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Today Bella and I are making a tote with an easy pattern for a tote bag. This is a great beginner sewing project for kids.
Bella is rockin her new tote. It is always fun to make something you can use!
Free Tote Bag Pattern Download
We did follow their pattern however I did iron the straps a bit differently. Up to now, Bella has been choosing fabric from my stash, but for this project, we made a trip to the fabric store. It was fun to see what she picked out. I must admit it was sorta hard to not pick it out for her. I gave her a few things to “think about’ though (without trying to be too pushy haha). I reminded her a tote gets a lot of wear so a darker color might be nice. We laid her choices out so she could decide which went together best. She did a great job!
Supplies for Easy Tote Bag
You will need:
- 1/2 yard of sturdy woven fabric for the main fabric of the bag and handles (canvas and heavy weight cotton all work)
- 1/4 yard of the band
- sewing machine
- Cut one 10” X 20” main tote fabric
- Cut one 10” X 20” main tote fabric
- Cut two 5” X 20” main tote fabric for handles
- Cut one 8” X 20” band fabric
Fold the 10” X 20” fabric in half to make a 10” X 10” square. Make sure the right sides (pretty sides) are inside the square. Choose a stretch overcast stitch from your machine. We used a stitch that made a seam and overcast stitch all in one. Sew along the non-folded side (picture).
Now sew along the bottom of the tote. The bottom of the tote depends upon the fabric you choose. If the fabric has a definite up/down pattern, make sure you sew the opening so that when you turn the tote inside out, the pattern is going in the proper direction.
Fold the 8” X 20” piece of band fabric in half to make an 8” X 10” rectangle. Make sure the right (pretty) side is inside the rectangle. Sew along the non-folded 8″ edge.
Fold the band in half lengthwise with the wrong (back) side in and the right (pretty) side out so you
have a 4” X 20” circle of fabric. Press. (I am still doing the ironing for Bella).
Place the circle band fabric around the top of the main tote piece. Line up the side seams on both the band and the tote. Also, line up the top raw (unfinished) edge of the tote and the raw (unfinished) edge of the band. The folded edge of the band will be pointing down toward the
bottom of the tote. Pin the band to the main tote. Place the pins perpendicular to the raw edges. Remind kids to NOT SEW OVER PINS! Remove the pins as you sew.
If possible set your machine for the Free Arm sewing. Pull off the accessory tray or follow the sewing machine owner’s manual for how to set for a Free Arm. The free arm makes it easy to sew in circles and smaller places.
Sew on the band and through all 3 layers of fabric with the same stitch used to make the seams.
Flip the band up and press. Now you have made the body of the bag.
Now it is time for the bag handles. Press the 5″ X 20″ strips in half.
Next, open up the fabric and bring each side to the center, and press.
Now, fold it in half. Press.
Sew along each side. I forgot about the ends being raw. So when the straps were done, we turned each end up about 1/4 of an inch and sewed. (make sure when you are attaching the straps place the unfinished edge of the strap towards the tote).
Lay the tote folded in half on a surface with the seam on the left side of the tote and the opening to the top. Place the side of the strap over 1 inch from the side and the other end of the strap one inch over from the other side. Place 1” of the strap end under the band to the inside of the tote. Pin. Flip the bag over and align the back handle the same way with 1” of the handle inside the tote and 1” from each side of the back.
Starting at a side, sew around the whole top of the tote, making sure the tote handles are flat as you sew over them. When you finish the seam, stitch over your beginning sewing by 3 or 4 stitches. Sew another line of stitching around the top of the band, aligning the first row of stitching with the right side of the presser foot. These two seams will hold the handles securely.
Take out your tote and trim your threads.
RELATED: This tote would make a great handmade teacher gift idea. How proud a young sewist would feel being able to make their very own gift for their teacher! Just add this “You are Toteally Awesome” gift tag for a gift any teacher would love.
Easy Sewing Projects for Kids
Learning to sew is fun for kids and adults. If you are interested in teaching kids to sew here are some first projects to work on those sewing skills.
Keep on Sewing With These Easy Sewing Projects for Totes…
Here are more free tote bag sewing patterns.