I like making my own tote bags because the color, design and specifically the size is totally up to me.
I created my own design in Adobe Illustrator and sent it off to Spoonflower.com to have the fabric printed for me. The sky is the limit if you design your own fabric! I could've had the same design on both sides, but I decided to change it up just a bit. (I do the same when I sew pillows) I only used a portion of the yard so I added some other designs to the fabric (Sunflowers by Dianna Facci)
This bag was adapted from skiptomylou.org.
Step 1: What You Will Need
• 2 pieces fabric 19” x 16” (outside)
• 2 pieces fabric 19” x 16” (lining)
• 2 pieces 4” x 30” for straps
• 2 pieces 7.5” x 5” for pockets (optional)
• Sewing Machine
Step 2: Make the Straps
1. Cut 2 pieces of fabric 4'' x 30'' long. Press each piece of fabric in half lengthwise to
create a center crease to help you when you fold each side of the strap fabric into the center as in #2.
2. Open fabric up and press the outside edge of the fabric to the center.
3. Fold fabric in half and press.
4. Stitch down each side of the straps close to the edge, about 1/4”.
Step 3: Make the Pockets (optional)
1. Cut 2 pieces of fabric 7.5'' x 5'' for pockets. Fold edges over and press each pocket.
2. For a finished look, sew the top edge of each pocket across, close to the edge
3. Pin pocket to right side of lining
4. Sew 3 sides, leaving the top of the pocket open :) I added a seam down the middle to create 2 pockets.
Repeat for the other piece of lining.
Step 4: Make the Tote
Cut your four pieces of fabric 19'' x 16''
1. Sew lining fabric right sides together on 3 sides leaving the 19'' side open. (For this bag the bottom is 19'' wide and the sides are 16'' long, but you can make this bag any size you want.)
2. Sew outer fabric right sides together on 3 sides.
3. Pinch each bottom corner together and stitch across 1 1/2” from corner.
Step 5: Assembling the Tote Bag
4. Once all 3 sides are sewn, place lining fabric inside the outside fabric RIGHT sides together.
5. Place straps in between RIGHT sides of fabric on each side about 2'' to 3'' from the side edge.
6. Pins straps and top edge of bag. Stitch around top of bag 1/2'' from edge. Leave a 2-3'' opening on the side of the bag for turning the bag inside out.
Step 6: The Finishing Touches
7. Turn bag inside out.
8. To close up the opening that you used for turning the bag inside out, push lining inside the bag and top stitch all the way around the top of bag and press.
You're finished! Enjoy your new bag.