The everyday bag you’ve been looking for is just a quick make away. With our free pattern and a yard of Lightweight Cotton Twill or other medium weight fabric like Belgian Linen™, you can tote groceries, kids’ snacks and books in style. Need a little help choosing a design for your everyday tote? We’ve rounded up some floral designs to get you started.
How to Make the Everyday Tote Bag
Everyday Tote Bag Materials
- 1 yard of Lightweight Cotton Twill
- We’re using Kalami Floral Mauve by holli_zollinger
- 1” wide x 27” long straps
- Rotary blade or fabric scissors
- Pins or Wonder Clips
- Sewing machine
All seam allowances are ½” (1cm) unless otherwise noted. The finished bag will be about 14in tall x 12in wide x 5.5in deep (35 X 30 X 14cm)
Cut Out Your Everyday Tote Bag Pieces
Fold your fabric in half lengthwise (bottom to top) and cut out the following pieces on the fold:
- Outer Fabric: (1) 19″ (48cm) wide x 18″ (46cm) long piece
- Interior Lining: (1) 19″ wide (48cm) x 18″ (46cm) piece
- Bag Pocket: (1) 10.5″ (27cm) wide x 8″ (20cm) long piece
Cut your interior lining piece in half so you have two 19″ wide (48cm) x 18″ long (46cm) pieces.
The white illustrations are the wrong side of the fabric and the filled illustrations are the printed side of the fabric.
Sew the Bag Interior Together
Place the two interior lining pieces right sides together. Pin and sew along the sides and bottom leaving a 3” (8cm) opening along the bottom edge (one of the 19” edges). Set aside.
Sew the Pocket
Fold the pocket in half lengthwise, right-sides together. Pin in place and sew along the sides and top leaving a 2” (5cm) opening along the top edge. Turn right-side out and hand stitch or topstitch* the opening closed.
Optional: Topstitch along all four sides of the pocket to create a nice clean finish.
Attach the Pocket to the Outer Bag
Align the pocket to the outer fabric piece. We centered the pocket and pinned it 5” (13cm) from the top edge but the pocket placement is up to you! Sew the pocket in place along the sides and bottom with a ¼” (½cm) seam allowance.
Optional: For a pocket with two compartments divide the width of the pocket in half and stitch a straight line from the bottom to the top of the pocket.
Sew the Outer Bag Piece Together
With the pocket piece secured in place, take the outer fabric piece and fold it in half with right-sides together. Pin and sew along the sides, making sure to leave the top open.
Square the Bottom of the Bag
With your outer fabric piece still inside out, pinch and pull apart one of the bottom corners. Flatten the bag so that the side seam and bottom seam are aligned. On the corner, measure in 5″ (13cm) and draw a line. Repeat on the other corner.
Align your side seam to the crease from where we folded the fabric in half earlier. Take your straight edge ruler and align it to where the sides measure 5” (13cm) wide. Draw a horizontal line at this point and pin the fabric above that. Repeat for the other corner. Stitch along the lines in the corner of each bag, backstitch at each end, and trim the excess.
Repeat this process for the interior lining of the bag taking care to align the two seams when pining.
Pro tip: See another example of this step in the DIY Eco Canvas Beach Tote tutorial.
Attach the Bag Lining to the Outer Bag
Take the outer fabric piece and turn it right-side out. Place it inside the interior lining piece, right sides together. Carefully match the side seams, pin and stitch along the top edge.
Turn the Bag Right-Side Out
Flip the bag right side out through the gap we left in the bottom of the interior lining. Hand stitch the 3” gap closed and stitch around the top of the bag.
Determine Your Bag Strap Length
If you’re using pre-made straps, follow the manufactures instructions for attaching. We used a kit that we bought and attached them with grommets, but you could make fabric straps instead from the remaining fabric!
Whether you make straps or use a kit, you’ll need to determine how long your straps should be. Hold up the bag to your side and raise/lower it until you’ve found a location for the bag that feels best to you. Measure from the top of your shoulder to the top of the bag.
Strap Length Equation
(Shoulder to bag location measurement + 3) x 2 = Length of strap
We liked our bag at a distance of 10.5″ (27cm) from the top of the shoulder so our strap length equation was: (10.5″ + 3) x 2 = 27” (69cm)
Once you have your straps sewn and ready to go, pin them in place at a distance apart that works best for what you want to do with your bag and sew them in place. For reference, our straps were placed 5” (13m) in from each side seam.
Want to take your next market trip to the next level? Fill your everyday tote with reusable produce bags for the ultimate eco-friendly shopping trip!