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Made in Rwanda: Step by Step

Behind every handmade item in our On Purpose collection is a careful process carried out by a team of skilled artisans. Eric Mukunzi, Technical Specialist at the Masoro workshop, takes us through the the making of a tote bag.

Step 1: Raw Materials
Fabric rolls are pulled from the raw raterials room and prepared in the workshop for cutting.

Step 2: Marking the Fabric
With the help of weighing stones, a pattern is used to mark the panels and handles on each fabric roll.

Step 3: Cutting the Panels
Panels and handles are cut from the raw fabric. This step is crucial, as one mistake could diminish the quality of the bag.

Step 4: Preparation and Gluing
To assist in folding and attaching the handles, glue is applied to the handles and edges of the bag. Glue is used sparingly to prevent it from seeping through the fabric.

Step 5: Stretching and Folding
Before folding the handles, the fabric is stretched out with a hammer. Double sided tape is used to keep the fabric in place while folds are being made.

Step 6: Stitching and Attaching the Handles
The handles are carefully stitched and inspected to ensure 8 stitches per inch. A small dab of glue keeps the handles in place as they are stitched to the panels.

Step 7: Attaching the Panels
After the handles are attached, the two sides are joined to make one bag. Bottom panels are then attached to the finished top portion.

Step 8: Adding the Label
Our Made in Rwanda label is stitched into the tote.

Step 9: Reinforcing With Webbing
Webbing covers all inseam stitches, giving the bag a clean finish and reinforcing it for heavy cargo. Excess thread is carefully burned away.

Step 10: Quality Inspection
A thorough quality assurance test is performed. Every stitch and label is checked, measured, and corrected when necessary.

Step 11: Embroidery
The bag is handed off to the embroidery team, where a single artisan will complete the tote’s embroidery in 30 to 35 minutes.

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