Simple Tote Bag - Simple Tutorial

Simple Tote Bag - Simple Tutorial

I have received so many compliments on my simple totes - I wanted to share how to make them with you.  This tutorial will be somewhat limited on pictures, but if you have just a little sewing experience, you won't need a ton of pictures - this is pretty straight-forward!

8-10 oz canvas, or home decor fabric for exterior
Quilting weight cotton for lining

Large Tote: 1 yard of each

Simple Tote Bag - Simple Tutorial

Medium Tote: 3/4 yard each

Simple Tote Bag - Simple Tutorial

Small Tote: 1/2 yard each

Simple Tote Bag - Simple Tutorial

Optional for small/medium tote: 1 yd Cotton Webbing for handles (you can also make them from the canvas)

Cut two squares of fabric from the exterior and interior fabrics
Large Tote:  22 "x 22"
Medium Tote: 17" x 17"
Small Tote:  14" x 14"
If making handles, cut 2 rectangles measuring 5" x 22" (large);  18" (medium & small)
**You can of course use any measurement(s) you like, but I like the way these sizes come out!

Place the exterior pieces right sides together and sew around 3 sides using a 1/2" seam allowance

STEP 3:  Create Corners
Create the corners by opening them up and flattening them out so the seams line up on the interior of the bag

Measure and mark (X) in from the point in on the center seam
X = Large (2.5") Medium (2") Small (1.5")

Measure and mark (Y) in from the point down each side from the corner
Y = Large (4.5") Medium (3") Small (2.5")

Draw a curved line connecting the three points

Simple Tote Bag - Simple Tutorial

Sew along the line, backtacking at the start and finish.
Clip the excess fabric leaving about 1/2" of seam allowance.

Simple Tote Bag - Simple Tutorial

STEP 4:  Lining
Repeat Steps 2&3 for the lining, but leave a 3-4" opening at the bottom of the bag to turn.

STEP 5: Create the Handles
If using cotton webbing, cut 2 pieces measuring 18" in length and move to Step 5a.  I would only recommend this for the small or medium tote...the larger tote is better with reinforced handles!

If making your own handles:
Fold one of the small rectangles in half lengthwise and sew around 2 sides to create a tube, leaving one short end open to turn

Turn using a turning tool (this takes a little patience), carefully push out the corners.
Fold the raw edges inside the tube and iron flat

Top-stitch around all four sides closing the opening

Fold the handle in half lengthwise again and pin together leaving 3" from both ends unpinned as you will NOT sew them - these ends will be sewn onto the bag

Sew from one end pin directly on top of the existing top-stitch.  Backtack at start and finish.

Repeat for other handle

Simple Tote Bag - Simple Tutorial

Move to Step 6 (Step 5a is only if using cotton webbing for handles)

STEP 5a  Attach Cotton Webbing Handles to Exterior
Measure (Z") in from each side seam at the top of the bag exterior and pin the webbing edge to the right side of the bag (raw edges lined up)
Z = Medium (3.5") Small (2.5")  (You can of course change this to anything that looks/feels comfortable to you)

Baste all four ends in place using 1/4" seam allowance

STEP 6:  Assemble Exterior & Lining
Place the lining inside the exterior right sides together, lining up the side seams.   Pin all around the top edge and sew using a 1/2" seam allowance

Turn right side out through the hole in the lining

Iron the top seam flat and top stitch.

If you used cotton webbing for handles, move to "Finish".

STEP 7:  Add Canvas Handles
Pin the handles to the each side of the bag 3.5" in from the edges, about 1.5" down (you need enough of the handle tab to be on the bag to sew a square)

Simple Tote Bag - Simple Tutorial

Sew the handles in place by sewing a square with an "x" in the center on each handle tab.

Close the opening in the lining with a slipstitch and enjoy your new bag!!!!

Simple Tote - Simple Tutorial

Have fun with it....the possibilities are endless!

Simple Tote - Simple Tutorial

Simple Tote Bag - Simple Tutorial

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