Quick Tote Bag Tutorial

So I'm going to Chicago tomorrow for my birthday/girls' weekend. As I begin to pack my stuff, I realize - I have no cute luggage/cosmetic bags.
And pool season is coming and since the hubby has turned my favorite L.L.Bean boat bag into an actual bag full of boating crap - I have no pool bag.


Super-quick tote bag made from leftover fabric! Might just have to make a few...or 20...more of these!

You'll need:
18" x 36" piece of home dec weight fabric  
18" x 36" piece of lining fabric
1.5 yards of cotton belting, divided in half
Coordinating thread
Sewing machine

Fold fabric in half,  right sides together and matching short ends together 

and sew from raw edge to the fold, down each side using a 1/2" seam. Iron flat and iron across the bottom to create a crease.
Use the same directions for the lining fabric.

Use the crease that you made

with the seam to form a point for the mitered corners.

My trick to lining them up: stick pin in through the seam and

line it up on the other side with the crease.

Measure 7" across from fold to fold. Use the lines on the ruler to square up with the seam, making sure they are parallel. Mark with a pencil {line #1}. Make another line 1/4" from line #1 toward the point for seam allowance.{line #2}

Sew across line #1

Trim along line #2. Repeat with other side of bag bottom.

Turn bag right side out. This is what the corner will look like.

Repeat corner mitering with the lining fabric.

Find center of bag top. It should be at the 9" mark. To position straps, measure 3 1/2" from center in each direction. Line up the inside edge of the strap at the 3 1/2" mark, making sure the strap isn't twisted or tangled. Allow about 1/2" of strap ends to hang past the raw edge of the fabric.

Pin in place. Repeat on other side with other strap.

Place the bag, right side out, into the INSIDE OUT bag lining. The straps should be sandwiched between the lining and the outer fabric. Pin raw edges together.

Sew with 1/2" seam allowance all the way around....

except for a 5" opening that will be used to turn the bag out.

Turn bag out through the opening and iron seams. Line up the opening and pin closed.

Edgestitch all the way around, reverse stitching over the handles for extra-strength.

I'm gonna cut loose this weekend, people. We're going to a Broadway show, going out dancing, drinking girly froo-froo drinks and generally acting like fools. Hope to fit in some shopping at vintage and antique stores, too.  See you back here on Monday!


I made this tote for my daughter out of Echino fabric with Laurie Wisbrun Urban Circus for the lining. THis bag is actually reversible! I just added some fusible interfacing to the lining pieces to give the bag a little more body.

The two straps were made using the strap from my Yoga Mat Bag pattern.


  1. It's so stinkin' easy to make a tote bag - I can no longer even justify buying the cute cheapo bags @ Target anymore!

  2. Oooohh I love that! I'm going to make me one for sure!!

  3. And you will look oh, so stylish! Have a blast!

  4. That sounds like such a fun time. I hope you have a BLAST! Thanks for the how-to, I'll be linking.

  5. Love the fabric that you have chosen for this easy to make bag.

    Thanks for the tutorial.

  6. Great Tutorial! I've just entered your bag into this weeks bag Brag Tuesday linking Party at ChrisW Designs http://blog.chriswdesigns.com/2013/08/bag-brag-tuesday-linking-party-week-eleven.html :)


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