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How to Sew a Market Tote – Step-by-Step Directions & 3 Sizes! Full Guide of 2024

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how to sew a market toteReady to sew your own market tote? With a few simple materials and this step-by-step guide, you’ll be able to create a chic and roomy bag perfect for carrying all of your grocery finds.

This tutorial will provide the directions necessary in order to make three sizes of the market totes. We’ll cover supplies needed, finished size tips, as well as additional advice on interfacing, topstitching, or understitching when creating the bags.

Key Takeaways

  • Three sizes of market totes can be made.
  • Supplies needed: fabric, interfacing, scissors, tape measure, iron, sewing machine, thread.
  • Tips for cutting pieces, prepping interfacing, assembling straps, and attaching pockets and main straps.
  • Consider adding a magnetic closure for extra security and a professional look.

How to Sew a Market Tote

how to sew a market tote 1
Creating a market tote is an easy and rewarding DIY project. To get started, you’ll need fabric, interfacing, scissors, a tape measure, an iron, a sewing machine, and thread. Once complete, you’ll have a chic bag for carrying items to the farmers market with customizable colors or patterns, plus professional-looking results, including tips such as topstitching and magnetic closure placement.

Supplies Needed

You’ll need a handful of supplies to bring your handmade bag vision to life, from fabric and interfacing for structure and style, to scissors and thread that will pull everything together.

To start off, you should have a list of the supplies needed: 100% cotton Better Homes & Gardens fabric from Walmart, iron-on interfacing, scissors or rotary cutter with mat set up.

Depending on the size you’re going for – 11×11 inches at the bottom, 13 inches tall, 22×22 inch opening at the top – you may need different amounts of material as well as more or less fusing depending on your choice in fabrics.

Additionally, take into consideration any optional features like magnetic closure placements before getting started. It’s always best to plan ahead! Topstitching can be tricky, but if done properly, it gives an extra professional look we all love.

Finally, create something unique by playing around with different prints and solids while having fun making this market-worthy bag everyone will envy!

Finished Market Bag Tips

Once your market tote is complete, use it as the perfect accessory for every outing! Choose from a variety of fabrics and bag shapes to create your own unique style. Don’t forget about the important step of adding interfacing to provide structure and stability.

Keep in mind that topstitching can be tricky, but with some practice, you’ll get it right. If desired, adding magnetic closures can give your tote an extra professional look – just make sure they are securely placed before attaching them permanently.

When sewing, use thread colors that blend well with your fabric choices, and remember that not all fabrics require interfacing or boxing at corners for construction.

Step-by-Step Directions

Step-by-Step Directions
Ready to make your own market tote? Let’s get started with the steps! First, you’ll need to cut out all of the pieces according to the measurements provided. Next, prepare and attach interfacing for each piece. Then assemble straps by folding, pressing, and topstitching fabric as directed in step three.

Step four will guide you through assembling pockets before attaching main straps at the top edge of print bag pieces in step five.

Step 1: Cut Pieces

Begin by measuring and cutting fabric pieces according to dimensions, including seam allowance. With this DIY project, you can design a stylish bag without corner boxing or complicated techniques and achieve professional results! Familiarize yourself with sewing basics, interfacing techniques, attaching bag handles, and selecting the right fabrics for your tote design.

Step 2: Prep Interfacing

Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of all body and lining pieces for a strong, professional finish. Choose an appropriate type based on your fabric choice, considering pattern layout and closure options.

Step 3: Assemble Straps

Start customizing your tote by assembling the straps. Choose from different strap types, such as handles or shoulder straps, and select a fabric that best suits your design needs. Don’t forget about seam allowances when making pocket placements! When creating handle designs, consider adding an extra touch with decorative trims for added flair! With careful measurements and attention to detail, you can create a professional-looking market tote in no time.

Step 4: Assemble Pockets

Add pockets to your market tote by folding, stitching, and turning the fabric right side out. Pay attention to pocket placement, use the correct fabric pieces for interfacing tips, and practice a topstitching technique.

Include an optional magnetic closure if desired! Make sure each step is completed precisely; this will ensure you have a professional-looking bag when finished.

Step 5: Attach Main Straps

Attaching the main straps to the top edge of your bag pieces is a crucial step in ensuring a strong and sturdy market tote. Ensure accurate placement with tips from professionals, choose fabric that works well for interfacing, use ¼-inch seam allowances where needed, consider handle options such as customizing colors and patterns as desired, and explore closure options including an optional magnetic one.

Finished Size of the Market Bag/Basket – 3 Sizes!

Finished Size of the Market Bag/Basket - 3 Sizes!
Once you’ve completed the steps outlined above, your market tote will be ready in three different sizes – 11×11 inches at the bottom, 13 inches tall, and 22×22 inches opening at the top.

You can customize it with all kinds of fabric choices and colors that match your style.

To achieve a professional finish on each piece, use interfacing for extra stiffness when ironing. This is especially important if using heavier fabrics such as denim or canvas since they require more support than lightweight materials like cotton or linen.

For best results, don’t forget to add ¼ inch seam allowances before starting any construction project! Not only does it give enough room for error, but it also adds structure so everything fits together perfectly without puckering or stretching out later on down the line once it’s finished being used!

And finally, utilizing tips from experienced sewers about how they place their magnetic closures can help take your bag up a notch too – making an already stylish accessory even more practical and functional!

Supplies for Sewing the Tote Bag

Supplies for Sewing the Tote Bag
To make this chic and functional tote, you’ll need fabric, interfacing, scissors, a tape measure for precision cutting of the pieces, an iron to fuse the interfacing before assembly begins – plus a sewing machine and coordinating thread.

You have plenty of options when it comes to selecting your chosen fabric type; from lightweight cottons or linens through heavyweight denims or canvas.

Assembling the straps is easy enough; simply fold over one long edge twice then press in place before top-stitching securely closed.

Attaching these elements onto either lining or body pieces should be done in accordance with instructions provided as sizes vary depending on how many bags are being made at once (up to three).

Finally, there’s magnetic closure placement if desired which adds even more practicality but isn’t essential by any means. With such versatility across bag size choices (from 11×11 inches up to 22×22 inches), multiple fabric prints/solids available plus optional closures – why not share photos of your completed market totes online afterwards? There’s no better way than Instagramming images that show off just how professional-looking each finished piece is.

How to Make a Tote Bag – Tutorial

How to Make a Tote Bag - Tutorial
Are you ready to sew a market tote? The first step is to get the free bag pattern. Then, cut out your fabric pieces according to the measurements provided in the pattern. Fuse interfacing onto all main body and lining pieces for added stability before moving on.

Next, construct two straps from folded fabric with top-stitching for reinforcement. These will be used as handles later on! After that’s done, make the pocket by stitching three sides, then turn it right side out.

Attach this inside or outside of either bag piece based on the instructions given within your pattern file.

Assembling everything together comes next, followed by turning right side out and pressing flat once complete!

Step 1 – Get the FREE Market Bag Pattern

Get ready to craft your own stylish market tote with the FREE pattern! Minimal supplies and only two hours are needed for a bag that can transport up to 20 lbs. Customize colors, learn sewing basics, get interfacing tips, and experiment with fabric prints – plus add an optional magnetic closure.

Step 2 – Cut the Fabric Pieces

Cut your fabric according to the pattern, layering it atop interfacing for added strength and structure. Choose fabrics that suit your style, taking care with correct pattern placement. Consider bag structure when selecting the sizing of each piece; use an iron and interfacing technique to ensure a professional-looking result.

Step 3 – Fuse Interfacing to Main Pieces

Fuse interfacing to the wrong side of all body and lining pieces for extra strength and structure. Choose fabrics that suit your style, taking into account pattern placement. Use an iron with different types of interfacing for a professional look.

Don’t forget seam allowances when making bag handles, and consider how textures can add detail.

Step 4 – Make Tote Handles

Construct your bag handles with easy-to-follow steps. Consider the tote shape, handle placement, fabric choice, and stitching techniques. Cut interfacing for added strength and explore closure options like magnetic clasps or buttons.

Sew two straps together securely using a ¼-inch seam allowance; attach them near the top of your main pieces with careful precision.

Step 6 – Make the Pocket

Add pockets to your project for extra storage and organization. Cut pocket pieces from fabric, fusing interfacing as needed; position them on the main body or lining pieces according to your design. Stitch them in place, and consider top-stitching if desired. Also, consider the placement of magnetic closures.

Get creative with your fabric choice! Follow tips for cutting and interfacing accurately – skillful sewing yields a professional finish.

Step 7 – Attach Pocket to the Lining

Attaching pockets to the lining of your project will provide you with extra storage and organization. Follow interfacing tips for accuracy, get creative with fabric prints, and add a magnetic closure for a stylish look that will last.

Step 8 – Assemble the Tote

Now, carefully assemble the tote by connecting the lining and body pieces together. Use interfacing tips for accuracy when stitching fabric prints onto your bag. Add an optional closure for extra security and a stylish look that will last.

Step 9 – Turn Right Side Out and Press

Once you’ve put the pieces together, turn your creation right side out and press it to perfection – a stitch in time saves nine! To achieve maximum bag durability and fabric choice with hemming techniques, shape variations, and thread types – finesse each step for an impeccable finish.

Visualize patterns of small stitches creating intricate designs as you craft your unique piece.

Additional Sewing Tips

Additional Sewing Tips
To give your market tote a polished finish, consider topstitching the straps and pockets for a professional touch.

  • Consider adding magnetic closures for extra security. These can be placed on either side of the main opening or inside pocket flaps as desired.
  • Personalize your design with different fabric prints and colors! Have fun mixing solids with patterns to create an eye-catching look that’s one-of-a-kind.
  • Interfacing techniques are essential for giving structure and stability to the finished product – make sure you use interfacing on all pieces according to instructions given within the pattern file before starting the construction process!
  • Get creative when making handles by using contrasting fabrics or thicker webbing straps instead of standard cording – this added detail will really elevate the overall look of your project!

From deciding which printable copy is best suited for what size bag, through measuring ¼ inch seam allowances accurately, up until learning how many supplies need gathering beforehand; following these steps precisely will ensure successful completion leading to impressive results worthy of being shared online afterwards via Instagram hashtag challenge invite #maketotechallenge2020!

How to Interface the Tote Bag for More Stability

How to Interface the Tote Bag for More Stability
You’ll want to fuse interfacing to the wrong side of all body and lining pieces for extra stability, giving your market tote a sturdy feel.

There are several options when it comes to choosing an interfacing that will work well with different fabric types:

  • Fusible knit: A lightweight option that is easy to sew and provides a softer finish.
  • Pellon 808 Craft Fuse or 987F Fusible Ultra Firm Stabilizer: These medium weight choices provide more structure while still allowing flexibility.
  • Peltex 72F Ultra Firm Stabilizer or Timtex 59: These heavier stabilizers are ideal for projects like this one where you need support but don’t want your bag feeling stiff and uncomfortable in the end!

Don’t forget about seam allowances – ¼ inch adds up quickly on larger items so it’s important not only to measure accurately but also to mark these measurements clearly as you go along.

Finally, choose thread colors carefully – coordinating hues can add subtle details whereas contrasting shades make bold statements! With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to create an impressive DIY market tote with professional results every time!

Topstitching or Understitching?

Topstitching or Understitching?
Now that you’ve fused your interfacing and taken care of seam allowances, it’s time to discuss topstitching or understitching.

Topstitching is a decorative stitch sewn on the outside of the bag, while understitching involves stitching one fabric layer to another along seam lines in order to keep two layers together without them shifting around.

Both are important for creating a professional-looking finish! When deciding between top or understitching, it comes down to personal preference, but there are some factors that can help make this decision easier.

Tension adjustments should be made depending on which type of stitch you choose. Fabric choice matters as well since certain fabrics may require different needle types. Finally, thread types will have an influence too. Lighter threads work better with top stitches, whereas heavier ones hold up better when used in an overall design like quilting.

For those who want their market totes looking polished, both techniques can be utilized by adjusting tension settings appropriately and choosing correct fabrics for specific projects. Use thicker materials if going with heavy-duty threads/needles such as denim or canvas, while opting for lightweight options like cotton muslins if using delicate fibers/threads instead.

Additionally, having accurate measurements (including ¼ inch seams) allows each piece to fit together perfectly, so don’t forget about these details either! Lastly, remember that shorter stitch lengths tend to produce stronger seams than longer ones do, so experiment until satisfied with results before moving onto the next step.

Want to Add Magnetic Closure?

Want to Add Magnetic Closure?
If you want to take your market tote up a notch, consider adding a magnetic closure for an extra touch of sophistication. While there are several types of closures available, magnetic ones create a perfect seal and give the bag that professional look.

Fabric selection will also contribute heavily towards achieving desired results. Heavier materials like denim or canvas can stand up better against wear and tear, while more delicate fabrics such as cotton muslin may be prone to ripping if not handled properly.

Depending on which type of fabric you choose, adjust tension settings accordingly so stitches hold firmly in place without becoming loose over time.

Different styles call for different techniques too. For instance, quilting requires thicker threads than topstitching does, so pick thread types wisely depending on the project at hand! No matter what style or technique chosen, however, taking one’s time with each step is essential since precision pays off when making totes that look polished from all angles!

When finished with the assembly process, double-check your work carefully by inspecting pockets and straps closely before attaching closure pieces together. Remember, there’s no turning back once they’ve been sewn onto the fabric surface permanently! Whether opting for simple buttonholes or fancy additions like rhinestones, ribbons, etc.

Ensure placement looks aesthetically pleasing. Otherwise, the entire design won’t come together harmoniously despite the best efforts put forth during the construction phase.

Share your creations online afterwards. Others would love seeing how creative minds apply their own personal touches into everyday items like market totes made from scratch using sewing skills mastered through practice over years gone past!

Want a Printable Copy of the Whole Tutorial?

Want a Printable Copy of the Whole Tutorial?
Would you like to have a printable copy of the full tutorial for creating this stylish market tote? This comprehensive guide includes all the information needed from fabric selection and interfacing tips, sewing techniques, placement ideas for magnetic closure pieces, and much more.

With it at hand, you can easily recreate this chic bag with minimal effort!

  • All instructions in one place – no need to search through endless webpages or worry about missing any steps.
  • Never forget specific measurements again – all measurements will be readily available whenever they’re needed.
  • Get creative – experiment with different fabric prints and even add personal touches such as rhinestones or ribbons!

The detailed instructions provided in the tutorial make putting together each piece easier than ever before, whether novice sewers embarking on their first project or experienced ones looking for new challenges.

Finally, sharing your creation online afterwards is made simpler since everyone who admires your work now has access to exactly how it was made down to every last detail if desired – making sure that others get inspired too just as quickly as possible!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What type of fabric is best for making a market tote?

For a market tote, 100% cotton Better Homes & Gardens fabric from Walmart is ideal. It’s customizable and handmade with an oversized interior pocket for fresh produce, bread, and wine. It also has an exterior strap for holding a bouquet and allowing excess water to drip outside the bag.

How long does it take to sew a market tote?

Sewing a market tote should take approximately two hours. Constructed from cotton fabric and interfacing, with pockets for storage, it’ll become your new favorite weekend accessory! Step-by-step instructions make the process easy while offering plenty of creative potential – customize with prints or solids to match your style.

What type of thread should I use when sewing a tote?

For best results, use a strong polyester thread when sewing your tote. It’s durable enough to withstand wear and tear, plus it won’t stretch or break easily.

Are there any special techniques for topstitching a market tote?

Yes! To ensure a professional-looking finish to your market tote, take the time to iron your fabric and use topstitching around strap attachments. Use matching thread for an invisible effect or contrasting colors for a more decorative look.

Is it possible to make the market tote bag in different sizes?

Yes! The pattern for the market tote is available in three sizes – small, medium, and large.


You now have all the skills and knowledge you need to make your very own market tote. With this bag, you can elevate your shopping experience – from the farmers market to the picnic, you can easily carry your fresh produce, bread, and wine.

You will be the envy of all the other shoppers when they see you confidently walking around with your handmade, customizable bag.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.