If you’ve ever wondered how to make a nice simple tote bag to carry all your junk around in (or am I the only one with junk?? hehe) – here’s a little tutorial to help you out!
This is for a basic, oversized, carry-all tote. Nothing fancy, just super simple and useful! You can use canvas, cotton, linen, or whatever fabric you prefer, as long as it has enough weight and structure to hold all your goodies.
Lets make our pattern first. Start with a 21″ by 21″ square.
Again, this will make a slightly oversized tote, so if you want something smaller, perhaps start with a 19″x19″ square or whatever you prefer.
At the bottom 2 corners, cut out 2″x2″ squares.This is what the pattern will look like now, with the final measurements.
You’ll also need two straps, each 30″ long by 3″ wide. If you would like wider straps, try 4.5″ wide for each.
Once you’ve cut out your bag pieces- place the two main pieces together with right sides together, and sew along each side, as well as the bottom. Leave the top edge and the corner cut outs open.
Finish your raw edges with your preferred method.
Open up one of the corners, and fold together so that the side seam and bottom seam match up.
Sew together, and finish your raw edge with your preferred method. If using a serger/overlock, make sure to tuck in the loose tails using a large embroidery needle so that they don’t unravel.
Repeat for the other corner.
Set the bag aside and place your straps in front of you, wrong side up.
Fold in each of the long ends by 1/2″ and press. Repeat for the other strap.
Now fold the strap in half, so that the two folded-in edges line up and the raw edges are enclosed. Press well.
Repeat for the other strap.
Sew close to the open edge of each strap to enclose.
Place your bag in front of you, right side out. One strap will be placed on one side of the bag, so that it makes a loop from left to right. For placement – I placed the outer edge of my strap 3 1/2″ in from the side seam. Personally, I wish I would’ve placed it in a little farther – the outer edge about 4 1/2″ from the side seam. Play with placement and see what you like best.
Make sure the other side of the strap is even and the same distance from the other side seam. Pin in place.
Repeat for the second strap on the other side.
Stitch the straps in place at the four spots, 1/2″ from the raw edge.
Again, this is begin done on the right side of the fabric.
Now flip your bag inside out with the straps up.
Fold down the upper edge by 1/2″ and press.
Fold in again towards the wrong side, this time by 2″. This will flip the straps facing downwards towards the inside of the bag.
Pin in place.
Stitch along the entire upper edge, all the way around the bag, close to the folded under edge.
Still working from the wrong side/inside -now flip each strap back up, making sure they are aligned straight, and pin in place.
Stitch each strap in place by sewing a rectangle, with the stitching close to each edge, and then sewing an X through the rectangle.
I know its hard to see because I used matching thread, but this is what it no looks like from the outside.
Repeat 3 more times for the other ends of the straps.
That’s it! The end! You now have a handy dandy tote bag!
Once you’re done, you can add some flair – pins, patches, charms, embroidery, etc! Or you can learn how to dip dye your tote to look really cute and unique with this tutorial.
I hope this was useful and helpful! And if you make one yourself using this tutorial, don’t forget to tag @megannielsenpatterns when sharing on social media so we can see your awesome creations!