Monday, November 25, 2013

Guest Post…Easy Tote Bag Tutorial

Welcome to another fabulous tutorial from Jann Newton. I just love it when Jann guest posts here. Her tutorials are wonderful…so detailed and great pictures for each step.

Make sure you visit Jann's blog. It is literally chock full of tutorials…everything from Christmas stockings, to pillows, to drapes.

Thanks Jann for another fabulous project!!

Hi everyone! I'm Jann Newton and I blog at Newton Custom Interiors about home decor, DIY projects and sewing tutorials. I'm thrilled to be guest posting again for Karen. Today I'll be sharing an easy tote bag tutorial.


I recently gave a talk about my business to a ladies club group, and I made a small tote bag for each of them. I made this pattern based on a bag that my mom has. It's a nice smaller size, and would make a great gift or a bag to hold a gift. My mom likes hers because it's just big enough to hold a book, or lunch and a water bottle. Here are the finished dimensions -


Easy Small Tote Bag

Materials needed:

3/4 yard of fabric - I used a sturdy outdoor fabric
Thread to match


1. Cut out one rectangular piece of fabric that will be the front, bottom and back of the bag. Marking the middle on each side.


 2. Cut out 2 side pieces. Marking the middle of the bottom edge on each piece.


3. Cut out 1 facing piece.


4. Cut out 2 strap pieces.


5. Fold and iron a double 1/2" hem on one side (bottom edge) of the facing piece. Serge the other side (top edge). 


6. With the right sides together, sew a 1/2" seam along side edge.


 7. Top-stitch the hem of the bottom edge.


 8. To make the straps - fold each piece in half, lengthwise, and iron.


 9. Fold each side in half again and iron. Repeat for other strap.


 10. Top-stitch each strap, and serge ends.


11. To make the body of the bag - pin the side pieces to the front, bottom and back piece. Matching up marks made on each piece when they were cut out.


12. At the bottom corners, cut a small notch to allow the fabric to go around the corner. Tip - after these corners were sewn I applied fray check on the notch to give added strength.


 13. Sew the front, bottom and back piece to the side pieces.


 14. Serge the edges of the side pieces, and also the top edge of the bag.


 15. Pin and sew both straps to the top edge of the bag.


 16. With right sides together, pin and sew the facing piece to the top edge of the bag.


 17. Fold the facing into the bag, and top-stitch the top edge.


 I used 4 different fabrics to make the 24 bags that I made.


Additional step - the bags that were made out of the solid fabrics, I did add a pocket to the front side. The dimensions of the finished pocket were 3 1/2" by 5". I serged all four sides. Turn and top-stitch the top edge of pocket 1", and turn under 1/2" on the other 3 sides. Top stitch the side and bottom edges to the front of the bag before sewing on the side pieces. 

Enjoy your new tote bag! 

I have several sewing tutorials on my site, and I would be honored if you checked them out too. 


Jann Newton shares home decor, DIY and sewing tips on her blog, Newton Custom Interiors. You can find her at Google+, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.         

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  1. I love tote bags - these are adorable with the extra sides - oh dear, I may have to make some more Christmas gifts now! A delightful tutorial, thanks for sharing :)

  2. what a great fun tutorial THANKS

  3. what a great fun tutorial THANKS

  4. Great tutorial, I am always looking for fast and easy projects. Liked how you co-ordinated your fabrics.

    1. Thanks Betty Lou! It was really fun mixing and matching the fabrics.

  5. Karen, I want to thank you again for the opportunity to guest post for you. Also, thank you for the kind words!

  6. Beautiful Tote Bag. Love it looks great for daily use.

    1. Thanks Jaswinder! I think it's a great size for a lot of items.

  7. You can never have to many bags! Thanks Jann

  8. Thanks Kim! I agree, you can't have too many bags!

  9. For those that don't have a serger (yes we're out there) what type of stitch do we use and HOW do we stitch in the areas that call for serging (even if I had one, have no clue/idea how to use it) :-). Thanks.

    1. BTW: I forgot to say thank you for the tutorial. :-)

    2. I think I would try using pinking sheers on the seams if you don't have a serger. That way the seams wouldn't tend to fray. Good point though, not everyone will have a serger.

  10. i have sewn many tote bags before but i've never seen a tutorial like this one.. Cant wait to get started. Thanks for sharing how you did it.

  11. Great Tutorial. This is something which i was searching from long time.


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