Tutorial:a bee motif tote bag with zipper

Today’s handcraft work is a bee motif tote bag with zipper (with lining and a gusset). It is a zipper tote bag of just the right size to put small items such as wallets and smartphones. I think that it’ll come in handy when taking a stroll in the neighborhood and shopping at convenience stores.

It might be a little bit difficult to put on a zipper, but you can finish it if you make it carefully by following the instructions step by step. The finished size is about 17cm x 18cm, with a gusset length of about 5cm.

bee motif tote bag


The 2 pieces of fabric for the exterior are 20cm x 26.5cm. (Seam allowances are included. Attach fusible interlining on the back.)

outer fabrics
attach interfacing

Fusible interfacing gives the fabric firmness, and helps to keep the shape of tote bag.

The 2 pieces of fabric for the lining are 20cm x 26.5cm. (Seam allowances are included)

inner fabrics

The 2 pieces of fabric for the patch are 4cm x 26.5cm. (Seam allowances are included)


Handles are 2 pieces of 2.5cm x 32cm. The handles can be made from any fabric you like, but I recommend using acrylic webbing, available at craft stores. (This way is easier and more convenient.)


24.8cm zipper is 1 piece. Here, a nylon coil (plastic flat knit) zipper is used.

nylon coil zipper

How to make the exterior fabrics of the tote bag

1. Fold and press the edges of patch fabrics (1cm).

fold the patch

When making creases, it is recommended to use a hot sewing ruler to iron. (hot hemmer) It will make the creases tighter and the finished product more beautiful.

2. Sew the patch fabric and exterior fabric with right side together. (This means the front sides of the fabric are lined up with each other.)

sew the patch and outer

3. Then sew the exterior fabric and handle together.

center of the outer
sew the outer and handle together

4. Fold the patch fabric, and stitch the edges.

fold the patch

5. Reinforce the base of handle with stitch.

outer fabrics

How to sew the zipper (install the zipper)

1. Sew the exterior fabric and zipper with right side together. To prevent the zipper from shifting when sewing, fix the zipper in place with a needle to make sewing easier.

sew the outer and zipper

2. Then sew the exterior and lining with right side together.

sew the outer and inner

3. Iron the opening and stitch in place.


4. Sew the other fabrics, do the same way.

Unlike metal fasteners, nylon coil zippers (flat knit fasteners) are thin and soft, making it easier to adjust their length. The linked article explains how to cut the zipper with scissors to make it shorter, and how to attach a nylon coil zipper.

How to make the zipper tote bag (finishing the bag)

1. Lay the fabric with right side, and sew around. (Leave about a 8cm open for turning inside out. Leave the zipper halfway open as well.)

sew around

The part with the zipper became thick, so be careful when you sew.

2. Cut the extra fabric, press the seam allowance open, and make the gussets. (The gusset will determine the thickness of the bag.)

cut off extra cloth
make gusset
sew the gusset

3. Turn the bag inside out, and sew the edge. Your bee motif zipper tote bag is complete.

turn inside out
sew the edge
bee motif tote bag

Following is the video for how-to.

Tutorial:a bee motif tote bag with zipper – YouTube