How to Make a Super Cute and Sustainable Tote Bag

5 Materials
1 Hour

Today, I’m going to show you how to make a sustainable tote bag. You can use this for shopping or simply to carry your necessities. Follow along with this step-by-step tutorial.

Tools and materials: 

  • Fabric (can be cotton, linen, velvet, denim)
  • Fabric scissors
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Straight pins
Fabric pieces

1. Prepare your fabric pieces

Start by cutting two strips which are 31.5” (80 cm) by 2.4” (6 cm) and one large rectangle that measures 35.5” (90 cm) by 15.7” (40 cm).

2. Fold, pin and sew

Fold the large rectangle in half, with the wrong side of the fabric inside, then pin the edges. 

Pinning the edges

Then sew along the pins using a French seam.

Tip: use a zipper foot to get closer to the edge.

Zipper foot

Now reverse it to the wrong side of the fabric, pulling out the tips of the corners (use a pin to help). 

Reversing the fabric

3. Sew again

Tease the seams in place with your fingers to align the bag and create a crisp edge. 

Teasing the seams

Then sew along the edges.

Where to sew

Sewing the fabric

Next, reverse the piece on the right side, poking the corners out again. Use your hands to straighten and flatten the side seams in place.

Flattening the seams

4. Fold the raw edges 

At the opening of the bag, fold down the raw edge 0.2” (0.5 cm), applying a crease as you go along with your fingernail.

Folding edge

Then fold again, this time 1.2” (3 cm) from the edge, securing the fabric in place with straight pins all around. 

Folding and pinning fabric

5. Create the straps

With both strap fabric pieces, fold down the raw edges of the long sides of the straps by 0.2” (0.5 cm) and iron them flat.

Ironing fabric

Then, fold the strap in half horizontally and iron again.

Ironing fabric

Now, sew along the opening for each strap piece.

Sewing opening

6. Mark the placement of the straps

Fold the bag in half and mark the center with a straight pin. 

Marking the center

Open the bag flat again, then fold another time (in quarters) to mark where the straps should go. 

Folding fabric

With a pen, mark on the inside of the bag at each of the pins that indicate strap placement. Once marked, then you can remove those pins. 

Pinned fabric

7. Attach the straps

Now, put the strap ends in place, feeding them at the marked points, under the folded fabric. Secure each strap end with a pin. 

Attaching the straps

Repeat on the other side for the second strap.

Attaching the straps

Now, sew along the edge of the 1.2” (3 cm) piece, which will also secure the straps in place. 

Where to sew

Sewing strap down

8. Finish the straps

On the inside of the bag, flip the base of each strap upward and secure them with a pin. 

Finishing off the straps

Then, tack the base of each strap by sewing a box X stitch.

box X stitch

DIY sustainable tote bag

Now your DIY reusable grocery bag is complete! 

DIY sustainable tote bag

You could even upcycle used garments to make this easy, fabric tote bag. Show us your sustainable tote bags in the comments below!

If you enjoyed this accessory DIY, why not check out my tutorial on How to Make a Turban Headband at Home.

Suggested materials:
  • Fabric (can be cotton, linen, velvet, denim)
  • Fabric scissors
  • Thread
See all materials

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