gallery/intro to sewing
Simple Tote Bag

This little bag is the perfect project for a beginning seamstress.  In fact, it's what we make in our Intro to Sewing class!  All you need is a little bit of fabric, thread, and a sewing machine.  I love to use these to carry around my notebooks and day-to-day projects.  As always, if you get stuck or have any questions, please contact us!

You will need:

1/2 yard fabric for body of bag
1/4 yard fabric for straps
Coordinating thread




Cut 2 rectangles 26" x 4" from strap fabric.
Cut 2 rectangles 18" x 15" from bag fabric.
Note: If your fabric has a directional print, make sure it's going the right way!  The print should go up and down with the length measurement.


Fold one strap in half lengthwise and press.
Fold both long edges in to meet the crease that was made at the center and press again.
Finally, fold strap in half lengthwise again and press.  
Repeat for other strap.


Topstitch along both long edges of one strap at 1/8" from the edge.  
Start with the open side first, stopping periodically as you sew to keep the folded edges aligned.  
Then sew the folded side.
Repeat for other strap.


Pin the short end of one strap to one bag piece, right sides together with raw edges aligning.  The center of the strap should be 4 1/2" from the side of the bag piece.  Pin in place.
Pin the other short end of the same strap to the bag piece, being careful not to twist, centering it at 4 1/2" from the side of the bag piece.  Pin in place.
Repeat for other bag piece and strap.
Sew straps on at 1/2" seam allowance.


Place bag pieces right sides together and pin along sides and bottom.
Sew at 1/2" seam allowance.  When you get to the corner, lower your needle into the fabric and pivot.
Press seams to one side.
Finish seams with pinking shears or overcast stitch if desired.


Turn top edge under 1/2" and press.
Turn under again 1" and press.

Bring the straps up away from the bag (as they will be when carrying finished bag).  The straps will come over the 1" folded edge.
Pin in place.
Stitch 1/8" from the lower folded edge.
Turn bag right side out and stitch 1/8" from the top edge.
It's a good idea to sew back and forth over the straps a couple times to reinforce them.


Turn your bag right side out and give it a final press.

You're done!