I'm excited to share this really easy but very practical sewing tutorial for how to sew tote bag with a lining. These turn out so beautifully made that they also make fantastic gifts!
You will need:
Your choice of fabric - cotton, canvas or linen all work really well
You can use the same fabric for your outer & lining or choose to do a contrasting lining.
Make sure you pre-wash your fabrics before sewing!
Sewing Kit - including pins, tape measure, safety pin and tailor's chalk.
Remember to iron all your seams as you sew them.
What to do:
1. Cut out your fabric.
For the outer rectangle, fold your fabric in half with right sides together and then measure out 19inches x 19inches or 48cm x 48cm using your tape measure and chalk. Unfolded your total rectangle will be 38inches x 38inches or 96cm x 96cm.
I maintain a 1.5cm seam allowance through for all my main seams.
For your handles you will need to cut 2x rectangles - each 23.5inches x 4.5inches or 60cm x 11cm.
For the lining cut 2x separate rectangles each being 19.5inches x 19inches or 50cm x 48cm.
2. Time to start sewing it all together.
Begin with sewing the straps. Fold each strap in half lengthways, pin and sew along the long edge leaving the two short ends open. Use the safety pin to turn the handles out the right way. Then sew a top stitch along the two long edges of each handle. Your handles are ready for later.
3. Sew the body of the bag together.
Fold the outer rectangle in half with rights sides facing together. Pin and sew the sides together.
Pin the two rectangles of the lining together with right sides facing together. Make sure the longer length are the sides of the bag with the short length at the top and the bottom of the bag.
For the lining though you will need to keep a 5cm or 2inch gap open and unstitched in the bottom seam of the bag.
4. Add depth/volume to the bag by sewing boxed corners.
This is a cool sewing trick so that the bag can fit more things in it!
Fold the side seam onto the bottom of the bag so essentially the the side seam and bottom of the bag will be flat against each - right sides facing together. Then measure 5cm or 2inches from the point of the corner along the side seam and add a pin to mark the measurement. Next pin from that point a straight horizontal line so it looks as though it has connected the bottom edge of a triangular shape.
When you turn the bag out the right way you can see this will create a seam at the bottom which makes the bag have volume.
Do the same with the other corner and of course pin the boxed corners of the lining as well.
To sew the seam, sew right on your pins being sure to take it steady and remove the pins as you sew.
5. Sew the handles on.
Turn the outer side of your bag out the right way. Fold you bag in half and then in half again. Mark the quarter points along the top of your bag with pins or tailor's chalk.
Then pin the short raw edge of the strap in line with the top raw edge, aligning each quarter mark with the centre of each end of the handles.
Make sure the handles aren't twisted!
Sew the handles in place just with a 1cm seam allowance at this stage.
6. Sew the outer and lining of the bag together.
With the outer of the bag still out the right way and the lining of the bag facing the wrong way out, put the outer bag into the lining. This will mean that the right side of the outer and the right side of the lining will be facing each other.
At the top of the bag, pin the side seams of the outer and lining together. Then pin around the whole way, making sure that the handles are in between the outer and lining layers.
Sew all the way around with a 1.5cm seam allowance.
7. Turn the bag out the right way.
Using the gap in the bottom seam of the lining, pull through the bag so it all turns out the right way. Then place the lining into the outer and all your seams should be concealed so that you have a clean and neat finish to the bag.
8. Finish the top of the bag with a topstitch.
After ironing your top seam so that the lining and outer are sitting evenly so that the lining isn't rolling out sew a topstitch all the way round for a super neat finish. Also this means the straps have been sewn over 3 times so they are very secure!
9. Close the gap.
At the gap in the bottom seam of the lining you can finally fold under the raw edges and topstitch the gap closed.
10. FINISHED! Tah-dah, you have made a fantastic, practical and beautifully made tote bag.
Be sure to tag @rubyvaleroad or #rubyvaleroad so I can see all your own makes!