Easy, Reversible Tote Bag
You will need:
2 heavy weight fabrics, both cut 9″ (23 cm) by 20″ (50.8 cm) for the main body of the bag.
Fabric for a pocket, cut 5″ (12.5 cm) by 5″ (12.5 cm)
2 pieces of fabric 2″ (5 cm) by 24″ 61 cm) for the handles.
Read through all instructions before beginning this easy bag tutorial.
Step 1: Position and sew the pocket into place.
1. Fold and iron under all of the edges of the pocket, at least 1/4 inch (.5 cm). Double over the top edge to hide the unfinished edge.
2. Sew across the top of the pocket first.
3. For proper pocket placement, fold the bag fabric in half to visualize the finished bag. I recommend about 1.5″ (4 cm) to 2″ (6 cm) below the top edge. (Not centered on the front of the bag because that will change when you finish the bottom.)
4. Leaving the top open, sew the sides and bottom of the pocket onto the bag, reinforcing the stitching at the beginning and end.
Step 2: Make the handles.1. Place right side of the handle fabrics together and sew together on one side.
2. Then with an iron, face the seams all in one direction and press flat.
3. Then, right side out, fold the sides together and press straight and flat.
4. On the bottom layer, fold the raw edge of the fabric in about 1/4″ (1.5 cm) and press down the entire side.
5. Fold the top layer to match the bottom (already folded) and press.
6. Starting with the side that hasn’t been sewn together, slowly sew the edges together, fairly close to the edge (1/8″ or .5 cm) with a top stitch.
7. Top stitch the other side closed as well.
This handle piece will be cut in half to make both handles. Set handle(s) aside.
Step 3: Make the main body of the bag.
To make the main body of bag, fold both 9″ (23 cm) by 20″ (50.8 cm) pieces in half, right sides together, and stitch the sides closed on each piece.
The main body of the bag pieces will look like this (above). Make sure the seam allowance is the same for both, these are the inside and outside of the bag and will need to match.
Step 4: Adding width to the bottom of the bag.
1. With a ruler and a pencil mark across the 4 bottom corners.
2. Measure 1″ (2.5 cm) down from the corner.
3. This will make the bottom of the bag 2″ (5 cm) wide.
4. Sew across all four corners, on the pencil lines.
5. Turn one of the main body pieces right side out, leave the other one inside out for now. (Your bottom corners should look like this picture.)
Step 5: Attach the handles to the bag.
First cut the handle piece (you made earlier and set aside) in half making two 12″ (30.5 cm) handles.
1. With a ruler, mark in 1 3/4″ ( 4 cm) from the side seams.
2. Pin all the handles into place, (remember to put the proper sides of handle and bag together)
3. Close to the top edge, sew the handles into place (removing the pins as you go).
4. All 4 handles are now sewn to the body of the bag.
Step 6: Sew the main body pieces together.
Starting at the handle, sew all the way around (over all 4 handles) but leaving the last 1/4 open (the last part- over the side seam). Reinforce at the beginning and the end. (Refer to picture below too.)
Step 7: Finishing the bag.
Push one layer inside the other and work both layers into place. Flatten and position all seams open and press the top edge into alignment, press the opening flat and pin into place.
Beginning where you started before, sew over the first handle, saving the opening (over the side seam) for last. Sew carefully and close to the top edge.
When you come to the final opening make any necessary adjustments at the side seam to make the layers match. If the layers don’t match up perfectly, you can fold in one one of the seams to take up the slack and not leave any puckering on the top of the bag. Sew the final part together.
Please feel free to leave any comments or suggestions on how this pattern worked for you. Thanks and enjoy your bag!