Canvas is an extremely durable plain-woven fabric used for making sails, tents, marquees, backpacks, and other items for which sturdiness is required. It is also popularly used by artists as a painting surface, typically stretched across a wooden frame. It is also used in such fashion objects as handbags, electronic device cases, and shoes.
Modern canvas is usually made of cotton or linen, along with polyvinyl chloride, although historically it was made from hemp. It differs from other heavy cotton fabrics, such as denim, in being plain weave rather than twill weave. Canvas comes in two basic types: plain and duck. The threads in duck canvas are more tightly woven. The term duck comes from the Dutch word for cloth, doek.
A canvas tote bag is a large and often unfastened bag with parallel handles that emerge from the sides of its pouch.
The archetypal tote is made of sturdy cloth, perhaps with thick leather at its handles or bottom; leather versions often have a pebbled surface. Common fabrics include heavy canvas, possibly dyed, or treated to resist moisture and mold. Jute is another traditional material, though less popular. In recent decades, heavy nylon and other easy-care synthetics have become common, although these may degrade with prolonged sun-exposure. Many of today’s inexpensive or free totes are often made from recycled matter, from minimally-processed natural fibers, or from byproducts of processes that refine organic materials.
During the 1950s, tote bags began to enter into the main culture. Women primarily utilized them as practical handheld bags because they didn’t require much care. It wasn’t until the 1960s when the tote bag embraced personal style. Bonnie Cashin released her own line of tote bags called Cashin Carry Tote Bags which combined style and functionality. In the 1990s, Kate Spade ultimately transformed how American culture embraced tote bags when she began carrying them as fashion bags. Today, fashion lovers and consumers can find canvas bags in a variety of decorations and themes.