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Create Your Own Quilted Tote Bag: A Sustainable and Stylish Choice

CEO Tinh Phung
Celebrate Earth Day by adding a personal touch to your everyday accessories. Say goodbye to single-use bags and embrace sustainability with a custom-made quilted tote bag. This fun and creative project allows you to showcase...

Celebrate Earth Day by adding a personal touch to your everyday accessories. Say goodbye to single-use bags and embrace sustainability with a custom-made quilted tote bag. This fun and creative project allows you to showcase your unique style by choosing fabrics that resonate with you. Whether you're heading to the library, going shopping, or embarking on a trip, your quilted tote bag will be both practical and fashionable. Let's dive into the step-by-step process of creating your very own quilted tote bag.

Supplies You'll Need

To get started, gather these materials:

  • 18 - 5” squares of coordinating fabrics (or 36 - 2 1/2” squares) - 1 charm pack works nicely for this!
  • 1/2 yard fabric for lining
  • 1/4 yard fabric for the bag bottom
  • 1/4 yard fabric for handles (or pre-made canvas or leather straps)
  • 1/2 yard Poly-Fil Low Loft batting

Step 1: Design Your Bag

Lay out your chosen fabrics for the front and back panels of your bag. You can use precut 5” squares or cut them into quarters for a different look. Get creative with your arrangement by arranging them in three rows of three or exploring other patterns. The possibilities are endless!

Two fabric tote bags, one made of red and bird print fabrics and the other from multicolored fabrics. Image Source: Shop Mr. Katin

Step 2: Sew the Panels

Sew each row of squares together and then join the rows to create the front and back panels of your bag. Press the seams as you go to ensure they lay flat for a polished finish.

Step 3: Add the Bottom Piece

Position your front panel face up and sew one edge of the bottom piece to the bottom of the front panel. Next, turn the back panel upside down and sew its bottom to the other edge of the bottom piece. You should now have a large rectangle with the bag front, bottom, and back all connected.

Step 4: Quilt as Desired

Place the batting behind your fabric piece and pin the layers together. This is your opportunity to add decorative stitching and quilting designs to your bag. Explore different techniques such as creating an "x" through each block or sewing vertical and horizontal lines. Let your imagination run wild!

Step 5: Sew the Sides

Fold your quilted piece in half, right sides together, and sew a 1/4” seam on each side. This will form the body of your bag.

Step 6: Create Squared Bottom

To give your bag structure, flatten the sides of each bottom corner with the seam in the center. Sew a straight seam about 1 1/2” in from the point and trim off the excess fabric.

Diagram of how to square off corners. Image Source: Shop Mr. Katin

Step 7: Turn the Bag Right Side Out

Turn your bag right side out and set it aside.

Step 8: Sew the Lining

Fold your lining piece in half with the right sides together. Sew a 1/4” seam on each long side, leaving a 2” opening in the center of one side. Keep the top open.

Step 9: Square the Corners of the Lining

Repeat Step 5 to create squared-off corners for the lining.

Step 10: Add Handles (Optional)

You have the option to use pre-made canvas or leather straps for handles. Alternatively, you can create matching handles from fabric. Fold each handle strip in half, right sides facing out, and press. Open it back up, fold the edges in to meet at the center crease, and press again. Sew 1/4” seams along the long edges of the handle. Feel free to get creative with additional decorative seams.

Step 11: Attach the Handles

Pin the ends of one handle to the front side of your bag, spacing them according to your preference. Repeat the process with the other handle, this time pinning it to the back side of the bag. Secure the handles in place with 1/8” seams.

Step 12: Sew the Lining and Bag Together

Keep the lining wrong side out and place the (right side out) bag shell inside it. Sew a 1/4” seam around the top to attach the lining and the bag shell.

Step 13: Finishing Touches

Using the 2” opening in the side of the lining, carefully turn the lining right side out. Sew the opening shut, tuck the lining inside the bag, and you're done!

More Quilting Projects

Your quilted tote bag is now ready to accompany you on your adventures. Use it for shopping, travel, or carrying essentials like spare clothes or snacks for the kids. These bags also make great gifts! Share your creations and get inspired by joining the Amy Latta & Friends Facebook group. We can't wait to see how your unique tote bags turn out. Happy crafting!