bag, scissors, measuring tape and several spools of thread

How to Measure a Tote Bag for Screen Printing

Move over t-shirts. Screen printing is a great way to customize way more than just apparel! In fact, you can use this relatively simple technique to customize or decorate just about anything you can think of. 

Whether you own a business, want to make a cute, one-of-a-kind gift or just want to get crafty and make something for yourself, screen printing tote bags is always a fun option. There are all sorts of tote bag design ideas out there, so it’s easy to come up with something perfect for any application. Before you get started, though, it is important to understand how these bags are measured. This is especially important if you plan on ordering your bags online since the bag size referenced on the web can be a bit tricky to understand. Plus, it’s often difficult to gauge the size from a picture. 

If you need some help learning how to measure a tote bag, keep reading! 

Familiarize Yourself with the Different Types of Gussets (and What Gussets Are!)

Let’s start with the basics. Before you start shopping for bulk tote bags, there’s one particular word you definitely need to know the meaning of: Gusset. In this case, the word “gusset” simply refers to the overall depth of the bag. While there are some styles out there that lack a gusset, most totes have a bottom seam which clearly defines the bag’s depth. 

Shop Tote Bags Wholesale

Tote bags come with two different types of gussets. The first is called a T-gusset, which is also known as a single seam gusset. It is called a T-gusset because it resembles an upside-down “T.” With this style, the tote is created using one or two fabric panels that have been sewn together to form the bag. An additional seam is added at the bottom of the bag to define the depth. 

The other type is known as a box gusset, U-gusset or all-around gusset. Totes with this type of gusset feature two vertical seams going down each side. In many instances, there is a separate piece of fabric sewn in between the front and back panels of the tote. This results in a more structured, box-like shape. 

How Tote Bags Are Measured

holding tote bag canvas fabric

Now that you have an understanding of the two main ways in which tote bags can be manufactured, let’s look a bit closer at how they are measured. 

Browse Our Collection of Blank Canvas Totebags

T-gusset tote bags are measured from seam to seam while the tote is laying flat. In this instance, the gusset ends up being factored into the overall width measurement. As a result, a bag that measures 18 inches from seam to seam, has a 6 inch gusset and is 15 inches tall will have a printable area of 15 inches high by 13 inches wide. When shopping online, it can be a bit difficult to tell by the measurements provided exactly how much area you will be able to print on. As a result, it’s generally better to order larger than you think you need. 

Bags with box gussets are much more straightforward. This type of tote is measured from seam to seam, and the gusset is excluded from this measurement. The height and width you see in the product description is the area you will be able to use for printing. 

Shopping for Tote Bags

holding black cotton tote bag on a brick wall background

When shopping for tote bags wholesale, the most important first step is determining what type of gusset it has. From there, you can review the measurements to find a bag which suits your needs. If you are new to screen printing tote bags or struggle with choosing the right T-gusset bag, sticking with bags with box gussets can save you a lot of hassle and frustration. 

It also never hurts to reach out for help. When you have questions or doubts, reach out to customer service for assistance. Any good wholesale company would be more than happy to help you select the products which best suit your needs. 

If possible, consider purchasing samples before placing a larger order. This is an especially wise idea if you are sourcing large quantities of bags for your business. Taking the time to order some samples you can inspect in person could save you from the headache of placing a huge order only to find out the bags are the wrong size. 

At ShirtMax, we offer a wide range of wholesale tote bags perfect for screen printing. We’re also here to help our customers choose the products they need for any application. Check out our full selection today and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns!