Sewing ideas


Rate this project

To vote, simply click on a star.


The project

5 ratings

The sewing instructions

4 ratings







  • 50 cm of heavy printed fabric
  • 40 cm of plain fabric (such as denim)
  • 40 cm of lining or canvas
  • 4 x small snap hooks
  • 4 x metal eyelets (6 mm diameter)
  • 1.2 meters of cotton piping
  • 20 cm of iron-on interfacing (medium weight)
  • Thread, ruler, pencil, scissors and pins


Prepare the patterns

  1. Make a same size copy of each pattern, making sure to include the guide marks
    - Pattern A - used 5 times (for the strips of fabric that decorate the front of your bag)
    Pattern B - used 2 times (for each of the panels located on either side of the decorative strips on the
      front of the bag)
    Pattern C - used 3 times (once for the back panel of the bag, the other two for the lining)
    Pattern D - used 6 times (twice for the fabric on the outside of the bag, twice for the iron-on interfacing,
      and twice for the lining)
    Pattern E - used 2 times (for the bag's straps)
  2. Cut out the patterns in paper and pin them to the appropriate fabrics (since some patterns are used several times, make sure you choose a robust, heavy grade of paper).
  3. Carefully cut out all pieces of fabric. Do not allow an extra margin for seams - all pieces are sewn together leaving a 1 cm margin, which has already been allowed for).

Sew the front of the bag:

  1. Begin by sewing together lengthwise the five 8 cm x 32 cm strips of fabric (Pattern A), alternating strips of printed fabric with strips of plain fabric.
  2. Open out all seams, and iron down flat.
  3. Sew the rounded end pieces (Pattern B) onto each side, and, again, open out all seams and iron down flat.
  4. Oversew each strip 1 mm from the edge using a decorative thread (not essential, but helps hold the seams in a flat, open position).

Attach the piping and the back panel of the bag:

  1. Take this front panel (ie, Patterns A+B assembled), and, right side up, sew the piping, working from the upper right-hand corner to the upper left-hand corner. Careful; the piping itself must be attached inside out, since it will be visible on the outside of the bag.
  2. Next sew the back panel of the bag (Pattern C) to the front panel (Patterns A+B assembled), right side up to right side up. To sew your piping snugly, use the machine's piping foot (this foot allows you to sew very close to the piping without it buckling). The bottom of your bag is now finished.

Sew the lining:

  1. In the same way, sew together the two parts of the lining (Pattern C), but without piping. Leave a 10 cm opening at the bottom (this small opening will allow you to turn your bag right side out when it's finished).

Sew the top of the bag:

  1. Iron together the two top pieces of the bag (Pattern D - these pieces will be visible on the outside of the bag).
  2. Sew the lining to the fabric (Pattern D).
  3. Notch the rounded points on top and trim off any excess fabric to allow you to easily turn your work right-side out.
  4. Iron down your work, paying special attention to the rounded points. Oversew 2 mm from the edge, and, if you like, again at 4 mm from the edge.
  5. Fix the eyelets to the top of each rounded point (two on each piece).

Sew the top to the bottom of the bag:

  1. Place the top of the bag against the bottom (right side up against right side up) making sure you've aligned them carefully. Using the guide marks, create two flat pleats 6 mm apart. Pin the two pieces together along their entire length.
  2. Repeat the same operation on the other side. Sew into place leaving a 1 cm seam on each side.

Fit the lining:

  1. Fold the upper part of the bag outwards and pass the entire bag into the lining.
  2. As in the previous step, pay careful attention to the alignment and the guide marks for the flat pleats.
  3. Pin right around the lining, and sew 1 cm from the edge.
  4. Turn the bag inside out, using the 10 cm opening you left in the bottom of the lining.
  5. Sew up this opening by hand or by machine, 1 mm from the edge.
  6. Iron your tote bag flat.

Straps and snap hooks:

  1. Taking the strip of fabric 5 cm wide (Pattern E), prepare the shoulder straps. Choose whatever length best suits you. To sew the straps, you can choose between two methods:
    - Create each strap by simply sewing a seam, then turning inside out and ironing flat
    - Create each strap by folding over the fabric and oversewing
  2. At each end of the strip, place a snap hook (choose a straight stitch, sewing back and forth several times to ensure a strong seam, or choose a very fine zigzag stitch to create the look of satin stitch).
  3. Attach the straps to your bag.