Saturday, July 2, 2011

Tote Bage Tutorial - With Pockets!

I told you there would be more tote bags in my future! Hopefully, there will be some in yours as well.... Just follow the [long]tutorial.


They're reversible!


I started making these tote bags after making a more simple version over at Skip to my Lou. You will see at the end of the tutorial I toss you back over to her post to finish your bag :-) I reccomend her tutorial for soemthing simple.. but follow mine if you want to go the extra mile and add some handy pockets!

I used decorator remnants for the outside of my bag (the stripes in this tutorial) and regular fabric for the lining and insides of pockets (the red and yellow in this tutorial).

Cut two pieces of fabric on the fold. I chose to turn my fabric pattern for a funkier tote - but this is not necessary. You can use my measurements or change them if you want a smaller/larger bag. However, keep the widths the same and A needs to be shorter than B by a few inches.


Cut out same sized lining piece for both A and B. you can measure it all out again, but I simply lay the fabric over it, pin it down and then cut it out.


Take piece A and lining piece A, unfold them and put them right sides together. Pin the short ends.


Sew each short end using a 5/8in seam allowance.

Press seams. This is the way I do it...



Notice in the picture above that I let piece A outshine the lining piece A by just a tiny bit. This makes it nice and neat so there is no lining flopping out of your bag.

Once both ends are pressed, sew each side with a 1/4 seam allowance.


Lay piece B right side up. Center piece A (lining facing down and outside facing you)... put a couple of pins in to secure piece a in place. Now it's time to measure out your pockets. This is how I laid out mine. The blue lines are where I sewed. I marked them with a washable sewing pen before sewing. Mark your lines, pin and then sew following the arrows.


Time to make and add the pockets to lining piece B (the inside of your bag). Measure out the size of pocket you would like. Mine is 6x8in and I used the outside stripped fabric. Cut out a lining piece for the pocket as well. Place pieces right sides together and sew one long side with a 5/8in seam allowance. press seam with right sides together and sew 1/4 from the edge (much like you did a few steps above but only on one side).


Trim lining if needed. I need to. fold in and iron in sides and bottom of pocket.


Pin to lining piece B. and stitch.


Lets prep that strap! I'm only doing one on this bag, but you could do two if you wanted. I start with a 6.5x24in. Fold it in half long ways and then fold edges into the center. Iron and stitch. You may want to pin yours, but I didn't really need to. Set strap aside when finished.

strap IMG_4778

Take piece AB with all your outer pockets and Lining B fold them over right sides together. Pin and stitch up the sides with a 5/8 seam allowance. I started at the folded end and sewed down to avoid wrinkles.


Now take each piece and fold in the bottom corners (by the fold) it's kind of hard to explain, so I hope you can understand from the picture! This gives the bag a little more structure and bottom.


Mark a line 1.75in from the corners in and sew.

Now this is where I got lazy and stopped taking pictures! I was to excited about heading out to geocache I think ;-) but it's pretty easy.... Head over to Skip to my Lou and start at step 5. She does hers with two straps, I only did one so I placed my strap on each side. Also leave a 4-5in opening becuase you will need more space to flip the bag right side out! Be sure to thank her for the tutorial and getting me (and possibly yourself) for getting hooked!


  1. ...oh, i wish i had a sewing machine!

  2. Wow- that's too complicated for me! But I LOVE your totes- and that they are reversible! Good job!

  3. Can't decide which one I like best! I certainly like both decorator fabrics!!

    Good job getting it all figured out.

  4. @Laura, Get one ;-) they are mighty handy!

    @Jessica Thanks! It sounds/looks complicated but it was actually pretty simple. ;-)

    @Fitzy you know which one I like best. the one with the SWANS!