How to make a quilted tote bag

Yesterday I posted a picture of a tote bag I made.

I made another today (this one is larger) and I took pictures of the steps to make it.

I started with the snowflake applique that I made in this video.

You could use any other quilt block or just plain fabric.

I trimmed the block to 18″ x 20″  and then sewed on another piece of fabric also 18″ x 20″ .


I layered it for quilting using 2 layers of Dream Green batting ( 2 layers makes the bag have more body) and muslin for the backing.


I used 505 basting spray ( pin basting would work well too) .


Next I did the quilting.


I did stippling with white thread in the snowflake and an arc patter with red thread in the background.


on the solid red portion I used white thread.


Next I trimmed the excess backing and batting ( measure the finished size of this because you will need this measurement to cut the lining) and folded it in half along the seam line (right sides together).


then sew it on 2 sides leaving the top open.


Next I make box corners on the 2 bottom corners.   Open the bag out as shown in the picture, pulling the sided out to make a corner as shown .


Then mark a stitch line …..line up the 45 on your ruler and then use the measurement along the top to draw the line.( mine is at 5.5 inches  but you can vary the size depending on how big the bag is).


Then sew on the line.


Then cut off the point.


Do the same on the other corner and then turn the bag right side out.


Here is the inside. (all the raw edges will be hidden with a lining in a later step).


Now turn in the top edge ( I turned in 1.5 inches) It might help to press this down.


Now to make the handles I cut 2  7 inch  by 20 inch pieces of red fabric.


press in half.


then fold the two edges into the center and press.


then fold on half again and stitch along the edges.

pin the handles to the bag on the inside.


stitch around the entire bag (3/4 inch down from the top).


now to make the lining cut a piece of fabric the same size as the finished top was and fold it in half right sides together.


sew the edges as we did for the bag.

and then do the same size box corners.

dscn1470 dscn1471

now put the lining inside the bag and line up the corners in the bottom .


fold under the top edge and pin into place.


then sew about 1/4 inch from the top edge.


that is how I made it……

here is the back


and here they both are


I made the smaller bag the same way, just a smaller fabric ….

Teddy watched to be sure I didn’t make a mistake.


Happy Quilting


30 thoughts on “How to make a quilted tote bag

  1. Anne Kasten says:

    Oh but someone is going to love this! Wish it were me, but alas you must have other plans for it. It is not in your etsy store. All your pieces are special, but these two are even more so. thank you so much for sharing.

  2. Patricia McCollum says:

    Beautiful!! So is Teddy!

  3. Patricia Hoffman says:


  4. Thank you Tim. I think this will be just perfect to hang on the back of my Sisters wheelchair. She wants it big enough to put her to-go box from the restaurant in it. 🙂

  5. Very nice tutorial! I like how the snowflakes are off center. It’s very modern and graphic like that.

  6. Susan says:

    Thanks, Tim, for another excellent ‘how-to’! And Teddy is too cute for words…

  7. Emily says:

    You make it all look so easy!! Your sewing is delightful:) thanks for sharing:)

  8. judysew4th says:

    Your talent and generosity never cease to inspire me! Thank you. Dougal ( pictured in fabric) sends a woof woof to Teddy too?

  9. Sara says:

    Now fill it with fat quarters and have it ready for your next projects!
    Very nice!

  10. Sherry Southgate says:

    It looks easy when you see it done in pictures. So much better for a non-confident sewer than reading the instructions in a pattern. Thanks, Tim!

  11. Kathy says:

    Tim, I am just one of your many admirers. I love to pop in once a week and see what you and Teddy are up to. Your creativity simply astonishes me! Wishing you a lovely and productive holiday season!

  12. Pam G says:

    Love this bag! Such inspiration… Teddy is looking so cute!

  13. Irene Vernon says:

    Thank you Tim for such wonderful instructions

  14. Clara Zolud says:

    Thank you Tim! Love your bags. The snowflakes is an excellent touch. Happy Thanksgiving and Gobble till you Wobble, lol

  15. Wow! Really nice tutorial on tote bag!


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