DIY Fashion Tote Bag

30 Minutes

Tote bags are so useful and eco-friendly. For those reasons, a stylish and well-constructed tote bag in a canvas fabric will be a work-horse for years. I only purchase tote bags that will stand the test of time, but they can be pricey.

Check out one of my favorite patterns I have ever made HERE.

Therefore, I wanted something inexpensive, so I decided to make my tote bag.

We had so much fun styling with our custom made tote bags.

Six finished bags in no time. So let's get sewing.

Cut plan

The width of the cut fabric needs to be 18″ which includes seam allowances.

Since I wanted a final size of 16″ by 16″ I added 2″ to account for the 1/2″ seam allowances. The 16″ is doubled since it will be folded over and the 4″ bottom has added the header to the length of the bag.

My tote bag canvas fabric is solid so I could make it all in one piece.

Fabric, cut plan, and chalk marker

I like to measure the fabric to help me decide which way to cut out my tote bag canvas (I am making 10 totes) so I need to save fabric.

Measuring the fabric

After getting my fabric thread perfect the fabric can still seem a little out of square for that reason I like to use a ruler that can guide me to make my cuts as square as possible.

Squaring the fabric

Marking the rectangle for the tote bag canvas

Cutting on the chalk marks.

My tote bag canvas is ready to serge.

Nylon webbing handles

After cutting out my tote I cut the nylon webbing into 27″ lengths (you will need two 27″ lengths per tote) with a hot knife.

Cutting nylon webbing with a hot knife

I placed a pin in the center of my tote bag canvas tops and then from the center I measured out 3″ on both sides to find where to pin the nylon webbing handles to the fabric.

Deciding on placement for handles

Serging the handles and canvas

Next, I tuned down one inch of the fabric to form a header and carefully ironed only the canvas to crease the fold.

Measuring the one inch fold over heading

Both sets of handles sergred

Stitching the header and handles

Using a magnetic guide to ensure that my header has a consistent stitch line.

Sewing a second stitch line

Adding another line of stitching for extra strength.

Header finished

Folding the bag in half

Measuring for Cricut design placement

Now I am ready to figure out where I want to place my vinyl design. If you are not adding a design omit this step.

With the tote folded in half measure up 2″ from the bottom (see the blue pin below) and then measure from the blue pin to the bottom stitch line of the header and find the center. Mark the center with chalk

Finding the center for my Circut design

Marking for Circut design placement

Adding the vinyl design

Lining up the design for placement

Placing the ironing pad under the tote

Placing the Teflon sheet on top of design before ironing

Ironing the design with Easy Press 2 Iron

After the design is pressed on start to carefully peel away the carrier plastic sheet. Olivia added an additional layer.

Adding a special holographic to the design

Fold tote with right sides together

Pin sides

Fold the tote bag in half with the right sides pin then sew.

Forming a point at the bottom side seams

Measure up 2″ from the point

Make a chalk line across the triangle area at the 2″ mark pin and sew.

Pin across the stitch line

Bottom view

Side view of bottom corner stitch line

Finished tote bag

Below you can see the finished tote bag canvas held by Olivia. It is a perfect size for all her goodies. Notice the length of the handles (we cut them at 27″ each) and they fall at a comfortable place for her. Check the handle length by placing the webbing over your shoulder before cutting to see where you want it to fall.

Tote bag finished


  • Canvas fabric

  • Webbing

  • Chalk

  • Chalk maker

  • Scissors

  • Hot knife

  • Yardstick

  • Sewing machine

  • Magnetic seam guide

  • Serger

  • Pins

  • Heavy thread

  • Cricut Maker

  • Easy Press

  • Pressing pad

  • Teflon pressing sheet

  • Vinyl

  • Ruler 4′

  • Quilting ruler

  • Ruler 6″

Thank you for stopping by; please follow my account for more inspiration.

Have a great day,


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Kippi @ Kippi At Home
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