Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lined tote bag tutorial

I've been sitting in this one because I gave it as a Christmas present, but remember the tote bag I made for my Secret Santa?

I finally put together a tutorial for that.

You need:
1/2 yard of lining material
1/2 yard of outer material
8 inches of strap fabric cut into 4 inch strips.

Cut your half yards of fabric along the fold so you have two pieces of each fabric the same size.

Sew the outer fabric together right sides together on three sides leaving what you would like to be the top open. Repeat with the lining fabric. I used a 5/8 inch seam, but it doesn't matter from what I can tell.

Take your outer fabric and on the bottom corners you will line up the bottom and side seam while pulling out the fabric along the new fold to form a V coming from the corner where the bottom and the side meet.

I measured 2 inches from the stitched corner and made a mark.

Draw (or eyeball) a straight line and follow it with a straight stitch. I reverse at the start and end of this stitch to reinforce it.

Cut off the excess material and your new bag bottom will look like the one above. Repeat on the bottom corners of the lining material as well.

Now for the straps. Iron your 4 inch strip in half with right sides facing out.

Unfold your strap.

Now, fold and press both sides in to meet that seem you just made down the middle.

Now fold that piece in half and press. (See, you made giant bias tape.)

Sew a straight stitch down the open side of the strap. I sew one up the other side as well because I like the way it looks.

See, this is what you wind up with. Repeat it with the other strip, so you have two straps. You may want to trim some off each end to adjust the strap to the length you like.

Now, place the lining and out fabric right sides together with the straps sandwiched between the two. Make sure they line up on both sides. Sew along the top and leave about a four inch opening.

Pull the fabrics and handles out that opening you left in the top. (It doesn't have to be left in the top, but it was easiest for me.)

This is what you should be seeing. The right sides of your fabrics and the handles.

Push your lining down into the bag, so the handles are at the top, making it resemble an almost completed bag.

I like to press the top seam here to make it look crisp as well as ensure I catch the opening I leave when I top stitch.

I used a decorative top stitch all around the top of the bag. This closes the opening and helps reinforce the handles.

Your bag is done, washable and reversible!

Nice work.

The bottom is so fancy and the bag holds more because of the stitches you made along the bottom corners. Please share a picture if you make one of your own!

Just for kicks, how cute is this sewing apron Holly made me for Christmas? Love it!


  1. LOVE the fabric you used for the straps :) also glad to see you're getting use out of your apron. My serger finally came so I'm ready for a sew-athon

  2. Great Tutorial!
    Nicely done with pictures and explanations to boot!
    Thanks for posting!

  3. Cool tutorial! Thank you for sharing!