How To Make a Tote Bag - Part 1

Hi! I felt great after long holidays on the place that far away from my home. And finally I recovered from jet lag :-) And of course the first thing I'd love to do is sewing and blogging.
As promised on my last post, here is the tutorial "how to make a tote bag".

  • home decor fabric - for outer bag, inner flap and bag straps 
  • striped cotton fabric - for inner bag and pocket
  • red colour cotton fabric - for outer flap
  • fusible interfacing (the heavy one is better),
  • big wooden button
  • and same colour thread.
Cutting the fabric:

You do not need the pattern to make this tote bag, it's made up from rectangle shapes. You can measure it directly on the fabric and cut it.
Note: the measurement below including seam allowances, I used 1/2'' seam allowances for this tote bag.

  1. For bag body, cut the fabric (home decor and striped cotton fabric) and fusible interfacing on rectangle shapes 17 1/2" wide x 13" high on the fold.
  2. For inner pocket (striped cotton fabric), cut on rectangle shapes 11'' wide x 8'' high on the fold.
  3. For bag flap, cut fabrics (home decor and red colour cotton) on the rectangle shapes  6 1/4" wide x 10 1/2" high.
  4. For bag straps, cut the home decor fabric 3 1/2 " x 28" make two straps.


  • After you cut all the fabric, cover the raw edges of the fabric (I used an overlocker but if you don't have an overlocker, you can use a zig-zag stitch).
  • For outer bag, iron the fusible interfacing on the home decor fabic. Fold the fabric with right side together and stitch it on both right and left side with 1/2'' seam allowances. Make the buttom of the bag, to make the optimal square for the buttom of tote bag is not difficult as I thought. With the bag wrong side out, fold the side of the bag over the buttom fold of the bag, measure 2'' from the point, draw the straight line across the bag, pin it and stitch it. Turn the bag inside out. Take a look the picture below, how I made the square buttom of the bag.

  • For inner pocket, fold the fabric with wrong side together. Top stitch the upper side by 1/2'' down.
  • For inner bag, place the pocket on the right side of the inner bag fabric (the striped cotton). Measure about 2 1/2'' down from the upper bag and 3'' from the side bag. Stitch it with 1/2'' seam allowance on both side of the pocket and buttom of the pocket. Divide the pocket in two by stitch it in the middle of the pocket. Here I used 4 1/2'' and 6 1/2''. Now, you have two inner pockets. Take a look of the picture below for the detail,

After you have done the pockets, fold the striped cotton fabric with right side together and    stitch both side of the pocket with 1/2'' seam allowances. Make the buttom of the inner bag same as how to make the buttom of outer bag.
  • For the bag flap, place together the fabric for the bag flap with the right side facing together. Stitch it with 1/2'' seam allowance arround the side and the buttom side, leave the upper side open to turn the flap inside out. After you turn the flap inside out, press and iron. Make the buttonhole on the closed fabric, the open fabric for the back side of the tote bag. Take a look of the picture below,

  • How to insert the flap bag, pin the flap on the middle of the back side (outer bag) of the tote bag about 2'' down from the upper raw. Topstitch about 1/2''. Here is the picture,

  • How to make the bag straps, fold the fabric in half and mark it with the chalk or just iron the fabric to follow the mark. With the wrong side facing you, fold the fabric 1/2'' inside and fold again to the middle. Pin it and stitch it. Iron the straps for better result. Take a look of the pictures for more detail.

I think enough for today post, see you tomorrow on part 2.
Happy sewing!!

For part 2, click the link here