Simple Tote Tutorial

cotton canvas 2 – 13×14 inch pieces
coordinating cotton print of your choice 2 – 13×6 inch pieces
lining fabric (cotton or other) 2 – 13×14 inch pieces
1 inch wide cotton webbing (2 strips 18 inches long)
1 magnetic snap (optional)
sewing machine

Cut out all your fabric pieces.  You should have 2 lining pieces, 2 canvas outer pieces, and 2 coordinating printed pieces.

Take your 2 printed pieces (6×13 inch) and fold the top down 1/2 an inch and press.  Repeat for both printed pieces.

Pin the printed pieces to the bottom half of the canvas pieces, lining up the bottom and side edges. Pin along your folded and pressed seam.  Set aside.

Attach your magnetic snaps to your lining pieces.  Centred and approximately 1 inch down from the top edge.  If you’ve never attached a magnetic snap before, check out this post: 

Once your snaps are on, pin the lining layers together, right sides together.  Stitch all the way around both sides and the bottom, leaving a 3 inch opening along the bottom seam.  I usually double stitch it, just for added strength.  (second seam approximately 1/4 inch on the outer edge of the first seam)
To create a boxed bottom on your tote: Clip the corners.  Then you are going to fold the bottom two corners together, lining up the seams on either side.  This gives you a triangle.  Stitch approximately 1 inch from the point of the triangle all the way across.

 see where my thumb is?  You’re stitch line should be horizontal just above my thumb there.

Cut off the excess fabric 1/4 inch from your seam.  Repeat on the other bottom corner piece and you have a nice boxed shaped lining!

Grab your outer canvas piece and top stitch along the folded seam of your printed cotton.  You can do just one line of stitching or do a couple for added detail.

Next you’re going to stitch both your outer pieces together.  Place the two pieces right sides together and line up the printed fabric seam so there are even when you stitch it all together.  Stitch all the way around both sides and bottom.  You do not need to leave an opening on the outer bag.

Repeat the boxed corner steps that you did on the lining so your outer bag is boxed as well.

To attach straps:  Flip your bag right side out and measure in 3 inches from each side.  Pin each side of the strap and stitch across.  Repeat for the other side of the bag making sure your straps line up with each other.

Slip the lining over top of the outer bag.  You want the right sides to be together so your lining should still be inside out and your outer bag should be right side out.

Line up your side seams on the lining and outer bag and pin all the way around.  Stitch 1/4 inch all the way around.

Flip your bag right side out through the opening you left in the lining. Press your top seams carefully all the way around the top of the bag.  Take care by the straps especially if you used nylon webbing, it will melt!  Take care around your magnetic snaps if you used those as well, if you iron over top of them you can get a funny spot on your fabric.
Top stitch all the way around your bag and slip stitch the lining hole closed.  You’re done!

If you make a Simple Tote please share some pictures with me :)  Feel free to use this tutorial to sell items made with it but please do not reproduce the tutorial or use any of my photos without permission.

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