Sunday, 15 July 2012

How to sew a tote bag using leftover fabric

If you have bits of fabric left, you can use them to make a simple tote bag. The fabric suitable for the bag has to be quite strong. I used two contrasting cotton curtain fabrics to make this bag, but you can use whatever fabric you have.

Cut 4 strips of fabric: 2 x 29 inches (5 x 74 cm) for the handles, 2 strips of each kind of fabric.
Also cut 2 pieces the fabric for the body of the bag: 12 x 14 inches (30.5 x 35.5 cm) each.
Finally cut one strip of contrasting fabric: 4.5 x 40.5 inches (11.5 x 102 cm) for the sides and bottom of the bag.

To make the handle, pin together 2 strips of fabric (of 2 different kinds of fabric), remembering to place the fabrics with the right sides facing each other.
Sew together 2 strips of fabric lengthwise (about 1/4 inch = 1 cm from the edge), then turn the piece inside out, fold it and pin the edges, folding the edges inwards as you pin them. Sew along the edges of the handle.

Repeat the action to make the second handle.
Cut off the corners (on one side) of the 2 pieces of fabric for the main body of the bag. Make them rounded as it is much easier to sew along rounded corners.

Pin the wide strip of fabric along 3 sides of the bag and sew the pieces together. To make the bag stronger, you can sew along the edge twice.

Use zigzag stitch along the very edges to make them neat. Repeat the action with the other side of the bag.

Flip the bag inside out. Fold the top edge of the bag inwards twice and secure with pins.

Sew along the edge of the bag.

Insert the handles into the bag and pin them to the bag in 4 places.
Sew the handles to the bag following the shape of a rectangle with a cross inside:

Your bag is ready to use:

Happy bag making!




  1. Thank you! I will learn from you some more advanced sewing techniques.