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How to Sew a Tote Bag Full Guide of 2023

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When it comes to bags, there are a wide variety of types – but nothing beats the simplicity of a tote bag. We defined a tote bag as a large bag with parallel handlesmaking them a very versatile design..

Tote bags can be simple, to niche, even to designer! This design is also very popular as an eco-friendly shopping bag solution, reducing the use of plastic. Besides being eco-friendly, they are also cute!

how to make a tote bag

Besides all this, what’s the best thing about carrier bags? They are so easy to make. Making your carrier bags makes them even more environmentally friendly.

As a plus, it can make a DIY tote bag from the wildest designs so you have one for every occasion!

How do you make a tote bag? In this article, we’ll discuss the many ways you can make a tote bag – from flat bottom bags to zippered tote bags and lined bags. Let’s dive in!

Which fabric to use

Which fabric to use when making a tote bag? Canvas is a classic tote bag, but you may have to work with stronger needles.

Of course you can always choose a thinner material and use a lining to make your bag more sturdy. You can also add interfacing to add texture to your bag.

Feel free to get creative when selecting your fabric, but keep in mind how much weight it can hold.

How to make a tote bag

There are many ways to make a tote bag.

The following tutorials on how to make a tote bag focus on one aspect, but you can easily mix and match these patterns to create the perfect design for you!

How to Make a Flat Bottom Tote Bag

The tote bag with bottom is the pattern for all sewers. It’s a proven design, and its super versatile too!

This pattern is an excellent way to master sewing bags, so it’s perfect for beginners and beginners. learn how to make a tote bag with lining.

While it is easy to make, it is very strong, so you won’t have a problem taking it for a walk or a day of shopping.

how to make a tote bag with lining


  • Bottom Fabric, 1/3 yard.
  • Top fabric, ½ yard.
  • Inner fabric, ½ yard.
  • Scissors.
  • Wire.
  • Sewing machine.


  1. Let’s start cutting our fabric. Cut two 17-by-8-inch pieces from your bottom fabric. From the top fabric, cut two 17-by-12-inch pieces. For the tires, cut out two 31-by-10-inch pieces.
  2. Now take a top fabric and a bottom fabric and place them right sides together. Sew an edge.
  3. Cut out two pieces of inner fabric according to the size of this new piece.

Sew both inner pieces together around the bottom and sides, right sides together.

  1. Now grab the bottom corner of the bag and turn it so that the material forms a triangle. Then sew a seam about an inch from the point. Then cut the triangle. Do the same for all angles.
  2. Set these aside while we make our tires. Take the pieces of fabric and fold them in half lengthwise, right sides together. Sew it closed, then turn right side out.
  3. Now turn your inner fabric right side out. Put the inner bag in the outer bag and slide the straps between the two. Pin everything in place.
  4. Sew around the top of the bag, leaving a 10 cm opening. Turn the bag inside out through this opening.
  5. Tuck in the inner bag and iron the complete piece. Stitch around the top of the bag to close the opening.
  6. And congratulations! You have your new tote bag!

This video show an example of how to make a tote bag.

How to Make a Quilted Tote Bag

What is a great way to add pizza to your bag, while using extra scraps of fabric? Why, a padded tote bag, of course!

If you’re wondering how to make one of those adorable quilted tote bag patterns, you’re in for a treat.

Quilts can be time consuming. consume, but they are not as difficult to make as you might think. What this project lacks in speed it makes up for with a solid design. A plus: these bags are beautiful to look at!

Whether you have experience with quilting or this is your first project, you can do it in an afternoon. Let’s dive in!


  • 3 quarters of fabric with distinct patterns.
  • Lining fabric, at least 40 inches by 25 inches.
  • Wire.
  • Sewing machine.
  • Scissors.
  • Tape measure.
  • Pins.


free tote bag patterns

  1. Start cutting the quarters of your fabric. If you can, try to match the colors of your quarters so that they go well together. Try not to have too many patterns that are too full, and try to vary the colors in each pattern. You will need to cut two-inch squares on each side. You will need 27 squares, 9 squares of each fabric pattern.
  2. Once you have prepared the squares, the next step is to sew them together. You will need two sets of 9 squares, three rows of three columns. For the sides you will need a row of three squares, one for each side. We start with the front of the bag. First you need to sew a row of three squares with another row. Then connect them to the third row. Do the same for the back of the bag.
  3. Next prepare the first side piece by attaching three squares in a row. Make two, one for each side.
  4. When I did you making your fabric pieces, flatten them to prepare them for the next step.
  5. Now it is time to attach the lining fabric. Place your lining fabric behind your quilt pieces and measure how much to cut. Try to make your measurements as accurate as possible. Don’t forget to keep a ½ inch swam around all sides of the fabric lining.
  6. This tutorial uses a special type of liner that is specially made for quilting projects. This liner is fusible to interface with a grid line, so you can easily align and accurately cut your quilting squares. While it can save you a lot of time and effort, this liner is optional and you can achieve the same results with any liner. If not using fusible interfacing, pin the right sides of the quilt front piece and lining together and sew the entire piece, leaving a gap so you can turn the fabric inside out later.

Do the same with the back, sides and bottom.

  1. Now take the front piece and turn it inside out. Fold the raw edges of the quilt and batting together about an inch from the edge. Then sew a straight stitch over the edge, keeping a seam ½ inch from the edge. Do the same with the other pieces of fabric.
  2. Now it is time to assemble the bag. Take the front piece and pin a side piece to it, right sides together. Sew as close to the edge as possible, leaving a seam of about 1/4 inch.
  3. Then sew on the other side, followed by the bottom. The back piece should , starting from one of the side pieces, and then you can work your way through the entire piece.
  4. After mounting, turn bag inside, out
  5. Add the strap by draping a tape measure over your shoulder. Determine your desired width and double this number. Fold your bands in half, sew them and turn them inside out. Iron this and sew them on your bag.
  6. Voila! You have your padded tote!

How to make a zipper tote bag

For those who want a safer tote bag, this pattern has you covered. Zippers are an impressive addition to any tote bag and keep all your belongings safe and tidy.

Zippers can daunt to beginners, but with a little practice you can sew them with no problem! Just take it easy and double check your measurements; an uneven row of stitches can cause the zipper to closing fails.

free tote bag patterns


  • 1 ¼ yards of fabric, 60 inches wide.
  • 1 yard of lining fabric.
  • 1 22-inch purse zipper.
  • 60 inch webbing, 1 to 2 inches wide, for the straps.
  • Interfacing (optional).


  1. Start cutting out the pieces you need. Cut out two pieces of each size: 60 x 21 inches for the front and back of the bag, 3 x 24 inches for the zipper, and 6 x 32 ½ inches for the sides and bottom.
  2. For the lining, cut two pieces of fabric of each size: 3 x 60 cm for the zipper, 18 x 24 inches for the front and back and 15 x 30 ½ inches for the sides and bottom.
  3. We are going to sew the zipper section. First, place the zipper right side down on the 24-inch edge of the 3 x 24-inch. Sew the zipper to the fabric with a ¼ inch seam allowance; do the same for the other 3×24 inch fabric.
  4. Add the lining by placing the zipper between the outer and lining fabric. Sew with a ¼ inch seam, and do the same for the other piece of fabric.
  5. Press the zipper tape and layers of fabric away from the zipper. Top stitch the edge of the pressed brim to hold it in place and baste the edges together.
  6. Set this piece aside and take a set of the 15cm x 32cm. pieces. Sew them wrong sides together with a ½ seam. Finish the seam and Top stitch the seam up to the body of the fabric.
  7. Right sides together, match the bottom seems to the center of the bottom. Pin it in place. Cut the pieces at the corners and align the edges against the top edge; pin it.
  8. Attach the bottom and side pieces at the front and back with a ½ seam allowance. Do the same for the other piece.
  9. Now align the seams of the top piece with the corners of the zipper piece. Sew them together with a half seam allowance. If you need to turn corners, cut corners to create space.
  10. Now it is time to add the bag liner. Assemble the liner the same way you attached the bottom on the front and back. This has the same shape as your bag. Place the lining inside the bag. Wrong sides together. Match the seams and pin to hold in place. Then baste the top edges of the two fabrics together.
  11. Now it’s time to confirm the ties! Measure 5 inches from the side seams on the front and back of the bag. Pin and sew the bands in place with a half seam allowance. Sew it several times to strengthen the ties.
  12. Now open the zipper. Pull the bag out through this opening. Line up the seams and reattach the top fabric.
  13. Fold the right side out and fold the top of the bag against the seam. Press the fabric so that the seam line becomes the top edge of the bag. Top stitch the top edge with a ½ inch seam allowance.

Other cartridges

There are many more carrier bag cartridges. For example, try this reversible tote bag from Skip to My Lou?

If you’re wondering how many other ways you can make a tote bag, check out this list from DIY n Crafts for more free tote bag patterns.


Tote bags are versatile; once you’ve mastered these basic patterns, you can easily create your own! The cute, eco-friendly bags are significant projects for beginners. Just collect your dust and get started!

What are your favorite free tote bag patterns?

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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.