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Zig Zag Big Bow Bag Tutorial

Zig Zag Big Bow Bag Tutorial
 Tote Bags are one of the easiest purses to transform by adding embellishments like pockets, ruffles, appliques, or even big bows!

 First, let’s come clean that bag/purse making can be intimidating to some people, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from starting with the baby steps! In my mind, the first introduction into making bags is in the basic Tote Bag.

Want to make this tote bag for yourself?  Here’s how!

First, you need your materials.  You will need:

2 pieces Exterior Fabric (I suggest Home Décor weight): 15” x 18”

2 pieces Interior Lining Fabric: 15” x 18”

2 pieces Strap fabric: 6” x 28”

Bow Pieces: Two (2) pieces 4 1/2” x 12 1/2”, four (4) pieces 4 1/2” x 20 1/2”, one (1) piece 2” x 4”

Sewing supplies, ruler, iron

**seam allowance is 1/2” unless otherwise stated



Cut out all your pieces.  It comes together quickly, so don’t be intimidated by all the pieces!

First, sew your interior pieces Right Sides Together (RST) along the sides and bottom.  Leave the top open.  Repeat with the lining fabric.

Bow Pieces: Two (2) pieces 4 1/2” x 12 1/2”, four (4) pieces 4 1/2” x 20 1/2”, one (1) piece 2” x 4”

Sewing supplies, ruler, iron

**seam allowance is 1/2” unless otherwise stated


Next, take your freshly sewn exterior fabric and fold it so the side seams line up with the bottom seam, creating a point. Iron the point to keep everything in place.  Repeat with the lining fabric.


Next, take your ruler and mark a line that spans 4” across the bag.  The easiest way for me to do this is pick an inch mark on my ruler, in this case 12”, and line that up with the seam.  Then I slide, tilt, or scoot the ruler until I have a 4” span across the bottom of the bag.

My 10” line hits one edge of the bag, and the 14” line meets the other.  Using a pencil or fabric marker, mark this line on your bag.  Repeat with the other side, and than again on the lining fabric.


Now that everything is marked, keep your fabric RST and folded this way, and sew along your drawn line.  Trim off the points.


Next, you will make your bow, using a 1/4” seam allowance.  This is simply an embellishment to make the basic tote bag not quite so basic! 

Pull out your 4 1/2” x 12 1/2” pieces and sew them RST, leaving a 2” opening in the middle of one of your long sides.  Clip your corners, and turn it right side out.


Use a blunt pencil or chopstick to get the corners pointing nicely, and iron it flat.


Now take your long, 4 1/2” x 20 1/2” pieces and sew then RST, leaving an opening on one of the short sides.  On the other short side, sew your seam at an angle, and trim off the excess.


Again, turn it right side out, perfect the corners with a pencil or chopstick, and iron it flat.

Time for the little center bow piece!  Sew the small remaining bow piece together along the long sides, turn inside out, and iron it so the seam is in the center.  Sew your short ends together to create a loop.


Next, slide your first bow piece into the little loop to make a bow!


Arrange your two long bow tie pieces on your tote bag exterior however you like and tack them down with a few strong hand stitches, and then tack down your bow piece where your tie pieces meet.


Moving on to the straps, first fold your strap pieces in half hot-dog style and iron in a good crease.


Then, open up the strap pieces and fold the sides in again so the meet at the crease you just ironed into it.


Fold it in half again, and give it a good pressing with the iron.


Using a very, very small seam allowance, top-stitch along both sides of your straps.


Next, iron a 1/2” hem along the top of both your exterior and lining fabrics, and then slide the lining into the exterior, Wrong Sides Together.


Slip the ends of your straps in between your exterior and lining wherever you want them to go; I usually place them at 1/3 intervals. Pin them in place, and then continue pinning around the top of your bag to keep the layers all together.


Top-stitch along the top of your bag very close to the edge, making sure to catch both the exterior, lining, and straps as you go.  Then, tack down your bow to the straps so it stays upright.  This finishes your Big Bow Tote Bag!

After suffering from small purse syndrome for a long time (self-inflicted, and happily so), this Zig Zag Big Bow Tote Bag was perfect for holding my music folder and supplies for entertaining the kiddos!  I’m already planning on using it to hold swim gear, crafty supplies, and whatever else I have been stuffing into plastic grocery sacks because my purse was too small to carry it.


I like having the purse low enough that I can just stick my long arms into it without pulling it off my shoulder.  I have crazy long arms, so this is a perk!


Thanks for stopping by today to see this bag tutorial, and I hope that if you aren’t already of the purse-making persuasion because of a fear factor that this simple, basic project helps ease you into it!


Zig Zag Big Bow Bag Tutorial


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