One of the first things I sewed was a tote bag and there are hundreds of tutorials out there for them, but Icombined the features I like best into one of my own. After all, you can’t have enough tote bags can you? This variation has a lining and some interfacing added to give it a little more heft. You could skip the interfacing if you use a heavier fabric like upholstery or drapery fabric.

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 Fat Quarters (18×22 inches) These can be all the same or a combination.
  • 1/2 yard Medium Weight Fusible Interfacing

To begin, we want to make the straps for your bag. Using one of your fat quarters, cut out two strips 4inches wide and 20 inches long. If you want longer or shorter straps, just adjust the length, but be sure to have the same length on both strips.

Go to your ironing board and press the strips in half so the strips are folded up to 2 inches wide. Then bring the edges to the center crease and press again. Take then to your sewing machine and sew 1/4 inch seams along both sides of the strap. You won’t need to sew the ends. Put the straps aside.

Now on to the bag itself, cut out your interfacing into two 18×22 inch rectangles. Sandwich in your exterior fabric, interfacing and interior fabric and square up the pieces so they are even. The order should be the wrong side of exterior fabric facing you, interfacing and then right side of interior fabric facing you. If you end up going smaller than the 18×22, don’t worry about it since this isn’t that exact as long as all of your pieces are the same size.

Following the instructions for your interfacing, fuse the interfacing to the exterior rectangles. Be sure to even out any air pockets or creases. Place your interior fabric on top of your fabric and interfacing with the right side facing you. At your ironing board, press 1 inch fold at the top of your bag, then bring the edge into the crease and press again. Gather up your straps and place them evenly underneath the fold. I placed mine 6 inches from the edge on both sides. Take the bag to the sewing machine and sew up that top fold sewing along the fold on the left side as your guide. The straps should be angled toward the inside of the bag.

Once the top seam is complete, return to the area where the straps are placed and flip the strips to the outside and run a couple of seams forward and back to hold the straps in.

With the bag turned right side out (exterior fabric facing you), sew 1/4 inch seam across the sides and bottom of your bag. Cut out a small piece of the bottom corners to make it easier to turn wrong side out.

Once the bag is turned wrong side out and is flattened and pressed, sew another seam along the sides and back 5/8 inch seam this time. This is called a french seam.

Now for the bottom gusset, turn the bag right side out again and measure out 1 1/4inch from the corner of the bag and mark a line (do this for both corners). Cut along the line and then sew a 1/4 inch seam along the cut edge of each corner.

Turn the bag inside out again and sew a 5/8 seam along the other seam you just made.

Turn the bag right side out again, because you are done and you’ve got stuff to tote.