Be sure to choose woven (not knit) fabrics. I recommend cotton as so many colors and prints are available in this natural fiber. It's sturdy and washes well. If you prefer something tougher, choose a washable outdoor upholstery fabric.
Skills required: measuring, drawing, machine sewing
Step 1: What you will need
Pen or pencil
Iron and ironing board
Piece of chalk
3/4 yard woven cotton fabric (side A)
3/4 yard woven cotton fabric (side B)
1/2 yard lightweight fusible interfacing
Large safety pin
Step 2: Launder your fabrics
Iron your fabrics once dry.
Step 3: Make your pattern
At each bottom corner, draw a 3" square cut-in (view B).
Using paper scissors, cut out your pattern (view C). This will be the body of the tote.
Step 4: Cut your fabrics
Pin your pattern piece to the very top of the raw edge on a piece of fabric (view B). Cut out the pattern piece.
Take the remaining scraps of fabric and lay them out flat again. Mark out two equal strap pieces horizontally with your chalk and yardstick, this time starting from the bottom up (view C). Cut fabric along chalk lines.
Repeat with second piece of fabric (view D).