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Learn How to Make a Bag; A Simple Tote Bag Pattern

This simple tote bag pattern will teach you how to make a bag with a canvas bottom. It’s a great project for someone who is new to sewing or bag making! The canvas bottom on this tote bag pattern makes it extra sturdy and perfect for toting all your stuff!

How to make a bag - a simple tote bag pattern

Please welcome, Amy from Ameroonie Designs. Today she’s teaching you how to make a bag!

Tote bags are always handy to have around. This free pattern for a simple canvas bottom tote bag will help you make sure there are always a few on hand. To use for library trips, music lessons or as gifts.

sewn tote bag on white table

I think these would be especially lovely as a teacher appreciation gift! The canvas on the bottom of the tote bag helps reinforce the bottom and keeps dirt from showing so easily. I recommend choosing a dark color of canvas fabric for this reason. Adding fusible fleece and medium weight interfacing allows the bag to have structure and body giving your tote bag a wonderfully finished feel.

Canvas Bottom Tote Bag Pattern:

Tote Bag Supplies:

2/3 yard exterior fabric
1/2 yard lining fabric
1/6 yard canvas or duck fabric
fusible fleece
medium weight interfacing

fabric pieces for tote bag

Cutting directions:

16 1/2″ X 15″ from lining fabric, cut 2

16 1/2 X 15″ from exterior fabric, cut 2

4″ X 28″ from exterior fabric, cut 2

6″ X 15″ from canvas, cut 2

16″ X 14 1/2″ from fusible fleece, cut 2

3/4″ X 27 1/2″ from fusible fleece (cut a generous 3/4″ wide strip), cut 2

16″ X 14 1/2″ from medium weight interfacing, cut 2

How to Make a Bag, Construction Steps:

Step One: Fuse Interfacing and fleece.

how to make tote bag handles

First, take your exterior fabric and fusible fleece to your ironing board. Follow the package instructions to fuse the fleece to the wrong side of the exterior fabric

Fuse the medium weight interfacing to the wrong side of the lining fabric- again follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Press your 4″ strips in half on the long side. Open up this crease and bring the two outer edges into the creased line. Press.

Open up one side and place your strip of fusible fleece inside the fold. Re-fold the crease and then fold along the original center crease as well.

Fuse the fleece inside the folded straps.

tote bag pieces with canvas sewn

Step Two Bag Assembly:

Take two exterior fabric pieces. Measure up 5 1/2″ from the bottom and line up the canvas with your ruler. Pin in place.

Sew along the bottom of canvas piece using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Press the canvas down over the seam allowance. Square up to exterior fabric.

Top stitch along the top seam of the canvas.

tote bag lining

Step Three: Add Corners

For both Exterior and lining pieces of fabric, mark a 1 1/2″ square on both bottom corners of each piece.

Cut out the 1 1/2″ squares.

Place the two matching pieces (lining together, exterior together) right sides together lining up all sides.

Sew both side seams and bottom seam using a 1/2″ seam allowance- on LINING ONLY leave an opening for turning on the bottom seam.

tote bag pieces sewn on cutting mat

Step Four Boxing Bottom Corners:

box corner pinned on tote bag

Pull the corners of the cut-out square away from each other to make a line.

Line up the bottom seam with the side seam, push them in opposite directions to help the seams nest well. Pin in place.

corner of tote bag sewn

Sew along this edge using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Make sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitching. Repeat for both bottom corners of the lining and exterior. Press your seam allowances on the sides.

outside of tote bag on cutting mat

Add Straps to your tote bag:

Use an edge stitch to sew down both sides of both straps, and turn your bag exterior right side out.

Pull the two side seams out to create a flat line to top.

Measure in 3 1/4″ from each side and line up the edge of your strip with this mark.

Pin strap in place- *I use two pins to keep the strap from shifting as I sew around the bag so they stay straight. Also, make sure your straps aren’t twisted as you pin them in place.

Repeat for the second strap on the other side of the tote exterior.

tote bag outside and lining

Bag Finishing Steps:

Slide your bag exterior inside of your bag lining. Make sure the side seams are going in opposite directions.

top of tote bag pinned

Match up the side seams and line up the tops of the two bag pieces. Pin around the entire top of the bag. Sew around this seam using a 1/2″ seam allowance. *TIP: When I sew over the straps, I like to back stitch at the beginning and ending of the strap to reinforce this seam since it will get a lot of stress, especially if the tote is loaded up with something heavy.

tote bag turned right side out

Pull the exterior of the bag out through the opening left in the bottom of the lining. Turn the lining right side out as well.

Sew the opening in the lining shut using an edge stitch. *you can always sew this opening shut by hand to hide the seam, but I find it’s not really necessary.

Push the lining of the tote bag inside the exterior of the tote bag.

Press the top seam well.

Top stitch around the top of the tote bag.

Give your tote bag one final press and Enjoy!

tote bag on table

Useful and beautiful- you may find yourself making these tote bags often! They would be a great way to use up orphan quilt blocks- just add borders to get them to the proper size for your tote!

More Great Bag Patterns from Amy:

And if you’d like to sew up a zipper pouch to go along with your tote.

Any of these pouches from my Travel Zip Pouch set would go nicely!
 Or a Pleated Ruffle Mini Pouch would be perfect as a small compliment to a gifted tote bag!
Happy Sewing friends!

About the Maker:

Amy Chappell Bio Photo

Hi! My name is Amy Chappell, and I blog over at Ameroonie Designs. I currently live in Wyoming with my husband and six kids. I love being a mom but needed an outlet that would give me something to do that stayed done. Enter sewing and creating. I love the satisfaction of taking fabric and ideas and making something new. I also love that blogging has given me a way to meet new people and find a community of amazing people who love fabric and sewing as much as I do.
Ameroonie Designs

More Fun Bag Making Tutorials & Tips:

15 Must Know Bag Making Tips & Tricks

How to Make a Quilt Block Tote Bag

Oversized Beach Bag Sewing Pattern

How to make a bag - a simple tote bag pattern

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  1. Amy what a wonderful tutorial for a cute tote. I could even see this as a scrap buster if you make the big panels out of some scraps. The bottom looks really sturdy from the duck cloth!

  2. Great tutorial for a tote. I’m planning on trying it this Fall. Is there way to have you consider making this into a video tutorial. For me and, I’m sure, many others it’s best to see the actual making of an item in progress.
    I’ll try to send you a picture once I complete my project.
    Again, great tutorial.

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