How to Sew a Tote Bag for Beginners

By Contributing Writer

Making a tote bag is one of the easiest sewing projects you can undertake. A simple tote bag can be made with just a few lines of stitching and a few rectangles of fabric. It's a great first project to make with the kids, especially to teach them how to use a sewing machine. It will also empower them, since they will quickly have something they can use every day to carry their own things around.

Prepare your fabric by washing and ironing it. This will preshrink your fabric.

Mark your fabric by measuring two 10-inch wide and 14-inch high rectangles. Cut them out.

Mark and cut out out two 4-inch wide and 20-inch wide strips.

Fold over and iron down 1/4 inch of fabric from the shortest side from each of the rectangle shapes.

Iron down another inch of fabric from the shortest side of each of the rectangle shapes.

Pin the rectangle shapes together with the right sides facing, leaving the edge with the folds unpinned, and sew along the pins, leaving a 5/8-inch seam allowance on all three sides. Back-stitch at both ends when sewing and make sure to pivot the fabric when you reach a corner, rather than making three seams across the bag.

Clip the bottom corners of the rectangles, close to the stitch, but not through the stitch. Flip the bag inside out.

Fold the strips in half lengthwise and press it. Tuck in 1/2 inch of fabric lengthwise toward the center of the fold and press.

Pin the edges of the strips together and sew them together lengthwise, just 1/4 inch away from the edge. This will create 1 1/2-inch wide straps.

Pin 1 inch of each end of the strip to the bag about six inches apart from each other. Do this for each side and each strap, and sew them onto the bag. Clip any excess thread and use your new bag.