Pattern Designers

Three Dimensional Tote Bag Pattern

Materials needed:
  • 1/2 yd. of fabric for main body of tote bag
  • 1 yd. of fabric for trim and lining
  • Fabric backing - I prefer Pellon© #987F iron on backing
  • Matching thread
  • Cut 2 of Pattern Piece #1 (Main body of bag) from your 1/2 yd. of fabric
  • Add your backing (Pellon) to each of these 2 main body sections.
  • Cut 8 strips of your 1 yd. of fabric (contrasting trim) measuring 12" x 4".
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  • Cut 2 strips for the top of your bag 13" x 4".
  • Cut 2 handles measuring 24" x 4" in same trim fabric as strips. (TIP: If you want your handles to be longer, cut them accordingly to the length you prefer.)
  • Cut out your bottom of bag decoration in the same fabric as your handles.
  • Cut out your lining, following instructions for main Pattern Piece #1.
  • Fold your 8 strips of fabric longwise in half with RIGHT SIDES together.
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  • Sew along edge making sure you have caught all layers of fabric.
  • Fold the 2 strips that will be at the top of your bag in half with RIGHT SIDES together and sew.
  • HANDLES: Fold each handle in half longwise with RIGHT SIDES facing each other.(See previous illustration) Sew. (TIP: If you want more body in the handles, place your Pellon or other stiffening fabric on the back of the handles before sewing. Make sure it is not too stiff or thick because this may cause difficulties in turning the handle right side out.)
  • Turn all the pieces that you have just sewn right side out.
  • It's now time for a pressing party:) You will need to iron the 8 strips you just made, along with the 2 top strips and the handles.
  • For added strength and durability, sew down the length of both your handles keeping as close to the edge as possible while still catching all layers of fabric.
  • Add 4 of your finished strips to each side of your main bag, making them the same length apart from each other.
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  • Pin these strips in place.
  • Sew these strips at the top of your bag and the bottom ONLY.
  • BOTTOM OF BAG DECORATION: Fold the top of your bottom of bag decoration over at the top under 1" and press. Sew.
  • Attach this bag decoration to the bottom of your main handbag pieces, matching up sides and bottom. You only need to sew AT THE TOP - the sides will be sewn when you attach your main handbag pieces together.
  • Add the top to your bag, sewing along top edges.
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  • It's time to sew your main bag pieces together. Line up both sides of the main body of your handbag together with RIGHT SIDES FACING EACH OTHER.
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  • Sew down both sides of your handbag and across the 9" lower piece - DO NOT SEW THE 2" CORNERS YET.
  • You now have 2 open corners to your handbag. With the bag still WRONG SIDE OUT, press down on the seam until it forms a triangle. You will be matching up the seam going down the side with the bottom seam.
  • Pin and then sew 1" from the end of the triangle across. This will not be a perfect triangle - the pointed end will be flat. This closes your bag and creates a flat bottom.
  • Turn bag RIGHT SIDE OUT.
  • Line up handles on both sides of your bag with the edge of the handle being about 1 1/2" from the edge of your purse.
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  • Pin and sew in place.
  • LINING: Place the right sides of your lining together.
  • Sew along both long sides and along the bottom LEAVING A 3" GAP. This is needed for turning your handbag right side out when it is finished.
  • ASSEMBLING YOUR BAG: Slip the lining up over the main bag with RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER.
  • Pin the top and then sew it securely, going through all layers of fabric. (TIP: Make sure the handles stay down against the main part of your handbag so they won't get twisted.)
  • Gently pull the handbag through the gap that you left in the lining.
  • When the bag is through completely, tuck the lining back inside the handbag.
  • Press the top of your bag making sure the lining is nicely inside.
  • Sew the top of your handbag, securing the lining in place.
  • Either hand or machine sew the 3" gap that you left in the lining.
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