Sewing how-tos: tote bag heaven!

Sewing how tos tote bag heaven

This is the age of the tote bag!

As single use carrier bags are rapidly becoming a thing of the past, more and more people are making sure that they have a bag or two with them before they venture into a shop.

The beauty of the tote bag – and in particular those that you craft yourself – is that you can produce an array or marvellous creations that match your personality, your outfit and accessories, or even your mood!

In short, tote bags can be fun…


The one square tote: an easy tote bag sewing tutorial

Most tote bags are pretty straightforward things to craft – though they can of course vary greatly. We thought  we’d ease you in to tote bag land with a really nice tutorial on the Cucicucicoo blog, courtesy of Lisa.

This one square tote is literally that – it’s made from a 75cm square of fabric. Although it’s simple it’s very versatile – with narrow and deep options, boxed base corners – and the all-important zip pocket for the phone or keys.

And while you’re here, check out the added bonus of Lisa’s wonderful how to sew French seams  tutorial.

Top tip: “… two of my favorite ways to finish off seams for a perfectly clean finish are felled seams and French seams. Both of these techniques enclose the raw fabric edges between layers of fabric so that not only will they not fray, but you can’t even see them!”


Easy (but classy) tote bag tutorial

We mentioned that tote bags can vary – practical at all times and fun. But sometimes, you may be heading off somewhere where you need an accessory that sets the right kind of tone.

You’ll see what we mean when you check out some of the alternatives from Jann on the Newton Custom interiors website. You can go a long way with just black and white (and maybe a hint of beige every now and again).

Top tip: “At the bottom corners, cut a small notch to allow the fabric to go around the corner.  Tip – after these corners were sewn I applied fray check on the notch to give added strength.”


Big zip pocket tote bag

A huge “thank you” to Anne for this really fun and hugely practical variation on a theme – The big zip pocket tote bag how-to.

We adore the bright vintage fabric that she uses for the front panel.

A really good, detailed tutorial – and the end result is amazing!

We love: “I colour blocked some of the canvas on to the top of the bag lining because I don’t like it when my lining peeks out to the front – especially when it’s a high contrast with the outside fabric.”


Origami bag tutorial

And to show once again how much tote bags can vary, we’ve got this splendid example from Alanda on the interesting Alanda Craft blog.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with the origami bag – it’s soft, without any solid form. It’s also know as the “azuma bukuro” apparently – which is a new one on us!

There’s a simple formula for adjusting the size of the bag:-

  • “(width of fabric x 3) = length of fabric
  • then add a half inch to the measurements”

This lesson is so clearly presented and illustrated – and it has the added bonus of a video version at the end – so you get the best of both worlds!

It’s so good because: “This is a great one if you make bags to sell at a market as they are so quick to put together.”


Send us YOUR sewing tips

We’d love to hear from you! We may even publish details and links on our blog. Become part of the Sew & Craft community by emailing your top tips to [email protected]


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