Learn how to make a tote bag with a free sewing pattern. This beginner sewing pattern is a great way to carry all your essentials.
I’ve had a cute handmade tote bag that I’ve been using for years. I love it, but it’s starting to get holes in the bottom and the straps are wearing out. It was time for a new tote bag to carry my books to the library or snacks and water to the park.
In the process of make a new tote bag for myself, I designed a simple, easy, and free tot bag sewing pattern to share with you. Don’t miss the video that will walk you through all the steps!
What fabric should I use for a tote bag?
The best fabric to use for a tote bag and especially this tote bag pattern is a durable canvas. Canvas is a step up from quilting cotton in weight and strength, but it still comes in pretty prints and colors.
It is easy to sew unless there are a lot of thick layers, but most sewing machines can tackle this. The best part of this tote bag pattern is that it’s designed to not use any interfacing.
What is a PDF sewing pattern?
A PDF pattern is a sewing pattern designed on the computer and organized so that it can be printed on several letter or A4 size pieces of paper.
I love using PDF sewing patterns because if the pattern gets ruined or if my children or I changed sizes, I can always print it again. It’ll never be destroyed since I have a digital version!
How do you use a PDF sewing pattern?
Open the PDF on a computer and click print. When printing make sure that the scaling is set to 100% or no scaling so that the pattern prints at the correct size.
Once the pattern is printed it can be taped together to get the full size. Then the pattern can be cut for each pattern piece size or individual sizes can be traced so that the pattern can be used again and again. Learn how to use PDF sewing patterns.
Do you love to sew? Try one of these sewing projects:
- Handmade gifts to sew
- Free tote bag patterns and tutorials
- Canvas sewing projects
- Free PDF sewing patterns
- Accessory sewing projects
- Beginner sewing projects
How to Make a Tote Bag with a Free Sewing Pattern
- 1/2 yard canvas fabric
- Free tote bag sewing pattern – get it at the end of the post
- Sewing tools
- Sewing machine
Do you just want the pattern and tutorial as a PDF? Get the pattern and tutorial for just $4. You won’t need to access the internet every time you want to make it. Or get the Pattern Bundle with ALL the PDF tutorials!
Cut out two tote bag pieces and two strap pieces from the canvas fabric.
Place the tote pieces wrong sides together. Sew each side and the bottom with a 1/4 inch seam allowance and backstitch when you start and when you stop.
Trim each seam allowance down to 1/8 inch.
Turn the tote right side in. Roll the seam with your fingers so it’s pulled all the way out, and press the seams flat.
Sew each side and the bottom with a 3/8 inch seam allowance. Backstitch when you start and when you stop. The raw edges of the seam allowance is now enclosed inside the seam.
Turn the tote right side out.
Swivel or rotate the notched sides so that the notched corners become straight edges. (The side seam will line up on top of the bottom seam.)
Sew each corner with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Backstitch when you start and when you stop.
Trim the seam allowance to 1/8 inch.
Turn the tote right side in. Sew each corner with a 3/8 inch seam allowance. Backstitch when you start and when you stop.
Fold the top edge down 1 inch. Fold it down another inch. Pin and press in place.
Sew around the top of the tote 7/8 inch from the top.
Press the straps so the long sides match up with wrong sides together.
Take each long edge and fold it in to meet at the center fold. Press in place.
Fold all three folds so that the long raw edges are enclosed inside and press everything in place.
Sew along each side of the strap 1/8 inch from the edge.
Find the center front and the center back of the top of the tote. Pin each end of a strap 3 inches from the middle. One strap will be pinned to the front, and the other strap will be pinned to the back.
Sew around the edge of the strap with a 1 inch square and an “X”. Backstitch when you start and when you stop. Do this to each strap.
Get the Free Sewing Pattern here!
If you make something using this sewing project, I’d love to see! Please share it on social media with the hashtag #heatherhandmade and tag me!
I believe small sewing moments can create great joy. Find your own “right” way to sew. -Heather