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The only Bag Sewing Patterns You’ll Ever Need: Part 2 of 2

Yes, you can get a tote bag for 99¢ at just about any retail outlet, but why do people want to know how to make their own tote bag? Because it’s customized. In honor of National Sewing Month, let’s embrace the power that sewing gives us: customization.

Below is a free sewing pattern tutorial for a simple tote bag, yet your ability to make it personalized to your taste or occasion makes it truly unique.

The tote bag that I’m demonstrating with was made as a gift for a very darling one-year-old boy whose parents really appreciate originality and handcrafted quality. Can it get any better than that?

Step 1: Cutting your fabric. This is the most challenging part (at least for me) because it involves numbers and calculations. Take a look at the photo below. This is what every tote bag pattern will look like as a general shape; it’s just the dimensions that will fluctuate.

reversible tote sewing pattern – top fabric stripes are for the handles

To determine your pattern dimensions see photo above:
Height of the bag = H
Width of bag = W
Depth of bag = D
This dimension formula is especially helpful if you are making fabric liners for a storage basket. Your width would be = to 1/2 the sum of all your sides + seam allowance. I say 1/2 because you have two pieces of fabric that will come together to make the total sum of the sides.

You will need 2 pieces of both fabrics (the inside and outside).

Step 2: Starting with one fabric print, sew together sides and the bottom, leaving the square indents open. Repeat with the second print.

Step 3: Pinch and sew the bottom corners. Open up the hole that is the square cut out, pinching it at the inner corner and pulling outward. Flatten the hole into a straight line and sew.
Repeat with the other print. At this point you’ll have 2 bags.

This is how the bottom of your bag will look.

Step 4: Prepare the handles.
Determine what kind of handles you want: double loops (this is what I’ll demonstrate), single messenger style strap, whatever your heart’s desire.
For double loop, cut 4 pieces, 2 of each print and sew them together with prints facing each other.

Be sure to reinforce the sewing on the ends because you’ll be turning them inside out, which is a strain on the stitches.

I use tweezers to help turn my handle straps inside-right.

Step 5: Assemble the bag.
This is where it all comes together.
a) Turn one bag inside-out and insert it into the other bag. The inside-out bag is the inner lining of the bag. This also makes the bag reversible.
b) Match up the seams so the bags are positioned identical to each other.
c) Fold the top hems in so they are facing each other. In a cross-section they would look like the letter M.
d) Insert the handle ends between the folded hems of the 2 bags.
e) Pin all the way around the top opening of the tote and sew.

These reversible totes make for great gift ideas, Halloween trick-or-treat bags, purses, storage basket liners and even gift bags!

If you want to add embroidery be sure to do that first.
Here is an example of the messenger style tote bag with a single strap.

Did you miss part 1, the drawstring bag pattern? Click the image below.

Eve of Reduction: Free Seasonal E-Newsletter; Extra tips and wit on Facebook; Reduction Beauty on Pinterest ; The debut DIY lifestyle book (includes 10 upcycling tutorials); and the guide to creative streams of income ebook (only $2.99).

I’m Cristin Frank (AKA Eve). I love all things frugal and crafty. My mindset is always on upcycling, repurposing, reducing waste and saving money – and Eve of Reduction is my roadmap. You might also want to check out my book, "Living Simple, Free & Happy."

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