Sew a Simple Tote Bag Perfect for Your Next Market Run

Sewing Times
by Sewing Times
8 Materials
2 Hours

Tote bags are so useful! I had been thinking about what my next sewing DIY would be when I decided that a tote bag was the perfect new project. My bag was so easy to make and is both super cute and functional. It is a perfect size and fits everything I could ever need. If you have been thinking about your next DIY, this tote bag tutorial is exactly what you need! Make yourself an absolutely amazing bag in just a few, simple, and easy steps! Follow my step-by-step guide and get started on making your own adorable tote bag.

Sew a tote bag

Tools and materials:

  • Fabric
  • Lining 
  • Ribbon/fabric for handle
  • Scissors
  • Chalk
  • Ruler 
  • Sewing machine 
  • Pins
Cut out squares

Prepare the fabric 

To kick off this DIY, cut two 20.5 by 18 and ¾ inch pieces of fabric and two pieces of lining. Place the pieces one on top of the other and fold over. Then on two diagonally opposite corners, cut out two small squares. The top square should be 2 ⅜ inches by 2 ⅜ inches and the bottom one should be 2 by 2 inches. 

Sew the outer fabric

Sew the outer fabric 

Next, take the two outer fabric pieces and place them right sides together. 

Sew all around

Then you can sew the sides and bottom of the fabric pieces, leaving ⅜ of an inch of seam allowance. 

Sew a DIY tote bag

Once you have finished sewing, open up the bottom squares of your new bag and pin the fabric in order to close the two holes. 

Sew the bottom

Then head back to your sewing machine and sew along the bottom of the bag leaving ⅜ of an inch for seam allowance. 

Sew around the lining

Sew the lining 

Now it’s time to move on to the lining. Once again, sew the two pieces together with ⅜ of an inch for seam allowance. This time, leave a gap on one of the sides. Repeat sewing the bottom of the bag to close the corner squares as well. 

Put the fabric inside

Attach the fabric and lining

Next, turn your outer fabric right side out and leave the lining wrong side out. Place the outer fabric inside the lining.

Mark from the top

Once you have matched up the seams of the lining and outer fabric, take a ruler and mark 1 and ⅝ of an inch from the top of the bag on either side of both the top handle holes. 

Sew from point to point

Then sew from your one marking to the next and sew leaving ⅜ inch of seam allowance. 

Simple tote bag

Next, mark two small diagonal lines from the bottom of each side of the handle holes. Use scissors to make a small snip along those lines. 

Make small slits

Then fold the small pieces of fabric along the sides of the handle holes so that they are facing outwards. Make sure to clip your folds in place. 

Sew around the top

You can then go ahead and sew around the top of the bag leaving ⅜ of an inch for seam allowance. 

Turn right side out

Turn right side out 

Finally, you can turn the bag right side out by pulling the outer fabric through the small gap you left in the lining. Don’t forget to sew closed the gap! 

Easy tote bag

To get the most professional-looking seams, make sure to press them with an iron. 

Mark by the hole

Create a channel

It is finally time to attach the handles to your gorgeous new bag! Use your ruler and chalk to mark 1 and a ¼ inches from the top of the handle hole on all four sides.

Stitch along the outer fabric

Hop back over to your sewing machine and stitch along the outer fabric from point to point. While you are at your machine, stitch around the top of the bag again.

Sew from the bottom of the gap

You will see you have a small gap left to act as the perfect channel for your handle. To create this channel, sew from the bottom of that gap all the way around on both sides of the bag. 

Fold and press

Attach the handle 

Next, take your piece of ribbon or fabric and fold it in half lengthwise. Use your iron to press along the fold. 

Fold towards the middle

Then fold each side of the fabric strip towards the center line and press them down. Then fold the strip over again and press the fold in place. 

Sew both sides

With your strip perfectly folded, sew along both sides of the fabric, leaving about 4 fingers on each edge. 

Thread the fabric

Attach a safety pin to one end of the handle and thread it through the channel you created earlier. 

Sew the to edges

Once it has been threaded all the way through, open up the two ends of the handle and sew them together.

Sew the folds in place

Go ahead and refold the handle just like you did before. Once it’s been folded, sew along the two sides to secure the folds in place. 

How to make a tote bag

This tote bag is just amazing! What would you use this bag for? Let me know in the comments below! 

Suggested materials:
  • Fabric
  • Lining
  • Ribbon
See all materials

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