How to make the Jordy Tote Bag

How to make the Jordy Tote Bag

Learn how to make the Jordy Bag – a fully lined, roomy tote. This simple and clear illustrated tutorial takes you through all the steps to make your own bag, including instructions on how to do a basic appliqué. You can add pockets, change the closure or modify the size for a custom tote bag that you can proudly call your own.

Download the Jordy Bag Template



    sewing machine
    iron & ironing board
    straight pins


    ½ yard for outer
    ½ yard for lining
    ¾ yard by 10 inches for straps
    ribbon, 18″ long
    1/2 yard to 1 yard fusible interfacing

A Word About Interfacing…

Interfacing is a type of papery or woven fabric that will give your Jordy Bag structure. You can buy fusible or sew-in. I like to work with fusible interfacing because it’s a quick and easy and works well for this type of bag. But you can use whatever you are most comfortable with.

If your fusible interfacing comes with directions, follow them. But generally, you want to use a hot steamy iron (on the non-sticky side!) to fuse the interfacing to the back of your fabric pieces. Make sure your fabric is thick enough to withstand this type of heat or you might burn or melt it.

Interface any pieces that need more structure or stiffness. The amount of stiffness will depend on the thickness and type of interfacing you’ve chosen to use. The places that need it the most are the straps, outer body of the bag and anything that has stress points, like pieces with pockets or closures.


cut pattern pieces and interface fabric

Determine how big you want your finished Jordy Bag to be. The dimensions shown in this pattern make a bigger tote about 18 1/2 inches by 14 1/2 inches with a 4 1/2 inch bottom, but you can modify the pattern to make any size you want. The size of your square bottom will be double the length of the square cut out of the bottom, minus your seam allowances.

If you make your own pattern, remember to add a seam allowance to all sides of your pattern pieces. I usually use a 1/4” to a ½” seam allowance.

How to make the Jordy Tote Bag

This pattern is pretty simple, so you can just measure and cut your fabric and interfacing to size. But if you want, you can download and print the Jordy Bag pdf template.

Press And Sew The Straps

Straps are really simple. I prefer this method over sewing an inside out tube and turning it right side out – especially if you’re interfacing them… and I do recommend interfacing your straps – they will lie flat and look nice for longer.

1. Press in a ½” on both sides of the strap lengthwise
2. Fold the strap in half lengthwise so the pressed in parts meet and press again
3. Top stitch ¼” on both sides (contrasting thread looks great on straps)

How to make the Jordy Tote Bag

Appliqués, Pockets, And Closures  (OPTIONAL)

If you’re going to do any decoration on the outside of your bag, put in any pockets or closures do it at this point. This Jordy Bag pattern is a basic tote that closes with a tied ribbon and doesn’t have any pockets, so pockets and other closures will not be shown here.

Here are instructions for a simple appliqué:

Interface (fusible) a scrap piece of fabric and trace and cut out your appliqué piece. You can also use fusible webbing – it’s sticky on both sides so your appliqué won’t move around on you while you stitch. Otherwise pin your appliqué to the fabric (you can also use spray adhesive if you really want it to stick, but beware – this might make your needle sticky).

Starting from the bottom piece, stitch around your shape with a large, narrow zigzag stitch. The stitches should be fairly close together and should cover the raw edge of the appliqué. When you get to a corner, turn and overlap the stitches (see image).

You can simply backstitch when you get to the end of your appliqué, or if you want a sharper look, end your last stitch where your first stitch began and pull the top threads through to the back and tie a knot to secure

How to make the Jordy Tote Bag

Basic Construction

How to make the Jordy Tote Bag

The next step is to stitch the straps and the ribbon closure to the outer body of the bag. First pin the straps to the outside of your bag at equal distances from the sides. It’s a good idea to try your bag on at this point and see if the straps are in a comfortable position. Then secure them by stitching twice along the top of the bag.

Take care to stay inside your seam allowance so these stitches do not show in the end. Also be sure that your straps lie flat and line up with each other on the front and back pieces before you stitch them down.

How to make the Jordy Tote Bag

How to make the Jordy Tote Bag

Stitch together side and bottom seams of outer and lining fabrics. Press the seams out flat.

Sewing The Square Bottom

To make the square bottom, pinch together the corners of the fabric, as shown(1,2). Then stitch the corner closed (3). Do this to both corners of your outer fabric, but only one corner of your lining. You’ll need this hole to turn the bag out later.

How to make the Jordy Tote Bag

Sew the inside to the outside

How to make the Jordy Tote Bag

Turn the lining right side out and put it inside outer bag so that the right sides of the lining are facing the right sides of the outer fabric. Your side seams should line up. Pin and stitch all the way around the top of the bag, making sure to stitch lower than where you attached your straps.

Pull the lining out of the outer fabric and press this seam towards the outer fabric. Next you have to turn the bag right side out through the hole that is left in the lining. Just be patient and gentle and try not to rip the fabric.

How to make the Jordy Tote Bag
Finishing Touches

To close the hole in the lining, press in ½” and top stitch.

Fit the lining inside the bag. Press the top of the bag so that the two fabrics sit nicely together. Pin all the way around the top and topstitch the outer fabric to the lining (a double top stitch looks nice here).

How to make the Jordy Tote Bag

And that’s it! Fill your bag with your favourite things and get ready to show it off.

How to make the Jordy Tote Bag

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