how to: make a simple tote bag

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ever had some spare fabric, a bit of time and didn’t know what to do with it? well, how about learning how to make a super simple tote? if a sewing machine novice like me can do it, anyone can! i even had to do a bit of sewing machine repair halfway through, but you won’t have that problem (..hopefully).

learn how to make a simple tote bag
you may say i’m not a craft blogger, but i do love making – and learning to make – so i thought it would be nice to help you out! this is also my entry to the hillary blinds country crafts competition. if you enter now you still have time, you need to request your fabric by the 17th and your entry needs to be submitted by the 31st march.

things you need to make a simple tote bag

close up of abstract floral fabric
(a close up because i think this fabric is super pretty)

you will need:
– your fabric of choice – mine is calluna from hillarys, which was provided for this post.
– webbing, ribbon or whatever you want to use for handles
– tape measure
– sewing machine, thread (and patience if yours breaks midway like mine did)
– iron

fabric and ribbons for tote
firstly you will need to cut out your fabric and webbing/ribbon. i cut two pieces of fabric about 15 inches wide, and 16 inches tall. the handles are 23cm long each, but you can do your own measurements if you want something bigger or smaller.

ribbon handles pinned to bag
pin the handle to the ‘right’ side of the fabric (the side with the pattern or strong colour if you’re using plain fabric). they need to be right on the edge, about 3 inches in on each side. repeat this with the other piece of fabric and handle.

ribbon handles sewn to bag
using a zig zag stitch, sew on the top edge, sewing the handle on in the process. if you’re better/more confident with a sewing machine, sew right along the very edge and continue to the end. repeat with the other side of the bag and handles.

fabric folded, pinned and sewn
turn your fabric so that the ‘wrong’ side is showing (the reverse side). fold over about an inch of the top and with a iron, press down and pin into place.

sew this fold down at the top and bottom – so just above the zig sag stitch, and along what is now the top of the bag. i only now realise i forgot to take a photo of this stage, whoops! but you can see it’s been done in the below image.

tote bag inside out, waiting to be sewn
nearly done now! all you need to do is put both of the ‘right’ sides of the fabric together, pin them along the sides and bottom. with a straight stitch just sew the seams together from top to bottom, along the sides and bottom leaving about half an inch from the edge.

then turn the bag right sides out and you’re done! now you have a cool new tote. i’d love to see if you make one! if you do, take a photo and show me on twitter or instagram. i’ve been using mine a fair bit already, the fabric is nice and thick, so it’s very sturdy.

how to: make a simple tote bag was last modified: March 5th, 2016 by laura redburn


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