I recently shared on Instagram a fabric tote bag I made for my mom. I used up some of my precious, precious Cotton + Steel canvas fabric and I absolutely love how it turned out. I think a few of you did too, since I’ve gotten quite a few requests for my methods and the pattern I used! These tote bags are great to use for groceries, library books, quilt guild meetings, and more. The possibilities are endless, and once you see how easy they are to make, you won’t be able to stop at one. Want to make your own? Here we go!
I’ve made quite a few bags to date and this pattern has yet to fail me: Ginabean Quilts Tote Bag Tutorial
I’ve found that the instructions are fantastic and the finished size of the bag is large enough to hold quite a bit but not overly so (It finishes at approx 11″ high by 18″ wide). In any case, this bag is fantastic! You can use the directions as-is, but I thought I might document how I modified the pattern.
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Using Lightweight Canvas:
- Main Fabric 20″ x 30″ -or- (2) 20″ x 15.5″: I used lightweight canvas instead of duck canvas, because those cute tiger cats were begging to be used! I think this brings the right rigidity to the tote bag. Ideally, you’re using one long piece of fabric, however, if you have a directional fabric (like the cats!) you need to sew two smaller pieces together, or else you’ll have upside-down cats on one side of your bag. Sew (2) 20″ x 15.5″ pieces along the 20″ side with a 1/2″ seam allowance and press seam open. Then fuse to your interfacing.
- Interfacing 20″ x 30″: Because my fabric was lighter than what the pattern recommended, I used fusible fleece to add some structure to the bag. I fused it straight to my main fabric before adding the handles and bottom.
- Tote bottom and handles: I used duck canvas for this. Because of the weight of duck canvas, I omitted the decor bond for the handles (I only used the duck canvas – it made for very sturdy handles, I promise!)
- bag lining: I used quilting cotton here, and it worked great! I don’t add pockets in my bags, but if you wanted to do that, I would sew a pocket to the lining before you sew the sides together.
And there you go! Follow Ginabean’s fantastic instructions and you’ll have a beautiful new bag in no time! Leave any questions below, I’m happy to answer them!