tote Tutorials

Simple Tote Bag tutorial

Sometimes you just want a simple tote bag. They come in so handy for trips to the library, piano classes, or bringing papers back and forth from work. This Simple Tote Bag tutorial will show you how to make a beautiful and useful tote, with canvas on the bottom to allow for even more durability and style.

Simple Tote Bag Tutorial

Supplies and Cutting:

  • From Exterior Fabric: Cut two pieces fabric 16 1/2″ tall X 15″ wide
  • Lining fabric: Cut two pieces 16 1/2″ tall X 15″ wide
  • Canvas: Cut two pieces 15″ wide X 5″ tall
  • for handles: Cut two pieces of exterior fabric 4″ wide X 28″ long
  • Fusible fleece: Cut 2 pieces 16″ tall X 14 1/2″ wide AND cut 2 pieces 7/8″ wide by 27 1/2″ long
  • medium weight interfacing: Cut 2 pieces 16″ tall X 14 1/2″ wide

Prepare Tote Bag pieces:

  • Fuse the fusible fleece to the wrong side of the exterior fabric pieces.
  • To the wrong side of the two lining pieces, fuse the medium weight interfacing.
  • Prepare your straps by first folding your handle fabric pieces in half along the length.
  • Open up the first fold and bring the raw edges into the center crease, press. (top strap in image)
  • Lift up one side of your strap and place the fusible fleece between the two creases.
  • Refold the side over the fusible fleece, and then refold the center crease.
  • Press the strap well to fuse the fleece.
  • Repeat for the second strap.

Begin sewing tote bag:

  • Place your exterior fabric pieces right side up.
  • Measure up from the bottom 4 1/2″ and place your canvas at this line.
  • Sew down the canvas using a 1/4″ seam allowance on the side toward the bottom of the tote bag.
  • Press the canvas toward the bottom of the tote bag.
  • Stitch across the top of the canvas using a scant 1/4″ seam allowance.
  • Sew down both sides of both straps using a 1/8″ seam allowance.
  • Position the raw edges of the straps 4 1/2″ in from the sides of both exterior fabric pieces. Make sure the strap isn’t twisted.
  • Sew the ends of the straps into place using a scant 1/4″ seam allowance.

Create Simple Tote Bag:

  • Place the lining pieces right sides together.
  • Mark a 1 1/2″ square in the bottom two corners.
  • Cut out the two corners.
  • Sew around the two long sides and the bottom of the lining pieces, leaving a 3-4″ opening in the bottom for turning. Back stitch at the starting and ending of your stitching.
  • Repeat all the steps in this section with the exterior pieces except DO NOT leave an opening in the bottom.

Box the bottom of the tote bag:

  • Pull out the corners of the squares in the bottom of the tote to form a straight line.
  • Press the seam allowances in opposite directions so the “nest” next to each other.
  • Pin well.
  • Sew across the corner with a 1/4″ seam allowance, be sure to back stitch.
  • Repeat for the remaining three corners.

Finish the tote bag:

  • Turn the exterior of the bag right side out.
  • Slide the exterior of the bag into the lining of the bag. Match up the side seams and pin around the top of the tote bag well.
  • Sew around the top of the tote bag using a 1/4″ seam allowance. I like to back stitch a couple times on both sides of the straps to secure the handles well.
  • Turn the bag right side out through the opening in the bottom of the lining.
  • Turn under the seam allowance of the opening in the lining and stitch closed with an edge stitch.
  • Push the lining into the exterior of the bag, lining up the bottom corners.
  • Press the top seam well.
  • Sew around the top seam using a scant 1/4″ seam allowance to finish the bag.

You now have a gorgeous tote bag to carry all your necessities around with!

The pouches you see are from my Travel Pouch set- you can purchase the PDF from my Etsy shop, or go to the post on my blog.

You might also like this mini wallet tutorial if you are looking for something small to slide into your tote with all your books and things.

Happy Sewing friends! Amy

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