Do you need a tote bag, or do you know a friend who wants one as a gift? There's no reason to pay a fortune for something you can make yourself. All you need are materials, thread and basic sewing skills.
Method 1 of 4: Material Preparation
Step 1. Choose the material for the bag
Perhaps the hardest part of all this is choosing the materials, as there are so many options. Any material can be used, whether you want to use denim from an old pair of jeans or buy expensive satin to make a fancy tote bag. There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing materials:
- If you are going to use a tote bag to carry heavy items such as books, you should choose a strong material. Choose a material such as cotton, corduroy, or some kind of thick polyester fabric. Other thin materials will tear quickly when you carry heavy or sharp objects.
- Many choices of patterned materials, but if you want to decorate your tote bag, use a material with a solid color to balance the decoration.
- If you want to make an inner attachment for a tote bag, choose two types of materials. The inner lining is usually made of a softer material, while the outer material is made of a stiffer material.
- Thick fabrics require a heavy type of needle and/or sewing machine to sew.
- If you're using an entirely new material, you may need to wash and iron it first so it doesn't shrink after you make it into a bag.
Step 2. Cut the rectangular material of the same size
You can choose how big or small the tote bag is. Measure the sides of the rectangle and use a pencil or material pen to mark the part you will cut. Use the special scissors for the material to cut the rectangular shape neatly. Repeat for the second material so that when you finish cutting, you have two rectangular pieces of fabric.
- Note that the finished tote bag will be 2.5 cm or smaller than the rectangle, as the edges of the material will be sewn.
- If you are making a tote bag with an inner lining, cut the material into a rectangle, two for the outside and two for the inside.
Here are some ideas:
- 30 x 35 cm for a very small tote
- 35 x 40 cm for a medium sized tote
- 60 x 50 cm for a tote the size of a beach bag
Step 3. Mark the area where the bag hanger will be attached
Fold the rectangle into thirds lengthwise and use a cloth pen or pencil to mark the two deep creases. These markings will give you a clue where your straps will be, so make sure to fold in the width of the material instead of folding in the length of the material so that you can place the straps correctly.
Method 2 of 4: Sewing the Bag Body
Step 1. Hem the top edge of the rectangle
It's easiest to hem the top edge of the tote, which will be the top side of the surface, before you sew the bag body. To do this, lay out the rectangular material so the inside of the material is facing out. Fold the top of the fabric one inch. Use a pin to keep the crease in place, and iron along the length to create a crease. Repeat the same for the other four ingredients so that later the seams will align on both parts. Use a sewing machine or sew by hand to get a straight seam 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) below the fold of the fabric on both rectangles.
- If you are making a tote with an inner attachment, lay a rectangular attachment material over the outer material. Fold the two edges, use a pin so that the folds are maintained and then sew the two materials together to get a straight seam.
- If you sew a crooked line, use a seam ripper and repeat.
Step 2. Sew the two rectangles together
Put the stitched squares together so that the insides of each material are facing out. Sew along the edges and bottom using a straight stitch. Don't forget to leave the top open.
Step 3. Connect each bottom end of the material
Fold the bag so that instead of meeting at a 90-degree angle, the bottom and corner seams overlap one another. Now sew along the corners, keeping the new seam perpendicular to the existing seam. Repeat this process on the next corner. When you turn the bag inside out, the corners will bend inward.
Method 3 of 4: Making the Hanger
Step 1. Cut the bag hanger
Decide how long you want the bag hangers to be (keeping in mind they will loop) then cut the fabric 5 cm wide to the same length. Fold each piece in half and the inside of the fabric is facing out. Use an iron to print the folds.
Step 2. Sew along the edges together
Use a sewing machine or sew by hand to make straight stitches along the ends of the material to be used as hangers. Turn the material inside out using a clothes hanger inserted into the tube (you can hook or string it) and pull until the tube is upside down. Flatten the tube with an iron.
Alternatively, you can fold the rough side of the hanger in the middle and sew in a weave (as shown in the picture)
Step 3. Prepare the hanger to be sewn to the bag
Fold the ends of the hangers by 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) and iron to confirm the crease. Pin the ends with the marks you made to make the hangers. Place the ends about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) below the bag opening and clip or baste in place.
Step 4. Sew the hanger to the bag
Do a square top stitch over the pile of material so the hanger is sewn into place.
Method 4 of 4: Decorating the Tote
Step 1. Use a screen print design on the tote
This is a popular way to decorate a tote. Create a sleek design with a stencil and use paint or ink to paint the image on your tote bag. Be sure to choose a striking color so the embellishments are clearly visible on the material.
Step 2. Add artificial diamond glitter
If you want your bag to sparkle, consider adding a rhinestone. All you need is a hot glue gun and a pack of glitter rocks. Glue the rock in an attractive shape over your bag such as a star, heart or circle shape.
Step 3. Paint the bag with cloth paint
Get some fabric paint from a craft or painting shop and use it to decorate your bag in the style you want. You can work with stencils or freestyles to create interesting designs.
Step 4. Sew the buttons to the bag
It is a trendy decoration at a low cost. Use old buttons you already have or you can get them from a fabric or craft store.
Step 5. Add embroidery
Create an embroidered design and sew it to your bag as a patch. You can use embroidery from your photo, your initials, or an original design - your imagination is the limit!
Using very thick denim or similar material requires a large needle on your sewing machine. Work slowly, don't step on the pedal all the way, be careful
- Needles and scissors are sharp objects; be careful in handling these two tools
- The seam rips are also very sharp.