How to Sew a Tote Bag - Cute Pink Dior Book Tote Dupe

by Recreateful
15 Materials
4 Hours

I want to show you how to recreate this Dior book tote bag for a fraction of the price! This tutorial is so fun and will also teach you a few tips for bag-making!

So, if you want to learn how to sew a tote bag, let’s get right into it.

Tools and materials:

  • 1.1m (1.2 yards) of upholstery fabric
  • Heavy interfacing
  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Matching thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Measuring tape
  • Old bag
  • Glue gun
  • Magnetic buttons
  • Fabric scraps
  • Old shoes
  • Tweezers
  • Pliers
  • Ruler
Drawing the Dior book tote pattern

1. Make the pattern

I found the measurements of the pink Dior book tote bag online and used them to make the pattern: 36.5cm x 28cm x 17.5 cm (14.37” x 11.02” x 6.8”). I also added 2cm (0.78”) for seam allowance.

Dior book tote pattern

This is what my pattern looked like. 

DIY Dior book tote pattern

For the decoration, cut two strips of fabric 116cm in length (45.66”) and 10cm and 6cm wide (3.93” & 2.36”).

Cutting the lining pieces for the tote bag

2. Cut the lining

Cut the pattern of your bag again using the remaining fabric; this will be for the lining.

Cutting the interfacing for the tote bag

3. Cut the interfacing

Lastly, cut pattern on interfacing.

Making the decorative strip

4. Make the decorative strip

Iron the strips of fabric so that the raw edges are facing inside. 

Ironing the edges of the strip

For the thicker piece of fabric, iron the raw edges the other way around, as this forms part of the design.

Topstitching the thinner strip to the broader strip

Topstitch the thinner strip to the broader strip, on both ends to create the decorative piece.

Placing the decorative strip on the bag side

Decide where you want the decorative strip to sit and sew it down with a topstitch.

Attaching the lining to the bag body

5. Attach the lining

Place your lining onto the outer bag layer, right sides facing. Then, sew all along the top. 

Ironed seams

Iron down the seam, so it lays flat. 

Adding interfacing to the bag

6. Add the interfacing

Next, iron the interfacing onto the inside of your bag. 

How to make a Dior-inspired bag

Fold your two bag patterns (right sides together), including the interfacing, and sew along all the edges but leaving the short end open. 

Cutting off the seam allowance

Cut off the excess seam allowance, leaving only a tiny bit of fabric. 

Pressing the bag

7. Press

Turn your bag right sides out, push out the corners with your scissors, and iron. 

Folding the bag side

Sewing the tote bag side seams

8. Sew the bottoms and sides

Fold the longer piece of the bag over at an angle to connect the bottom of the bag to the side. Sew down.

How to sew a tote bag with a flat bottom

Fold over again, repeating the steps for the remaining sides, then sew.

Folding the bag to sew the seams

Making a Dior book tote

Turn the bag right sides in and fold the short side over.

Making a Dior book tote dupe

For the last side, sew up to the marking you made to cut out this pattern, so it’s exactly 17.5cm (6.88”) wide. 

Sewing the sides of the bag

Sew the sides of your bag right sides together to close the bag. 

Cutting of the excess fabric

Then, cut off the excess fabric. 

Topstitching all the seams

9. Topstitch

Turn the bag right sides out, fold along the seams, and topstitch each fold down. This will give the bag more structure. Repeat on all side seams, as well as the bottom seams. 

Pressing folds onto the sides of the bag

How to make a Dior book tote

10. Press folds at the sides

Fold the sides of the bag and iron them down to keep the fold in for a typical book tote look. 

Making handles for the DIY Dior book tote

11. Make the handles

Now, take some of the remaining fabric, and cut out 4 strips of fabric that are 5cm (1.96”) wide. 

DIY Dior book tote handles

Place them right sides together and sew along the edges, leaving one bottom open. 

Turn them inside out and iron them flat. 

Cutting handles off an old bag

Fillings for the handles

I took the handles of an old bag and removed the fillings. To my surprise, the filling was actually scrap fabric! 

Adding filling to the handles

Take the filling and place it on the strap, roll the strap around the filling and sew the sides closed. 

Sewing the handles

Do not close the whole handle; leave an opening on both ends. 

Sewing the edge of the handles

Sew the side that was left open, and fold the raw edges in for a clean finish. 

Attaching the handles to the DIY Dior book tote

Attach the handles to the bag by sewing a rectangle over the flat sections on each end. Be sure to pivot when sewing. 

Measuring more interfacing to reinforce the bag

12. Reinforce the bag

Because I wanted my bag to be stiffer, I measured the inside of my bag and cut out 4 layers of interfacing for each side. 

Ironing interfacing onto the fabric

Take some remaining fabric and cut it big enough to cover the interfacing. Iron all layers of interfacing onto the fabric. Also, iron all edges of the fabric onto the interfacing. 

Sewing panels for the bag sides

Sew the fabric onto the interfacing, folding the raw edge inward. In the end, you should have two panels. 

Old magnetic button from an old bag

13. Attach a closure

I reused the magnetic button from my old bag as a closure.

Attaching the buttons to the bag

Find the center of both panels and place a mark. Then, add the buttons accordingly. 

Making holes for the button tabs

Use scissors to poke holes for the button’s tabs to go through. 

Using pliers to attach the closure

Use pliers to attach both magnets through the panels. 

Attaching the panels with hot glue

14. Insert the panels

Place the panels into the bag. Then, attach the panels to the sides of the bag with hot glue. 

Using extra fabric to make matching slippers

Bonus DIY slippers

I had some leftover fabric, so I decided to make some matching shoes with an old pair of sandals.

DIY Dior slippers

Simply cut the fabric to the size of the sole and strap and glue the pieces on accordingly. 

Dior book tote dupe

DIY Dior book tote in pink

How to sew a tote bag tutorial

Here is the final outcome. The Dior book tote costs £2,250 pounds ($3,000) and my recreation only cost me £21.90 ($30)! Not to toot my own horn, but I think I nailed it.

I'm going to take this bag literally everywhere! Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Suggested materials:
  • 1.1m (1.2 yards) of upholstery fabric
  • Heavy interfacing
  • Scissors
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