sew your own tote bag tutorial

today i (finally) have a sewing tutorial for you, woo!
this sew your own tote bag tutorial is a pretty quick project
perfect for any level of seamstress.
its also perfect for getting rid of an old pair of pants you never wear anymore...
now let's dust off that sewing machine and get stitching!


- 2 pieces of fairly heavy duty fabric for your front and back.
i used an old pair of khaki pants (if you look close you can see a seam down the front piece)
- 2 long skinny pieces for the handles.
- 1 (or 2 pieces sewn together) of fun lining fabric.
cut it the length of the front + back width, and a couple inches wide.

- you will also need your sewing machine, pins, and thread (pick a cute color, it will show!)

1. if you want to sew any decoration to the front of the bag, now is the time to do it.
i added a strip of the lining fabric where the pants seam was to hide it, and add a little spice.

2. with front sides facing each other,
sew up three sides of your front & back pieces to make the bag, leaving the top open.

3. this next step might seem tricky at first,
but take your time and you'll feel really cool when you get it!

pinch out the bottom corners
so you line up the side seam with the bottom seam and create a little triangle.
stitch a straight line about an inch from the corner, for both bottom corners.
now you've just made a quick little bottom for your bag!

4. turn it right side out and admire your handiwork!

5. now for the "lining"!
make sure your lining piece is sewn into a tube,
then pin it to the top of the bag, front sides facing.
stitch along the top edge.

6. flip the lining inside the bag, ironing down the seam you just made nice and pretty,
then turn the whole bag inside out so the lining is facing out.
fold under the bottom raw edge of the lining piece and pin it down to the inside of the bag.
stitch along the pinned edge, fairly close to the fold trying to keep a very straight line
(this stitching line will show on the front side of the bag so be careful!)
iron everything one last time, and flip the bag back right side out!

7. sew the handles into tubes,
then turn them right sides out and iron them with the crease down the center.
fold the raw edges into the tube,
pin them to the bag and stitch them down!

now look at that, you just made your very own tote bag!
i added a couple fabric covered buttons, and now i'm ready to go on all kinds of adventures.
i would absolutely love to see your projects, so be sure and send me a picture when you finish!
good luck sewing :]

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  1. Really nice. I like the strip of lining around the inside at the top. It adds a nice touch.

  2. Totally adding this to my list of weekend projects! I think the corners/bottom will be a little tricky for my novice skills but I'm totally going to try! :)

  3. VERY cute! I love the little pins.

  4. I'm with Katherine. I'm definitely giving this a go on the weekend. I just got my first sewing machine, so I'm hoping I can handle this as my first project.

    Thanks for posting!


  5. LOVE this! Just posted it on Pinterest if you don't mind!

  6. This is wonderful! Love the little bit of floral!

  7. This is from your blog!? I saw this tutorial posted in and thought it was cute. I love the stripe down the side, but not as much as I love the fabric. Floral fabric makes my heart stop.
    The end.

  8. What a cool tutorial! I swear I'm gonna make it!!

  9. I love it! I used yours for inspiration but unfortunately couldn't remember how to get back to it once I went to do it so I did vary a bit. This was my very first sewing project so even though not perfect, I'm pretty proud of it :)

    Glad I found you again! Check out my blog posts on not only my attempt but my cousin's too. We tried ;) Let me know what you think!

  10. This is truly a lovely tote - thank you so much for sharing!


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