Sunday, September 2, 2012

Kids Lined Tote Bag Tutorial

When I saw this fabric, I fell in love. When I saw it was on clearance, I had to buy it. I knew immediately I was going to make a new tote bag for my daughter. I am finishing it just in time for school to start too.

The bag measures approximately 15" wide x 16" high.

Here is how it was made.


  • (2) 15.5" wide x 17.5" high cotton decorator fabric - outer fabric
  • (2) 15.5" wide x 17.5" high cotton quilting fabric - lining
  • (2) 22" cotton belting (1" wide)
  • (2) 22" grosgrain ribbon (3/8" wide)
  • coordinating thread
  • water-soluble marking pen
  • straight pins
  • sewing machine
  • clear acrylic ruler
  • rotary cutter
  • self-healing mat for cutting
  • iron


1/4" seam allowance throughout.

1.  With right sides facing, pin and stitch along the sides and bottom of the outer fabric.

2.  Match one of the side seams to the bottom seam inside the two pieces of fabric to create a triangle at the corner.

3.  Measure 1" on each side of the seam and mark the line with a water-soluble pen. I like to pin above and below the mark as well.

4.  Sew along the line and backstitch at the beginning and end to secure the stitches.

5. Cut the corner 1/4" from the stitches.

6.  Repeat steps 2-5 for the other corner.

This creates a corner seam that looks like this when the bag is right side out.

7.  Repeat steps 1-6 with the lining fabric. Set aside the bag.

8.  For the straps, stitch the grosgrain ribbon down the center of the belting using a zig-zag stitch.

9.  With the outer fabric facing right side out, fold the top into the bag 1" and press flat.

10.  Pin the straps (grosgrain ribbon facing out) to the inside of the bag 1" down and 3" from each side seam.

11.  Stitch around the entire bag near the raw edge to secure the fold and the bottom part of the straps. Backstitch at the beginning and end.

12.  On the lining fabric (right sides facing), fold over the top edge a bit more than 1". Press flat.

13.  Insert the lining fabric into the outer fabric, aligning the side seams. Pin the lining fabric slightly below the top edge of the outer fabric.

14.  Stitch around the entire bag near the top edge to secure the lining fabric. Backstitch at the beginning and end.

15.  Stitch an "X" on the concealed parts of the straps (lining fabric facing up) for added security. I like to place pins on both sides of the straps so I know where they are, and a pin across where the stitches already are on the outside, near the bottom of the straps. That way I can stitch over the bottom stitches in the same place. It just looks neater. The alternative is to stitch with the outer fabric facing up, but it's a little more challenging to turn the bag around the sewing machine. If you have a free-motion foot, you don't need to worry about turning the bag.

Below shows you the stitch pattern for the "X".

16.  Press the entire bag.

You're done!


  1. this is a fantastic tutorial! So completely crystal clear to understand. Thanks so much.

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  2. The bag I made for my niece turned out great. Thank you so much for the tutorial! I had to alter a few things just because the fabric I chose had writing on it and I didn't want the stitching to go through the writing but this was a great jumping off point especially for me who has barely sewn anything. Thanks!

  3. WOW! Great tutorial. Such a cute tote bag I must say. I really like the color combination and the print fabricated on the bag. Once I have tried to create such stuff, but I was failed. The steps you mentioned above are quite simple and I will surely try to implement the idea at my home.

  4. awesome bag and super simple steps!! Thanks

  5. Great article. Thanks for sharing such a useful post.

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  11. I think I will do this as a project with my daughter! Thank you for the clear tutorial, especially on the corners and handle stitching!