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Tote bag DIY: How to sew your own bag for beginners

After presenting some of my sewing efforts here on the blog, it seems that most of you don’t have the confidence to try more complex DIY-projects like this. That’s a pity because sewing can be lots of fun and you’ll be rewarded with a unique piece!

In order to share my DIY-excitement with you, I figured that a sewing project for beginners would be something nice to feature here. The project I chose was the one I restarted sewing with a couple of weeks ago as well – a super easy tote bag. So get out your sewing machine and let’s get started.

 

Sew your own bag – what you’ll need

Next to a sewing machine, you’ll also need these things:

tasche-diy-materialien

  • 60 cm sturdy cotton, jute or linen fabric (fabric width at least 120 cm) for the outer part of your bag (in case you’re not sure, consult a member of the store)
  • 60 cm light fabric for the lining (fabric width at least 120 cm)
  • eyelets
  • cotton yarn in the right color

For the shoulder strap: 

  • cotton cord
  • carabiners

(As your bag will have eyelets you can basically use every kind of strap – I’m wearing it with a fake leather shoulder strap from an old bag right now…) 

This is what it should look like in the end:

simple-tote-bag-sewing-diy

Tote bag DIY – cutting the fabric

Cutting the fabric for your self made tote bag is pretty easy: You’ll only need three rectangles as pictured. The seam allowance is already calculated into the measurements. The real bag size is marked with the dashed line. You’ll only need to cut out the two big rectangles for the lining.

einfachen-shopper-naehen-schnittmuster

How to sew your own bag

After all the spadework is done, you can start sewing. I recommend to seam all edges with a zigzag stitch before, so that your fabric can not be torn easily.

1 | Take the smaller one of the rectangles – this will become the front pocket of your bag. Fold the piece of fabric 1 cm in on the broad side, fold it again, iron and secure this part with pins. You can now secure this edge with a seam.

shopper-mit-tasche-naehen

2 | Put the small rectangle on the right side of a tall one and measure the exact centre – this part will become a seam that divides the front pocket into two small ones. It’s easier if you mark where to stitch so that the outcome will be exact. This is how it should look after sewing:

tasche-einfach-selbst-naehen

3 | Layer the second tall rectangle upon (the two right sides should be facing). Sew the two parts together with one centimeter allowance at the sides – leave out the top side. You should come out with a simple bag.

4 | In order to give your bag a little stand, you’ll pull the front part and the back part away from each other in the lower corners of your bag. Side seam and bottom seam should exactly be facing each other and the corner should be at a 90 degree angle. Measure 3 cm from the corner and sew along (dashed line). Cut off the rest.

tote-bag-diy shopper-selbst-naehen

5 | Time for the lining: Sew the two big rectangles together exactly like you did with the outer bag. Also re-do step 4.

6 | Put the lining into the bag and fold the edges together so that they are not visible anymore. Push the lining a little deeper into the bag to make it invisible from the outside. Secure with pins and fasten with a seam.

tasche-fuettern-diyfutter-in-tasche-naehen

7 | Yaaay! Your bag is ready now – in order to wear it, you’ll need eyelets. Follow the instructions on the eyelet set – remember to attach the eyelets under the top seam and next to the side seam so that they won’t destabilize the seams.

tasche-naehen-oesen-anbringen

8 | If you’ve bought cotton rope for the shoulder strap like me, it’s time to get creative and to try different ways to wear.

 

tasche-diy-done

As you can see: Sewing a bag isn’t that difficult! I hope you’ll try this DIY and have fun with your new tote bag 🙂

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