How to Make Your Own Fabric Tote Bag

Your own tote bag can really show off your personality. Learn how to make an all purpose tote – the perfect sewing project for beginners.

How to Make Your Own Fabric Tote Bag

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18” square cotton poplin fabric
18” square of cotton fabric for inside lining
18” square of fusible interfacing
42″ length of canvas strap
fabric scissors
sewing machine

Cut Your Fabrics

Cut two 18″x14″ rectangles in both outer and inner fabrics.
Cut two 18″x14″ rectangles of interfacing.
Cut the canvas straps into two 21″ lengths.

Cut out the Corners
On the longest side of your fabric rectangles, cut a 2″x2″ square from the bottom corners. Now do the same for the interfacing – this is the bottom of your bag.

How to Make Your Own Fabric Tote Bag2

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Add the Interfacing, Sew Sides

Iron the interfacing to the incorrect side of your outer fabric. Check the blog at for safety pointers. Pin the correct sides of the outer fabric such as and sew 1/2″ seams along the sides and bottom of the rectangle. Iron the seams open.

Make the Corners

Hold the gaps in the cut out corners together, lining up the seams. Place pins across and sew a 1/2″ seam.

Sew Liner Sides and Corners

Pin the correct sides of the inner fabric rectangles together and retrace the steps above.

Put Together, Pin

Flip the liner piece out the right way and place it inside the outer fabric piece so that the correct sides are together. Pop the canvas straps between the inner and outer fabrics. Pin the end of each strap roughly 4” from the side seam. Now pin the fabric edges together around the outside of the opening of the bag.

Sew the Opening

Starting at one side seam, sew a 1/2″ seam nearly the whole way round the bag, stopping 4″ from your starting point. This should ensnare the four ends of the canvas straps but leaving enough room for turning the right way.

Turn Out, Iron

Pull both the fabrics and the straps through the gap, making the bag turn out the right way. Iron gently to remove any wrinkles.

Finish Up

Top stitch around the whole way around the opening to finish off the edges. This will make sure the canvas straps are held tight and close the gap left for turning.

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