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tote bag

Roomy Tote Bag

approx. 14" high x 17" wide x 4" deep

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inside bag
nicely finished inside
binding encloses raw edges

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Finished Tote Bag

This is a fabulous beginner's project. No zippers or buttons. Learn straight stitching, top stitching and binding trim. Tote includes roomy, divided inside pocket. Top edge and inside seams are covered nicely in binding. Beautifully finished inside and out!

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Safety Reminders For Children

A. Always have an adult do all the ironing!
B. Never run with scissors. Carry them pointed end down.
C. Never use a sewing machine without adult supervision.
D. Always let an adult use the seam ripper for you.

Now you are ready to start!
prequilted fabric
Prequilted Fabric

Learn how to make your own prequilted fabric


1 yard of 45" double-sided pre-quilted fabric will make one bag with straps. 1.5 yards of double-sided prequilted fabric will make 2 bags with straps.

Thread (to match background)

binding fabric: ready-made binding in contrast color for pocket top edge, two side seams and top edge of tote. OR, make your own binding: cut strips 1/5" wide. You will need one 1.5" x 22" strip for pocket top edge, two 1.5" x 16" strips for side seams, and one 1.5" x 44" strip for top edge of bag. If you are purchasing fabric for the binding, purchase 1/4 yard (this is about twice what you will need but allows for extra - assuming fabric is 45" wide).

Sewing Supplies: scissors, quilting pins, large sewing ruler, fabric marking pencils, seam ripper

hint: quilting pins are easier to use than regular pins; a tupperware box works well as a supply box

If you are not using double sided prequilted fabric, you will also need the following:

Interfacing: for handles; I used Pellon Craft Fuse #808. I used two layers for each handle. Cut four 1" x 21.5" strips. NOTE: Any interfacing stiff enough to create a good stiffness for handles will do.

For one bag: 1 yard of outer bag fabric (45" width) and 1 yard of inside bag fabric (45" width). This is enough to prequilt a piece that measures 22" x 33" for the main bag, plus have enough left over for making bag handles and binding.
Fabric for handles: Cut two 3" x 22" strips
Fusible fleece or batting for creating prequilted fabric. Cut a piece approximately 24" x 36" - your finished, prequilted bag piece should measure approximately 22" x 33".


Our Special Materials page lists sites that carry double-sided pre-quilted fabric. Look down the list until you see "Pre-Quilted Fabric". If they do not have it, and you can't find any (it seems to come and go in stores), you can create your own by using our easy instructions. Go to: Free Lesson: Make Prequilted Double Sided Fabric .

See instructions below for making tote using two layers of fabric and fusible fleece.

NOTE: I made my own "prequilted fabric" using two layers of fabric and a layer of fusible fleece. The fusible fleece worked well, giving the bag a nice amount of body. I used fabric and interfacing to make my handles. Rather than follow the directions referenced above for making prequilted fabric, I fused the fusible fleece to the WRONG side of my top fabric (see below left), then pinned the combined layers to my contrast fabric. I then used machine embroidery stitches, following the design lines in the fabric, to stitch my layers together.

Because I only used the prequilted fabric for the main bag (not the handles) I only quilted one 22" x 33" piece and the pocket piece (done separately). I used the remaining fabric to create handles and binding.

When layering fabric, cut the batting or fleece LARGER than your top layer. When all three layers are stitched together, trim off the excess batting or fleece.

By the time I was done stitching my layers together and trimming all edges straignt my main bag piece measured 22" x 32" rather than the 33" long. That was fine.

fused fleece fused fleece

Please Note: These diagrams are not exactly to scale, but pieces fit as shown.


First, cut out your pattern pieces. I use butcher paper, bought on a roll at Costco.

The Main Body piece measures 22" x 33".
The Inside Pocket piece measures 22" x 14".
The straps each measure 3.5" x 24". Make two handle patterns pieces.

NOTE: If you prefer, you can follow the directions later in this project for making handles using regular fabric and interfacing (rather than the double sided, prequilted fabric).
2 yard layout lay out of for 1 yd right and wrong side of fabric

laptop tote
Laptop Tote
prequilted fabric
Make Prequilted Fabric
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