Monday, December 19, 2011

Finished project - New Tote Bag!

Hey everyone....

Can you believe that this weekend is Christmas already!!  I can''s coming too fast!  Where's the pause button?

Well here is a semi-tutorial for a simple tote bag.  Everyone one can make bags, well at least I hope you can. So I won't bore you with too many details, I'll just make you go insane with all the pictures!! hahaha!!  If you haven't noticed already, I like to post lots of pics. I'm not that much of a writer so I post pics, duh!

Here is a tote that I've been working on for a while, only because I have had so much stuff to finish.  This is a birthday present for my besties daughter. Which I call my fake niece....I'm her aunt but not by blood! Her birthday was on Nov. 29, so yeah I'm pretty behind on it! I guess it's gonna be a Christmas gift now. lol!  She turned 13 years old, oh my....where have the years gone?  Now I do feel old. 

Many people sew totes differently, I usually sew mine 2 different ways. I always get compliments. Which is a good thing!

Here are the 2 ways I sew totes:

1) I sew 1 outside shell with gussets, 1 inside shell with gussets. then fit the shells together and sew the top, pockets and handles. It can be reversible.
2) I sew 1 outside and 1 inside together to make a wall, then sew both walls together, make the gussets and expose the guts (seams) as like to call them. If the inside is a solid color the exposed seams give it a pop of color when you open the bag. I'll have to post a pic so you can see what I'm talking about.  

Totes can come in all shapes and sizes, shore and wide, tall and skinny.  So it's up to you to decide those dimensions. 

On to the bag!!
  •  I cut out 4 pieces for the bag (2 for in/2 for out) and 4 pieces for the pockets (2 for in/2 for out).  I cut out 2 strips for the handles. I cut out 2 pieces of interfacing for the bag, 2 for the pockets and 2 strips for the handles.

I ♥'d this fabric!! Her mom helped me pick it out.
I made my pockets. 2 pocket pieces and interfacing.
I found my center and sewed my pocket onto one of the outside  pieces.
Sew up the outside pieces, right sides facing each other.

  • After sewing a 1/4 inch seam, I open and press the seams. I do the sides and the bottoms.  Then I open the corners to make my marks for the gussets.


Measure 2 inches down from the tip.
Can you see my chalk line?
I have no idea why this pic is upside down!!
Well I just cut the triangle off. I usually leave about a  1/4 inch.
Here is the outside shell turned right side out.
  • The following pictures just show me doing the exact same thing as above just adding the interfacing to the inside shell.

Measure, find my center and sew.
Put the two pieces together, right sides facing each other.
Then sandwich with the 2 large interfacing pieces, then sew.
I pressed seams, added the gussets and cut.
This shell doesn't have to be flipped.

  • Now that the shells are done, insert the inside shell and fit it together. Now I'm ready to fold and press the top down and get it ready for the handles.

Fit the shells together.
Fold down about 1 inch, then press.  Then another fold and press.

  • Take the strips for the handles and fold and press like you would while making a binding, press interfacing down the middle.

Fold and press
Folded and pressed, ready to sew the sides.
Sew down one side.
Flip over and sew down the other side.

  • Now that that's done I'm ready to sew on the handles. Flip tote inside out and get a couple of pins to secure the handles in place.

I align the handle with the side of the pocket, push the edge of the handle up the folded top.
Secure with a pin and sew my 1st line. (the bottom of the fold)

Fold over the handle and sew the second line. (the top part of the fold)

Done!! Now turn right side out and admire!!
(this is not the best pic, but  you can see  the inside!!
It can be used either way. I ♥ reversible!)

I really like the way this tote came out....the colors are awesome!! Perfect for a 13 year old.


  1. OMG I LOVE this!! And it might be perfect for a 27 year old too :-) (I'm 13 at heart)

  2. Looks great. Might do one for myself.

  3. I love how detailed you made your instructions! For visual learners like me this is perfect. Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. Thank you all for the comments!

  5. Very cute tote. You (and your Mom) did a great job with the fabric choice too :D

    Smiles while I visit from Tales of a Trophy Wife's WILL CRAFT FOR....linky party,
    Suzanne in NW Illinois

  6. I love this fabric. The bag looks great! nice job.

  7. This is such a cute bag! I really want to try making a bag sometime, I just haven't gotten around to it yet.:)

  8. I love this tote! I would love for you to add it to my Best of 2011 link party, as well as any other projects you are most proud of from this year. Visit
    ~Kara :)

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  10. Ummmm..WOW! You are so talented girl!! I love the bag and the fabric! Awesome job! Thanks for linking up!!!

  11. Amazing job!

    ~Mrs. Delightful

  12. Your bag looks wonderful! I love the fabric too.


  13. This is so pretty! I love the fabric! Thanks for sharing, visiting via Get Your Brag On!

  14. Thank you all for the lovely comments!! If I didn't respond by email, it's because you have a no-reply.

  15. Love the cute bag and the colors! thanks for sharing this with us! Have a lovely week...

  16. Love, love. love it. The fabric is adorable too.

  17. Great fabric and great tut! Thanks for sharing!

  18. great job! I love that material. Thank you so much for linking this to my T' Time Party last week. I almost always start my party on Monday nights but due to motherhood of four children...{blush} I just started it a few minutes ago. Hope to see you this week! Have a lovely day, Maria

  19. I love this tote! Thanks for linking up for Friday Favorites. I'm featuring you this week. Come by and grab my featured button if you'd like one!

  20. Fabulous bag, with bright, fun fabric. A great tutorial. I would love for you to share this bag (and any others you have made) at my ongoing linky that's exclusively for bags and totes....

  21. Great bag - and I just found another way of doing the top binding and handles of a bag, so thank yoU! Change is good...

  22. Very cute.. love the fabric! I am bit obsessed with bagmaking myself.. JUST started a blog on it if you want to check it out!


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