Today’s handmade work is a “DIY tote bag with drawstring“. As the drawstring is attached to the opening of the bag, the contents in the bag are firmly protected. There are a few steps to make, but how to make it itself is not so difficult. So please try making it.
The finished size is about 14cm x 21cm, with a gusset length of about 7cm, which is rather small for a tote bag. I think it is just right for a “lunch bag" where you can carry your lunch and drinks.
The 2 pieces of fabric for the exterior are 20cm x 30cm. (Seam allowances are included, interfacing to be attached)
The 2 pieces of fabric for the lining are 17.5cm x 30cm. (Seam allowances are included)
The 2 pieces of fabric for the drawstring are 18cm x 32cm. (Seam allowances are included)
2 pieces of the top fabric for opening are 4.5cm by 30cm. (Seam allowances are included) The top fabric is fabric for the opening area of the tote bag.
Handles are 2 pieces of 2.5cm x 29cm. 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.)
Cords for drawstring are 2 pieces of 75cm.
How to make the bag body (exterior)
1. Place the exterior fabrics with right sides facing each other and sew the side and bottom. (Right side means the front sides of the fabric are lined up with each other.)
2. Cut the extra fabric, and press the seam allowance open. Then make gusset, and sew. (The gusset will determine the thickness of the bag.)
3. Baste the exterior fabric and handles together.
4. Cut a little extra seam allowances at the sides. (about 2.5cm from the opening)
How to make the drawstring
1. Place the drawstring fabrics with right side and sew the side with a 2cm seam allowance. (Don’t sew 8cm from the top because it will be the channel of the strings.)
2. After press seam allowances, open and fold the seam allowances inward. Then stitch the edges. This is called “top stitched seam.” I used this stitching because I can prevent fraying of seam allowances and finish it beautifully.
Top stitched seam is explained on this page.
3. Sew until the end of opening. The end of opening is the border between the opening without seams and the part with seams. This is the area where force is applied when putting things in and out from the bag, and it is easy to fray. So, reinforce it with backstitch on a sewing machine.
4. Fold the fabric in three, and stitch.
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.
How to make bag body (lining)
1. Layer the lining fabrics with right sides, and sew the sides and bottom.
2. Cut off extra fabric and press seam allowances open. Then make the gusset, and sew.
3. Place the top fabrics with right sides facing each other and sew the side seams. Then press seam allowances open.
4. Baste the drawstring fabric and top fabric with right side together.
5. Sew the lining and top fabric with right side together.
6. Press seam allowances to top fabric side, and stitch.
7. Cut a little extra seam allowances at the sides. (about 2cm from the opening)
How to make the tote bag with drawstring
1. Insert the lining bag into the exterior bag with the right side together and sew around the entrance. (Leave about a 7cm opening to turn right side out.)
2. Remove the bastings from the handle.
3. Press seam allowances open, and turn the bag 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. Then thread the cord through the drawstring portion. Your tote bag with drawstring is now complete.
Following is the video for how-to.