Monday, January 6, 2014

Sew Tute – Tote bag


Tote bags are a great handmade gift for anyone especially for kids.  They can be used as a sleepover bag, shopping bag, toy bag and even a library bag.

First I like draft a pattern on paper and file it away for another day in an expander file but if you don’t have paper that is all good you can just draft it straight onto the fabric.

Ok what you need:

  • half a metre for your outer fabric
  • half a metre for your inside fabric
  • 40 inches of cotton webbing tape

The finished tote will be 13 inches wide x 13 inches high x 4 inches deep so to draft a pattern on paper I started by marking out the main part of the bag that is 13 inches x 13 inches.  Then I added another 4.5 inches to the width of the bag on one side as this will add the  depth and 1/4 inch seam allowance.

For the base of the bag I have added 2.25 inches x width of the bag (17.5 inches) to the bottom of the pattern. 

tote pattern draft

Once this is all marked out cut out a 2 inch x 2 inch square from the bottom corners of the pattern.  And this is what you should end up with.

tote bag tute

Place your pattern onto your fabric and cut 2 pieces for your outside fabric and 2 for your lining.  Starting with your outside fabric, place right sides together, pin and sew down each side and across the bottom.  Now do the same with the lining/inside fabric and remember  not sew the 2 x 2 cutout section.


Ok so now to make the base of the bag by pinching grabbing each side of the bag corners and lining them up together, pin and sew.  Do this for each corner.

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Lets put it together!  turn your lining/inside fabric out the right way and insert into the outer fabric bag so that right sides are facing each other.  Pin and sew leaving a 3 or 4 inch gap to turn the bag right side out.

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Give your bag a bit of an iron and then top stitch all the way around the top making sure that you sew the turnout opening.  If you like you can hand stitch the opening first before top stitching.

For the handles cut the webbing in half so that they both measure 20 inches in length.  Fold about half an each at each end a pin to where you want the handles to be.  I folded the bag in half and then went 2 inches out each side of the centre and pinned the handles.  Then I sewed a square then across the middle to secure the handles to the bag.

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And now you are done!!   Have lots of fun making lots of totes for your family and friends.  You can even redraft using the same method to make the bags bigger and wider by adding a few extra inches to the side and bottom.


Would love for you to share what you have made over at my Facebook page.

Jennifer xx


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