Learn How to Make a Ruffle Tote Bag With This Step-by-Step Tutorial

BG Patterns
by BG Patterns
11 Materials
3 Hours

In this tutorial I will show you how to make this cute and versatile ruffle tote bag. The end product is completely gorgeous, and I just know you'll love it! So, without further ado, let’s jump right into this tote bag DIY.

Tools and materials:

  • Iron
  • Fabric
  • Interfacing fabric
  • Lining fabric
  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Tape measure
  • Tailor’s chalk
  • Needle and thread (to hand sew the ruffle)
  • Zipper 
  • Piece of cardboard (optional)
  • Hot glue (optional)
Ironing fabric

1. Iron interfacing to fabric

After cutting out your pieces according to the pattern, iron the interfacing to the wrong side of the main fabric.

Do this for the handle and ruffle pieces as well.

Ironing fabric

2. Sew inner side pockets

Next, prep the inner side seam pockets. Fold the edges of the inner fabric inward by ¼”. Then, sew that down. Do the same for the outer fabric.

Sewing fabric

Here’s what you should have:

Progress example shot

3. Attach inner side pocket to lining

Measure 3” from the top of the main bag fabric lining and mark two points. 

Measuring fabric

Ultimately, you will attach the pocket at the center, so measure and mark 3.75” from each side of the fabric.

Marking fabric

This is how it should lay. Sew down the 2 sides and the bottom of the pocket. 

How fabric should lay

4. Sew the main bag fabric and lining

Start by folding it with the right sides together, making sure that the side notches are aligned.

Main bag fabric and lining

Sew on the straight line, leaving a ½” seam allowance. For specifics, see the video 2:58-3:10.

Sewing fabric and lining

Now, flip the bag right side out, poking out the corners to bring out the sharp edges.

Flipping bag right side out

5. Sew the ruffle pieces together

Place the two right sides of the fabric pieces together, then sew both long sides and one of the short sides, leaving the last side open to be able to turn it around.

After sewing, clip the edges and turn it right side out. 

Clipping the egdes

Turning fabric right side out

Then, use scissors to help you poke the edges out. 

Poking edges out with scissors

Next, fold the raw edge of the open side inward by ½”, pin it and sew to close it.

Pinning fabric

The next step is to iron this piece down.

Ironing fabric

6. Create the ruffles

Find the center of this long piece of fabric and sew a basting stitch by hand.

I tried using a sewing machine for this part, and it didn’t come out as well because the thread kept snapping. 

Creating the ruffles

Keep going down the fabric and play with the tightness of the ruffle until it matches the width of your bag.

See how it looks placed on the bag, then knot the ends of the ruffle so that it stays intact. Repeat the same process for the other ruffle fabric.

Creating the ruffles

7. Attach the ruffles to the bag

Measure and mark 2” from the opening of the bag on both sides. 

Marking fabric

Place the center of the ruffle fabric on the mark and pin it down a few times along the ruffle.

Pinning fabric

Repeat the same step on the other side of the bag with the second ruffle piece.

Pinning fabric

Then, sew both ruffles onto the main bag piece.

Sewing ruffles onto bag

8. Make the bag handle

Fold your handle fabric pieces in half the long way, right sides together.

Folding handle pieces in half

Pin, then sew both pieces with a ½” seam allowance. Once sewn, place the seam line at the center of the strap and iron it down flat (for both strap pieces).

Ironing strips

9. Make the zip casing (See video 8:45-10:00)

Place the main fabric with the interfacing on the top side of the zipper, then place the other fabric piece, without the interfacing, at the bottom of the zipper.

Then, secure them to the zipper with a few pins.

Making zip casing

Once it’s pin, fold it with the wrong sides facing each other, like this:

Progress example shot

Then repeat the same steps on the other side of the zipper.

Making zip casing

Making zip casing

Sew along the lines where you pinned the fabric to the zipper and then iron it down.

Ironing fabric

Now, fold the fabrics together with the right side of the zipper sandwiched inside the fabric, then sew with a ½” seam allowance on both sides.

Making zip casing

10. Attach handle to bag

Place the handle ends on the notches of the main bag fabric on both sides and pin in place. Repeat on the other side with the second handle.

Attaching handle

Optional: Attach cardboard to the base of the bag

Measure a piece of cardboard to fit the bottom of the bag. Wrap the cardboard with the exterior fabric and glue it down with a glue gun or other glue. Glue all sides down and press. Cut off any excess fabric as you go.

Attaching cardbroad

Add glue to the part where the cardboard is showing and glue it to the bottom of the bag.

Attaching cardbroad

11. Insert the lining to the main fabric

Insert the lining with the wrong side of the lining facing the wrong side of the main fabric and pin it. 

Inserting lining

12. Attach the zip casing to the bag

Join the side seams of the zipper fabric with the side seam of the bag fabric, with right sides facing each other. Attach it with a pin on both sides.

Attaching zip casing

Then pin the rest of the fabrics together and sew it all with a ½” seam allowance.

Attaching zip casing

Trim off any excess zipper.

Trimming excess zipper

Flip the zipper into the bag.

Flipping zipper into bag

13. Make a top stitch

Have the bag fabric and the zipper fabric pinned together. Then sew all around to create your top stitch.

Where to top stitch

DIY ruffle tote bag

Here’s the final look of the blue tote bag:

Completed DIY ruffle tote bag

Let me know what you think about this tote bag DIY in the comments below.

Completed DIY ruffle tote bag

If you make your own ruffle tote bag, I’d love to see your results!

Suggested materials:
  • Iron
  • Fabric
  • Interfacing fabric
See all materials

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