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Large Tote with Rounded Opening

I always use totes.  For carrying books to the library, blankets and snacks to the park, clothes for an over-nighter, towels and swimsuits to the lake, etc.

My kiddos even snatch them and haul around stuffed animals, baby dolls and their favorite blankies.

I guess totes are something you can never have too many of.   So it’s a good thing they are pretty simple to make.



While I was at the store the other day, I saw a tote up on a billboard, advertising something that was coming out of the tote…..but the tote had this great rounded opening.  And I decided right then, that a new tote was my next project.  And the other projects sitting on my sewing table would have to wait.  Even though some are half done.  Ack.  My poor table overfloweth.


And the tote is great as is……..but I just had to throw a few flowers (from this tutorial) on the front.

But, of course, they’re optional.


And added a printed fabric for the lining.

The bottom corners are squared, proving more room in the tote.



And that’s that.  They’re quick to make, easy to carry, and big enough to stuff full.


Would you like to make your own rounded opening tote?

First of all, my outer fabric is called Duck Cloth.  It’s super thick and sturdy canvas-y material that gives totes a great shape.  The inner fabric is just a woven cotton. (Bought them at Joann’s)

To begin cut out two 19 x 19 inch squares out of your outer fabric and two 19 x 19 inch squares out of your lining fabric.

Then, find the center along one edge of your outer fabric and mark it.  Then measure out 3.5 inches in both directions and mark it with a pen.  (I measured out and marked 3 inches in both directions in the image below but then changed it.  Do 3.5 inches.)

Now grab a bowl with about a 7 inch diameter (or cut out your own circle) and place the curve of the bowl between the 2 outer marks.

I didn’t wanted the circle quite so rounded (a bigger bowl would have fixed this problem) so I left some room between the bowl and the outer marks………

……..and then traced around the bowl, stopping about an inch before the edge of the fabric.

I then curved the line more outward to give that section of the fabric a bit of a straighter line, rather than continuing with the curve of the bowl.  Like I said above, a larger bowl would have helped.  Darn afterthought. :)

Now, cut out the circle shape…..

…….and then place this main piece (not the cut out piece, in case you don’t center it just right) on top of the other square pieces and cut out the same shape.

Now, place the outer pieces together with right sides together and sew them together along the sides and bottom (1/2 inch seam allowance).  Then zig-zag (or serge) the raw edges and trim if necessary.  Do the same with the lining pieces.


Now, to create the bottom squared-off shape…….grab one of your bottom corners.

And pull the front of the fabric away from the back of the fabric like shown……

Then turn the fabric over on it’s side and make the tip nice and pointy while lining up the seam that’s now running along the top, even with the seam that’s running along the bottom.  Just feel it with your fingers and line both of those seams up.

Now, measure down from the point, 2 inches and mark it with a pin.

Then sew a straight line right across……..making sure it hits 2 inches down from the point.

**Do the same with the other bottom corner and then the two bottom corners of the lining.

Next, cut out 2 long strips of fabric that are 22 x 3 inches.  Fold them in half lengthwise, with right sides together, and sew along the long side using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Turn then right side out and iron flat.

Next, turn your outer fabric for your tote right side out and pin a strip to the curve of the front side of the tote and one to the curve of the back side.  Measure down 1.5 inches from the top edge and pin your strip with the raw end facing up.  (Make sure that the strip isn’t twisted at all.)  And pin the strip ends in place about 3/4 of an inch past the edge of the curve of the tote.  You’ll see why later.  (And use two pins for each end, to keep the strips from moving before you sew them in place.)

Now, with your lining fabric still inside out, slide it over your outer fabric (that’s now right side out)…….

…….and keep pulling it up until the top edges are even.  Make sure the handles are tucked down inside and then pin all along the upper edge.

Now sew all along the top, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance……….leaving about 5-6 inch gap along one side (near the side seam of the tote).

Now trim the corners off at the top of each curve……

……..and clip each curve.  (Read here for more info on trimming and clipping.)

Now stick your hand down in the opening and pull out the outer fabric and shove the lining back down to the inside of the tote.

Now, iron the upper edge nice and flat.  Be sure to tuck the edges of the opening down towards the inside a 1/2 inch and iron flat.  Then top-stitch all along the upper edge about a 1/4 inch away from the edge.

Then, create little squares with ‘X’s’ through them right below the edge where the straps were attached.  This will help make those strap more sturdy, especially if you’re going to put heavy things in your tote.

Now, fold your straps in half, towards the inside of the bag and sew right along the edge.  Start and stop about 1 3/4 inches from the end of each handle.

This just gives the handle a better shape and make them easier to grab and hold.

Now, if you want to add flowers to your tote, make them just like the tutorial here.  However, I made these flowers using fabric circles that were 2.5 inches in diameter.  And I also didn’t hand sew the few extra scrunched circle pieces to the top, like shown in the tutorial mentioned.  I wanted the top of the flower to be flat… I left them off.


And then machine sewed each flower right to the front, sewing through the center section of the flower.  You can also hand stitch them in place, if desired.


And that’s it. 

Your tote is done.

And ready to be filled.


Ashley Johnston

Administrator at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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