Monday, 20 February 2017

Simple Tote Bag Tutorial

I recently made a simple tote bag to display some hand-patchwork and thought it would be a nice idea to show a step-by-step guide to making a lined tote bag.

I didn't use any formal measurements because I was stash-busting and wanted to utilise the full width of the remnant fabric. I used a standard 1.5cm seam allowance throughout.

Step one:

Cut the outer and lining fabric out. The final size will be half the length of the fabrics shown here. The fold in the centre of each fabric will be the base of the bag. The lining needs to be about 2cm shorter to help with the final finish (it will make sense later). If you are decorating the outer section of your bag it would be easier to do it at this stage before construction.

Step two:

Optional pocket. I used a section of outer fabric for a pocket. To make it easier to attach, iron the seam allowance under before pinning and sewing on the pocket to the lining fabric.

Step three:

Construct the outer bag and lining bag by folding the fabric and sewing the 1.5cm seam at either side of the bag. To help get a sharper point, snip the corners of the seam allowance so when they bags are turned the right way around they will create a nice finish.

Step four:

Turn the two bags the right way round. Place the outer fabric bag inside the lining. I trimmed a little off the top of the lining here (if you follow my instructions from step one you can skip this step). Fold the outer over the lining bag. Turn again so you will have created a rolled hem that encases the top raw edge of the lining fabric.

 Step five:

Decide on the length of your bag straps and cut out the lengths you require. I cut two lengths of the outer and lining fabric and sewed them lengthways with right sides together using a 1.5cm seam allowance. I used a ruler to help turn out the strap. You could also use a knitting needle or wooden spoon to help with this process.

Step six:

Iron the straps and then pin into position underneath the rolled hem of the bag. I chose to place the straps either side of the pocket opening but you can adjust to where you think they are best placed.

Step seven:

After pining the straps into place secure the rest of the rolled hem into position and sew to fix the outer and lining fabrics together. If you want to make the straps really strong you could reverse sew back and forth over the strap a few times. Once you have sewn the rolled hem you now need to flip the straps upwards and pin into position.

Step eight:

Sew again close to the outer edge of the top the bag all the way around. This final row of stitching will secure the straps into their final position. Turn the bag to the right side and give it a good press with the iron. Now you have an easy tote bag which is perfect for gifts x


  1. This is a great tutorial. I always get a little confused with lining, and often end up inside out when nearly finished.

  2. Ah that is what you did with your patchwork sample. What a great idea. Jo x

    1. Indeed. I think it turned out OK in the end. Thanks Jo x

  3. So many uses for a tote, they always come in handy :D #handmademonday

  4. I love making tote bags, only problem is have far too many but then see some new fabric which is calling to be stitched, lol