Tutorial:a whale-patterned fabric tote bag

Today’s handcraft work is a “DIY whale-patterned fabric tote bag (with lining and flat bottom)". I made the tote bag which looks a little stylish and changed the design of the bottom part.

It is a tote bag without a zipper, so it is easy to make. It has a gusset, so the usability is good. The size is also affordable, and I think it is just right for everyday use. The finished size is about 24cm x 33cm, with a gusset length of about 9cm.

tote bag with whale pattern


The 2 pieces of fabric for the exterior are 31cm x 44cm. (Seam allowances are included, interfacing to be attached)

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 30.5cm x 43.5cm. (Seam allowances are included)

inner fabrics

The 1 piece of fabric for the bottom patch is 19cm x 44cm. (Seam allowances are included)

fabric for bottom patch

Handles are 2 pieces of 2.5cm x 48cm. 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.)


How to sew the bag body (exterior bag)

1. Place the exterior fabrics with right sides facing each other, and sew the bottom. Then press seam allowances open. (Right side means the front sides of the fabric are lined up with each other.)

sew the bottom
press seam allowances open

2. Fold the edges of bottom patch (1cm), and sew the exterior fabric together.

fold the bottom patch
sew the outer and 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.

3. Fold the exterior fabric in half with right side together, and sew the side seams.

fold the outerc in half
sew the side seams

4. Cut the extra fabric, and press seam allowances open. Then make gusset, and sew. (The gusset will determine the thickness of the bag.)

cut off extra cloth
press seam allowances open
make gusset
sew the gusset

5. Baste the exterior fabric and handles together.

baste the outer and handles
outer bag

How to make the bag body (lining bag)

1. Layer the lining fabrics with right sides, and sew the sides and bottom.

sew the side and bottom

2. Cut off extra fabric, and press seam allowances open. Then make gusset, and sew.

cut off extra cloth
make gussets
sew the gussets
inner bag

How to sew the tote bag (finishing the bag)

1. Insert the lining bag into the exterior bag with the right side together and sew around the entrance. (Leave about a 11cm opening to turn right side out.)

sew around

2. Remove the bastings from the handle.


3. Press seam allowances open, and turn the bag inside out.

turn inside out

4. Iron the opening and stitch in place. There are many layers of fabric in the opening, and it’s quite thick, so work carefully.


5. Finally, apply a finishing iron to give the bag a nice shape. Your whale-patterned fabric tote bag is now complete.

tote bag with whale pattern

Following is the video for how-to.

Tutorial:a whale-patterned fabric tote bag – YouTube