Tag Archives: DIY trick or reat bag

DIY Tote Bag

DIY Tote Bag

Hello all! It’s been a crazy hectic week here. I’ve trying to get all our Halloween stuff together and with Littlest’s 2nd tooth coming in it’s been tough finding time to blog. Never fear, she has to sleep sometime and I can run on fumes to bring you this tutorial 😉

Our family decided on a Dr. Seuss theme for Halloween this year, so the girls are going to be Thing 1 and Thing 2 from The Cat in the Hat  book. I wanted to personalize their costumes as much as possible to get a home-made feel, but hopefully not the cheesy kind of home-made feel.  While brainstorming I came up with the idea of making their Trick-or-treat bags with fun fabric that went with our theme.  I came across some great Cat in the Hat fabric at our local craft store and used it to add pizzazz to their tutus and to make their personalized trick-or-treat tote bags. What’s nice about this is you can really use them for anything and make them as large or small as you like.

*DIY Tote Bag*

  • You will need about a half yard of fabric in the main print and a small amount of secondary matching fabric if you want to make it even cuter.
  • rotary cutter
  • cutting mat
  • sewing machine
  • thread
  • pins
  • Iron

*You do not absolutely need a rotary cutter and mat, but it will make it a lot easier.

*Optional- If you want to add the DIY monogram you will need fabric glue (THIS PART WILL BE IN A LATER POST)

Part 1~Straps:  If you decided on a secondary fabric print, this would be the time to get it ready. You won’t be needing a lot of this fabric, so one of those quarter sized bundles they sell may work great. You can really make the straps as long and thick as you like, but for ours I measured them to be about 22 inches long by 2 1/2 inches wide. In the end they were 1 inch thick. To make these you fold it in half so the right sides (the print side) are touching and sew that long edge so you end up with a tube. You can see in the pic I used the edge of the foot as a guide to how close to the edge of the fabric to sew.


Then you turn the tube inside-out so your print is showing and the stitch is inside the tube. You can Iron them flat at this point because I’m sure they got scrunched in the flipping inside-out process. Now to give them a finished look sew a top stitch along both sides.


Looks good huh? 😉  put them aside and start the bag part now.

Part 2~ Bag

Step 1: Figure out how large you want your bag to be. I would say ours turned out to be average tote size measuring 13 inches tall and 12 inches wide. The print used in this case needed to be sewn so that the large piece of fabric was folded along the the bottom of the bag. This was because I wanted the faces going vertically. Start with a large rectangle piece by doubling the height you want the bag to be PLUS add about 3 inches (for folding in the top near the opening) and the width as wide as you want PLUS 2 inches. Now fold this in half with right sides together. Here are mine folded in half with the print showing.


Next, sew from top to bottom along what will be the side of the bag. Do this for both sides.  *Check out my fabric placement on the measuring plate to give you an idea of how far in I started the stitch* Next, I turned the bag right-side out and sewed a top stitch on the edges of the sides to give it a finished look and increase durability. Then turn the bag inside out again for the remainder of the steps.


Step 2: Fold down the top (opening) of the bag about 1 inch. It helps to iron it down at this point. Next, fold the bag in half and decide where you want your straps to be placed. I did about 1 1/4 inch from the side seam. Place pins in the top of the crease right on top of each other. Once you unfold the bag you will get a better idea of the strap placement so you can keep it or change it before you go further.


Step 3: Here is where I made a boo boo, but it ended up ok and you will see why later, BUT the way I have the straps pinned the pic is upside down. Instead of having the strap end along the crease, pin it so that it lines up with the raw edge of the fold. If you don’t get what I mean it’s ok because it works itself out in the end.


Step 4: Sew all the way around the top of the bag along the crease. Try to get pretty close to the edge.

Step 5: Fold the top down 1 inch again (last time I promise). Now you will have to fold the straps up in place and iron and then pin them down like in the picture.


Step 6: Sew all the way around again near the top of the bag to get the straps in their final position. You want this stitch to be pretty close to the edge as well.

Step 7: To add a great finished look you can do a top stitch below the one you just did. It will make the opening more durable too.


Here are the finished products! In my next post I will share a tutorial on adding a personalized fabric monogram using a regular sewing machine. Don’t forget to check it out 🙂