How to sew a checkered tote bag (sewing pattern is not necessary)

Today’s handmade work is a “DIY checkered tote bag“. It is a simple tote bag without zippers or pockets. It is also simple to make, so even beginners can easily make it.

tote bag with houndstooth check

You can use a ruler to draw lines directly on the fabric and cut it, so there is no need for a paper pattern. It’s also relatively easy to use a sewing machine for this project, as only straight stitches are used.

The finished size is about 15cm x 24cm, with a gusset length of about 8cm, 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.

Materials

The two pieces of fabric for the exterior are 16cm x 34cm. (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 two bottom pieces of fabric are 8cm x 34cm. (Seam allowances are included, interfacing to be attached)

bottom patch fabrics

The two pieces of fabric for the lining are 21.5cm x 33.5cm. (Seam allowances are included)

inner fabrics

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.)

handles

How to make the exterior

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

sew the outer fabric and bottom patch

2. Press seam allowances over to the bottom side, and stitch at the edge.

press seam allowances to bottom side
stitch

3. Baste the fabric and the handles together.

place the handle
baste the fabric and handle

4. The remaining fabric should be sewn in the same way.

other fabrics do the same way

How to make the bag body (exterior)

1. Place the exterior fabrics with right sides facing each other and sew the side and bottom.

sew the side and bottom

2. Cut off extra fabric, and the 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
sew the gusset

3. Cut a little extra seam allowances at the sides. (about 2.5cm from the opening)

cut the extra seam allowances

How to make bag body (lining)

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 gussets, and sew.

cut off extra cloth
sew the gussets

3. Cut a little extra seam allowance at the sides. (about 2.5cm from the opening)

cut the extra seam allowances

How to make the tote bag

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.)

sew around

2. Remove the bastings from the handle.

unseam the bastings

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

press seam allowances open
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.

stitch

5. Finally, apply a finishing iron to give the bag a nice shape. Your checkered tote bag is now complete.

checkered tote bag

Following is the video for how-to.

How to sew a checkered tote bag (sewing pattern is not necessary) – YouTube