D.

2″ U.S. stencil

Made in U.S.A. (Chelsea, MA, to be exact)

Simple inside pocket

Our second bag will be a re-issue of the original, square bottom janitor’s bag. The bag will likewise be made from untreated, natural #4 canvas duck. Dimensions: 14″ L x 14″ W x 24″ D

Vintage Steele Canvas Basket Janitor’s Bag

We’d also like to point out that we’re now offering our own Archival Clothing tote in 22 oz. gray waxed twill (in addition to ranger tan twill and navy waxed cotton).

Archival Production Report

April 11th, 2010
Terry w/flap musette fabrics

Terry Shuck of T & J Custom Sewing in Springfield, Oregon, makes all of our Archival Clothing baggage. Terry started out in shoe repair and later worked as a fabric cutter, machine technician and backup soft goods design assistant for Burley Design Cooperative in Eugene, Oregon. We had heard it was difficult to find a quality sewing contractor, so it was our luck that Terry was the first listing in the local yellow pages, and he’s just ten miles down the road. From our first meeting, we have been impressed with Terry’s remarkable knowledge of his craft. When we started out we had nothing more than rough home sewn prototypes and hopeful drawings. Terry was able to take our ideas and transform them into a finished product. We really appreciate Terry’s ability to work with our original designs and robust materials (heavy duty waxed twill and mil spec cotton webbing from the UK). It was through Terry that we found several subcontractors and material suppliers, and he’s been patient and helpful as we learn the ins and outs of managing a production schedule. Here are a few images from a recent visit, in which Terry – who sews all of our bags himself – constructs our Totes and Flap Musettes.

Operating fabric saw

Adding leather washers and brass snaps to flap musettes

Basting AC tag

Joining panels

Bias tape delivery

Swapping tape folder for walking foot

Archival Tote Update

March 9th, 2010

The Archival Clothing Tote is made with the same quality and attention to detail as all of our bags. Made from 10 ounce waxed cotton canvas or 22 ounce waxed twill, the bag is designed to be water-resistant and ready for a long life of service. Two-inch military-grade cotton webbing handles distribute the load on your shoulders and are bar-tacked for maximum strength. Three inside pockets store personal items such as keys, phones, notebooks and pens—keeping them easily accessible and separate from the interior contents. A double-layer reinforced bottom ensures a long life and even wear.

Tote dimensions are 14” x 14” x 5” perfect for your every day toting needs.

To purchase the Archival Tote send an email to to confirm availability of style and color.

For the Archival Tote, please specify color: Ranger Tan (22 oz waxed twill) or Navy (10 oz waxed cotton canvas). The Tote is $90 plus $12.50 for shipping within the US. For international shipping charges, please inquire at

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting an announcement regarding our plain musettes which are now back in stock and updates on our next round of flap musettes and rucksacks. Future bag orders will be processed through our web shop (in the works!).

Archival Review: Filson totes

September 7th, 2009

Tin cloth tote (new tan webbing)
On Sunday, Sara and I did a quick spot check on the new totes at the Filson flagship store in Portland, Oregon. It’s a little early in the season for wool, but apparently the new versions are selling–even the crazy electric blue/black plaid tote (a version not currently shown on the Filson site). Though I love the eccentric look of this tote, and robust blanket weight wool, it doesn’t quite stand up on its own and I question its practical use value. Since I own more totes than I’ll ever wear out, I suppose this version could be my indoor, workplace, hallway or elevator tote. Send along your own suggestions for the proposed function of a wool rather than waxed bodied bag (for snowdrift climates, I imagine?).
After the classic tin cloth tote w/green webbing disappeared from the Filson website in July, I was concerned that this practical, affordable, Seattle-made bag had been discontinued. Several friends and I use this bag on a daily basis, and after a year of wear, the bag still looks great (though mine is slightly frayed at wear points on the webbing). Although I love the classic twill Filson tote, the tin cloth version, with taffeta lining, really forgives sloppy use as a grocery bag or bag-within-a-bag commuter. To my relief, Filson reintroduced an unchanged version with khaki webbing. Though I prefer the graphic contrast of the green webbing against the tin cloth fabric, I’m happy to see this basic model back in the Filson line-up.
On the subject of totes, I want to campaign for Gilles Berthoud, French bagmaker, to produce a tote bag that combines the fabric and leather trim of his bicycle panniers w/the carrying capacity, basic structure, of a Filson tin cloth tote: