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Zippered Tote Bag Tutorial

Today’s contributor is Jill from Snugglebug University.  All posts written by Jill for Make It and Love It can be found HERE.

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Hi, it’s Jill from Snugglebug University.  Today I’m going to show you how to make a zippered tote bag!

Zippered Tote Bag Tutorial | via


I know I’ve said it before, but I pretty much survive parenthood one bag at a time!  Having a lot of bags is the only way that I am able to juggle my kids’ stuff for all of their different activities!  There’s the soccer bag, the piano bag, the softball bag, and now the zippered tote bag dance bag!  In fact, I think that one of the most practical gifts you can make for a child is a bag.  Give my kids a bag over a toy any day please!

Zippered Tote Bag Tutorial | via


My kids will tell you that the most difficult part of having a sibling is having to wait for their sibling to finish an activity so that they can have their turn.  This bag solves that problem, too!  It’s big enough to bring some coloring books or homework folders along, which makes the wait so much easier. The bottom on the bag is boxed out so that it can hold more things and sit flat.

Zippered Tote Bag Tutorial | via

The bag is totally lined with super cute ballerina fabric.  If you’re worried about the inside of your bag getting dirty, you can spray the interior with a bit of Scotchguard.

Zippered Tote Bag Tutorial | via


I made sure to include a zipper so that all my daughter’s stuff doesn’t fall out when she turns the bag upside down (which always seems to happen somehow)!!

Zippered Tote Bag Tutorial | via Zippered Tote Bag Tutorial | via


The bag also has a handy front pocket so that my daughter can store her water bottle.

Zippered Tote Bag Tutorial | via Zippered Tote Bag Tutorial | via


I love this bag!  I think people often think that bags (especially ones with zippers) are tricky to make.  This one really isn’t, though!  In fact, if you’ve ever made a zippered pouch, you can totally make one of these tote bags.

Zippered Tote Bag Tutorial | via


I’m so excited to share the tutorial with you today.  Let’s get started!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Fabric for the pocket: 2 9×9 inch pocket pieces (I recommend heavy weight fabric such as duckcloth)
  • Exterior fabric: 2 16×16.5 inch rectangles (I recommend heavy weight fabric such as duckcloth)
  • 2  16×16.5 inch rectangles cut from lining fabric
  • 14 inch zipper
  • small pieces of fusible interfacing
  • 2 20.5 inch straps


Let’s begin.  First, let’s cut out the pieces.

Next, if you’d like to embellish your bag a bit, you can use a bit of fusible interfacing to attach a piece of your lining fabric to the outside of the pocket.  I simply cut a small rectangle and used fusible interfacing to attach the fabric square to the front of the pocket. (Don’t know much about fusible interfacing? Check out this post for more information.)

I like to sew around the edges of the rectangle to help make sure that it is secure.

Next, place the front and back of the pocket on top of each other, such that the right sides are facing each other.

Sew around three sides of the pocket.  Leave the bottom open.

After you’ve sewn, turn right sides out and then fold in the bottom edges.

Next, sew along the bottom of the pocket to completely close it.

Now you can pin the pocket to the front of your bag. Sew around all of the sides, leaving the top open.

Next, we’re going to attach the zipper. Place the zipper face down–on top of both ends of one of your straps–as show below:

Continue by placing the right side of the lining down on top of the bag front (with pocket).

Use a zipper foot to sew the layers together.  Sometimes the zipper can get in the way, so it’s ok to move it a bit as you sew as needed.  Go slowly here, as you want your stitch to be as straight as possible.  This gives the bag a more professional look!


You should have the zipper attached to one side of the bag and the lining.

Repeat the same process to attach the other side of the bag and lining to the other side of the zipper.  When you are finished, it should look like this:

Topstitch through both the bag front and the lining by sewing close to the zipper.  This makes the bag look so much nicer!

Now open your zipper a bit.  This is really important.  If you don’t open the zipper a bit you won’t be able to turn your bag right side out after the next step.

Lay your bag such that the right sides of the exterior and the right sides of the lining are facing each other.  Sew as indicated below, leaving open a few inches at the bottom of the lining.

Now let’s box out the bag.  This is easy!  Just grab the corners of the bag (first each side of the lining and the each side of the exterior).   I sewed about an inch and a half up from the tip.

Here’s what it should look like from the outside.

Now turn your bag right side out.  Fold in the edges of the lining and sew the opening shut.

Your bag is essentially done at this point.  I took one step further and made a simple bow.  First I lined up the ribbon as shown below, and then I used embroidery floss to go around the center of the bow, securing it in place.

The zippered tote bag is all finished!  Such a fun and easy project, right?

Curious as to what else I’ve been up to?  Hop on over to my blog to check it out…especially the tutorial for these pillows!  It’s my favorite post in a really long time!


Happy sewing everyone!


blog contributor Jill

You can follow Jill on her blog (, on instagram, on pinterest, and on faceboook.

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Now that you’ve made this tote, you might like these other cute bag/purse tutorials as well:

Mesh Bag for Pool and Beach Toys

Mesh Bag for Pool and Beach Toys

Farmers’ Market Bag (From an Ikea Rug)

Farmers’ Market Bag (From an Ikea Rug)

10 Darling DIY Bags

10 Darling DIY Bags


Thanks for checking out my Zippered Tote Bag Tutorial post. Check out my full collection of DIY Sewing articles. Find even more sewing projects, patterns, and tips for beginners and advanced sewists by Liz Call, Mariah Leeson, Randi Dukes and Tauni Everett.


  1. Cathy says:

    Jill what is the total yardage per bag for this cute tote?

  2. SB says:

    We had the same issue. The second half of the bag took is a while to attach with quite a few mishaps. And I’ve made a few bags!

  3. Lee Lo says:

    For the life of me i can not figure out how to attach the other side of the bag and lining to the zipper ! I fell in love with your pattern but am totally unable to finish up! Can you give me an kind of suggestions?

    1. monica cervera says:

      lee lo, did you ever get your question answered?

  4. Ayla says:

    Que hermosura de bolsa!!!! A ver si me animo que la que llevo ahora esta la pobre que pide jubilación, ajaja.

    1. Jill says:

      Gracias Ayla! Me alegro que te guste!

  5. katiasafia says:


    1. Jill says:

      Thanks Katia!

  6. Kelly D says:

    Is this something that can be made with hand stitching???

    I want to make this for my Bible Journaling supplies but dont own a sewing machine.


    1. Jill says:

      Hi Kelly! You probably could make it by hand…but it’d take a long time. If sewing by hand I’d probably omit the zipper too. Perhaps someone has a sewing machine you could borrow? Our library has them to check out!

      Best of luck!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

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

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