Friday, 13 April 2012

Tutorial: Simple Tote Bag

2 pieces of fabric 15” (38cm) x 19” (48cm) for main bag
2 pieces of fabric 3.5” (9cm) x 27” (68cm) for straps
Sewing machine
Tape measure
Needle and thread

1. Take the two rectangle pieces of fabric and place them right sides together and stitch around the three sides taking a ¾” (1.5cm) seam allowance and leaving the top edges un-sewn. Zig zag the outside edges together or pinking shear, to neaten them and then turn rights side out and press.

2. Fold over and press 1 inch (2.5cm) from the top edge and then another 1 inch (2.5cm) to make a double hem along the top edges. Then pin in place.

3. Next step is to make the handles, by taking the long strips and fold them in half lengthways with the right sides together and press. Then stitch the long edges together with a 3/8 inch (1cm) seam allowance. Turn the straps the right side out by attaching a safety pin to one end on the single fabric and push it through until it comes out the other end and is then turned the right sides out. Now press the straps flat with the seam on the centre of the reverse and topstitch along both long sides of the straps for a neat finish and to stop them twisting.

4. Using pins mark the handle positions on the bag’s top hem, placing them 3” (7.5cm) in from the side seams. Then take the straps and pin them in place tucking them under the top hem of the bag. Once pinned in place double check that the straps are not twisted and machine stitch the hem around the top and bottom edges a foot width away from the edge, therefore reinforcing the handles at the same time.

5. For some more fun add ric rak, decorative trim, labels or buttons onto the anchor points of the bag.

We would love to see any bags that you make. Email us a picture or add to our Facebook page.


  1. Hello O&SC
    Its lovely to see a new post on your blog - and a its great beginners tutorial too.
    I loved visiting your shop and taking part in the overlocker tutorial day.
    I was just going to update my blog and thought I would hop over here to grab your Button to display but I can't find one on your blog.

    1. Thank you for our first ever comment! That is so exciting.

      We are working on the blog and our website at the moment. I will get to designing a badge soon and let you know when I have it done. I will also add a link to your blog from our site, I had a quick look today and you have so many wonderful projects I am very jealous.

      Kelly (the lady on the sofa with the computer when you were using your overlocker!)


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