Make Your Own Tote Bag

March 3, 2021By Jane ClaussDIY, Fashion 1 Comment Opinion by Paid Consultant

~Jane Clauss, Brother Sews Ambassador


We’re thinking about spring crafts, and one of the trending “it bags” of the season is the easy-to-make market tote. This DIY bag is so satisfying to sew that you might make one for every day of the week!


  • Brother Sewing Machine 
  • 2 yards of fabric – one for the outer layer of the bag and the handles, and one for the inside
  • Fusible interfacing
  • Straight edge & rotary cutter
  • Fabric scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Fabric marking pen
  • Straight pins





Cutting the fabric:

Start by cutting (2) 14” x 18” pieces of fabric for the outer layer of the bag and cut (2) 14” x 18” pieces of fabric for the inside of the bag. You can vary the size of the tote if you want it deeper or wider, but just make sure you cut the same size for all four pieces of fabric

cut fabric
Outer Fabric
cut inner fabric
Inner Fabric


Cut (2) 5” x 24” pieces for the handle. You can adjust the length here as well.

fabric for handles

Quick note: For the material, use something heavier like duck, canvas, twill, denim or even upholstery fabric for the outer layer of the tote and a lighter weight fabric for the inside.


Sewing the bag:

Cut two pieces of fusible interfacing for the outer layer of the bag. Iron it to the wrong side of the fabric.

iron fusible interfacing


Place the outer layer fabric right sides together and sew three sides, leaving one of the 14” sides open.

sew outer layers


Now place the inner layer fabric right sides together and sew three sides, leaving one of the 14” sides open.

sew inner fabric


On the sewn fabric pieces, measure a 2” x 2” square at the lower corners of both pieces, then cut out each corner.

cut square out on fabric


Open the 2” x 2” corner and line up one side with the other side. Make sure the right sides are facing each other. Secure with pins and sew the opening shut.

fabric with square cutout

line up corners to sew


You need to do this to all four corners, the two corners on the outer fabric piece and the two corners on the inner fabric piece.  This will make the bottom of the bag 4” wide.

sew outside corners
Outside Corners
sew inside corners
Inside Corners


At this point, you should have two separate bags.

two separate bags


Making the handles:

Fold the 5” x 24” piece of fabric right sides together and sew the long edge. Turn it right side out and press with the seam running up the center.

handle fabric

handle right side out

Do the same with the second piece of 5” x 24” fabric.


Fold the fabric tube in half and mark the center point; then measure 3 inches from both sides of the center and mark with a pin.

measure center of handle


You will sew the folded fabric tube in the center from pin to the pin.

sew between pins

sew between the pins


Attaching the handles:

With the outer layer of the bag facing right side out, measure placement for the handles, pin the handles on the right side of the bag and sew in place. Do the same with the other side.

attach handles


Measure the handle placement so they match up on both sides of the tote.

place handles on bag

sew handles onto bag


Finishing the tote:

Turn the outer layer of the bag wrong side out and place the inner layer into the bag right side out; make sure the bags are inserted into one another with the right sides together.

insert bags into each other


Pin the edge and sew all the way around the top of the tote leaving a 3 inch opening.

pinned bags ready to sew

opening on bag


From that 3 inch opening, turn the tote right side out.

turn bag right side out


Insert the inner layer of the tote into the outside layer.

bags turned right side out


Fold in the raw edges of the 3 inch opening, press and top stitch all the way around.

fold in opening

press top of tote

tote pinned for stitching



And your homemade market tote bag is complete!

finished tote



One Comment

  • I love that this is a beautiful project that can be sewn on any
    Brother machine. Some of us have simpler machines and mechanical
    machines and not TOL, but we can all make this from lovely fabrics.

    Thank you!

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