Recently, tote bags have been sold as a more eco-friendly replacement for disposable plastic bags, given they can be reused several times. Common fabrics used include heavy canvas, possibly dyed or treated to resist moisture and mold. In recent decades, heavy nylon and other easy care synthetics have become common, although these degrade with prolonged sun exposure. Many of today’s inexpensive free totes are often made from recycled matter, from minimally processed natural fibers or from byproducts of processes that refine organic matter. These bags are easy and inexpensive to make so we are going to learn how to do it.
Step 1: Gather all the tools and materials you need
- Canvas material (you will require about 33 inches by 3 inches for one bag)
- Fabric crayon or coloured chalk
- Sewing machine
Step 2: Cut the material
Cut out a piece of material that is 33 inches in length and 31 inches in width. You can adjust these measurements according to the size of bag that you desire.
For the straps cut two 16 inch long straps.
Step 3: Fold the material
Fold the material in half so that it is now 16.5 inches by 15.5 inches. The fold is going to be the bottom.
At the top, fold the canvas down 1 inch from the edge, pin it, then repeat on the other side.
Sew about 5mmm from the edge, removing pins as you go along.
Remember to double stitch at the beginning and at the end in order to reinforce the stitch.
After finishing the top fold stitches, you are going to sew the sides of the bags together.
Pin the sides together but ensure you leave about 1mm from the edge of the fabric when sewing.
On the bottom corners of your bag, pinch the corners and sew them.
Measure properly for both of the corners and pin it down to make it easier. Sew about 3 inches across the corners and repeat on the other bottom corner of the bag. This will give your bag more bottom/volume.
Take one of the straps and measure about 4 inches to the side, and lined up to the 1 inch fold of the top of the bag. Pin the strap down and repeat on each side.
Sew the straps down securely, by sewing around the edge of the strap, making a square then sew from corner to corner of the square like an X. Repeat three more times with the other straps.
The bag is now finished. Clean up any loose strings, and then flip it inside out. You can get creative and paint/design the exterior of the bag however you would like it to look.
Remember to find best tips on how to care your tote bag.