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Two-Tone Fabric Totes (2 variations)

The ladies at our church are having a little craft day next month, to make a variety of crafts and sewing projects that can be kept or given away as gifts.  (The whole idea of it is to kick start the holiday season……and get a few projects made way ahead of time.  Okay, but even more than that, it’s just fun to get together and make stuff.  You don’t have to ask me twice! :) )  The gathering is called Super Saturday.  Have you heard of it? ;)


Well, I was asked to make some sort of sewing project, and you know………I thought and thought and thought about what to make.  Something to sew for kids?  Baby gifts? Something for yourself?  Home decor?  Maybe a neighbor gift?  Hmmmm…….


I finally decided to keep the sewing lines straight and keep the concept pretty simple.



And make something that people could keep……or stuff with something great and gift it away.



The Tote. 


Nice and basic.

 **Finished tote measure 17 inches wide and 15 inches tall.





And yeah, we all have old totes kicking around, but who doesn’t need another one?





Especially one with a bright pink flower and some sparkle? Ha. :)





I kind of love it.





You could make this bag in so many colors and so many variations…….but my Super Saturday friends only get these two choices.  (Sorry ’bout that!)






The inside is fully lined…





And the bottom is squared off to help it stand up……….but also gives the bag more room.  Perfect.





Great tote to keep.


Great tote to give away.


Great tote for Super Saturday. :)



**If you have no clue about this Super Saturday thing………just grab some friends, some fabric, and have a sewing night with friends.  Same idea.



Wanna make one too?




  • 1/2 yard of outer base fabric (something thick, like upholstery fabric or duck cloth)
  • 1 yard of upper and lining fabric (something thick, like upholstery fabric or duck cloth)
  • 1 – 2 yards of ribbon for ribbon and/or bow
  • scrap fabric for flower/other embellishments


–Finished tote measure 17 inches wide and 15 inches tall.

–Depending on the fabric that you use, the tote may or may not stand up on its own.  If your fabric is thick but kind of flimsy (doesn’t stand up alone), then consider adding interfacing to all fabric pieces.)

–All supplies and fabrics were purchased at Hobby Lobby for this project.



To get started, cut your pieces of fabric, like shown below.




Grab one of your Upper Fabric pieces and place it together with one of the Lower Fabric pieces, with right sides together.  Line up the upper edges and sew them together, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance (shown on left).  Then, open it up and iron flat (shown on right).  Repeat with the other Upper and Lower fabric pieces.




Now, line up your ribbon along the top of the Lower fabric section and pin in place.  Then sew along the top and bottom edge of your ribbon piece.




Repeat with the other piece of ribbon and fabric.




Now, place these two pieces together (with right sides together) and e sure you are matching the upper edges together.  Then, peek at the sides and carefully match up the ribbon pieces, so that they line up perfectly after the sides are sewn and then turned right side out.



Then, sew along both sides and the bottom, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.



Next, grab one of the bottom corners and pull the front fabric away from the back fabric and fold it flat.  Make the tip nice and pointy while lining up the seam that’s now running along the front, even with the seam that’s running along the back.  Just feel it with your fingers and line both of those seams up.  (If you need to see more pictures, check out my Tote with Round Opening tutorial.)



Iron it flat to help keep it in place for the next step.


Then, measure in 2 inches from the pointy corner (not the excess fabric but the corner inside of the seam) and mark with a pin.  Sew a straight line perpendicular with the other seam, right at that 2 inch mark.  (Drawing a line straight across first, is helpful if you’re nervous about eyeballing it.)



Repeat with the other corner.



Turn the the fabric right side out and iron the side seams flat.



Then, iron each corner , just a bit, so that the bottom will stay boxed out.



Wedge the bottom of the bag onto the ironing board, and do your best to flatten out the seam, without creating other creases on the bag.



Repeat with the lining fabric, making sure that the 18 inch dimension goes from side to side and the 18.5 inch dimension goes from top to bottom.



Grab two of the Handle pieces and place them together with right sides together, and sew along each side, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Do the same with the other 2 Handle pieces.



Be sure to leave both ends open.



Turn each handle right side out, and press flat.  (Need help Turning a Tube Right Side Out?)



Then, grab one Handle piece and place each end 4 inches from each side seam and let the top ends overlap the top of the tote by a 1/2 inch.  Pin both ends in place.



Turn the tote over and do the same thing with the other Handle.



Sew each Handle end in place, using a 7/8 inch seam allowance.



Now, slide the outer bag fabric (right side out) inside of the lining fabric (inside out)…



Match up the top seams and the side seams and pin in place.



Sew all the way around the stop edges, using a 1 inch seam allowance.  However, leave an opening between the handles on one side.



Then, pull the outer bag fabric out, through the opening that you left.



Continue pulling, until the entire bag is pulled right side out.



Then, fit the lining fabric inside of the outer tote fabric.



Iron the top edge of the bag flat, tucking the edges of the opening towards the inside, 1 inch.



Sew along the upper edge of the tote, where the outer fabric meets the lining fabric…….nice and close to the upper edge.  (About an 1/8 of an inch.)



For extra handle strength, sew a rectangle with an X through it, to really secure each handle end in place.  Be sure you are sewing through the handle end that’s tucked inside the innards of the tote.



Now, for some added embellishment.


You can add any ol’ flower type you’d like, but I added a Knit Flower to my tote. (If you’d like a different flower type, try the Shirred Flower, or the Full and Textured Flower, or the Crushed Fabric Flower.)  Then, I carefully stitched through the center of the flower to secure it to the bag.  Sew around in a little circle, but not any wider than your embellishment that you’ll be adding to the center of the flower.



Then, I added a little jewel to the center of the flower, with hot glue.




Now, onto the bow embellished tote.


Cut a piece of ribbon that’s about 12 – 13 inches long and fold both ends towards each other, creating a bow shape.  Overlap the ends but not too much, or they’ll show after you add the center section of the bow.  Test your ribbon width by placing it across the middle of the bow, to be sure the ends will be hidden.  Then sew a seam straight down the center of the ribbon, securing the ends in place.



Then wrap some ribbon around the center, covering the center seam of the bow.  Overlap the ends towards the back, pin in place, and set it aside for a second.



Then, cut two more pieces of ribbon, and arrange them on the front of the bag to the right, directly beneath the handle end on the right.  Angle them out a bit, just like the ends of a tied bow would do.  And cut the ends off at an angle, if desired. Sew in place.



Then, place the bow on top of the bow ends, with the loose ends of the bow center section, towards the back.  Stitch around the center of the bow.




Then, to keep each of the ribbon ends from fraying, apply heat to melt them and seal them.



And that’s it.  Fabric Totes…….in 2 different styles.




Now that you’re a pro at sewing totes, give these other cute patterns a try!


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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—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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