Thursday, May 21, 2009

How to make a Tote Bag: Tutorial

Another Tutorial For You....

No I've not dissappeared. Life has gotten a bit busy and I'm reworking our weekly/daily schedules to accomodate a few extra things.
Since I've been MIA a while and patterns are coming a bit more slowly, but still coming, I've decided to give you all a little lesson to try while you wait for another pattern.

The Easy Peasy Tote Bag

Decide the finished dimensions of your rectangle. I wanted it a little larger than a standard notebook, so I used the notebook and added a bit around it.
Add 3" to the height. This will end up giving space for a squared bottom.

Purchase enough fabric for the rectangle X 2. Or use the already quilted stuff and purchase enough for the rectangle.
Purchase Grossgrain Ribbon for the straps and closure, 1" wide will do. I bought a spool at Walmart and had plenty.
Purchase cheap (remnant) fleece the size of the rectangle. It need not match.
Purchase bias tape (one pack) to coordinate, used to cover top and side edges, or another spool of ribbon. Depending on the length of your straps and size of your bag, you may have enough ribbon on just one spool of ribbon.

Cut fabric and fleece to size.
Sandwich fleece inside fabric pieces. Fabric pieces should be right sides facing out.
Pin together down the middle, then down every 3 inches alternating sides until you have secured the entire sandwich.
Sew down the pin lines, (sort of quilting) the pieces together so they don't get bunchy during use and washing.

Now you have "one" piece of fabric.
Fold the fabric in half from the bottom.
Sew up side seams.
With wrong side out, if you have a wrong side, square off bottom corner and sew across it. This will leave a triangle for you to cut off on each side (2 triangles total) and leave you with a squared bottom.
Turn right side out.
Sew trim on raw edges (side seams and top edge).
I used a coordinating fleece and left my edges raw, zigzagged around the top to keep it from fraying, then cut them slightly to make a short (3/4") fringe.

Measure for shoulder straps.
4 pieces of ribbon long enough for comfort plus a bit to knot 2 together.
Finish the ends with a zigzag, heat treat, or fray check.
Sew each on to the tote securely. Sewing a square pattern on each with an X in the center works well.
Cut ribbon for closure.
Cut two smaller pieces, long enough to attach and tie a knot to close.
Finish the ends as you did the shoulder straps.
Attach to the center of the top edge.
Knot your shoulder straps.

You are done.....


  1. Could you add a picture of the bag please? I am so visual I need to see what it should look like.

  2. Good details on how to make a tote bag. Extremely detailed and quite good tips. Thanks a lot


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