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Cost
$ $ $ $ $
Difficulty
• • • • •
Time
1h45

A bold, colorful tote bag perfect for totin' all your essentials!
I'm sort of in love with this project. It looks really advanced, but the sewing itself is absolutely basic. It does apply some techniques like rivets and grommet that I hadn't actually used before this project, and I can assure you that you shouldn't be intimidated by them. In fact, they were so easy that my head is sort of twirling with ideas of other projects on which I can put these bad boys to use.

Before you get started, I would also note that you don't have to use a striped fabric like this one, but using a big bold black and white pattern will give the colored details a special little pop that makes the bag unique.

Posted by Mandy P // Fabric Paper Glue from Washington, District of Columbia, United States • Published See Mandy P // Fabric Paper Glue's 7 projects »
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  • How to make a tote bag. Stripes + Color Tote Bag - Step 1
    Step 1

    Materials:
    4 - Large Grommets (and installation tools)*
    8 - Small Rivets (and installation tools)*
    Hammer
    Hole Punch
    4 - 18" Leather Laces
    2 - 18" x 1/2" Leather Straps**
    2 - Jewelry Jump Ring (or other small metal rings)
    Pliers
    Thread
    Sewing Machine
    2 - 16" x 17.5" cuts of a heavy canvas-like Bold Striped Fabric (with the stripes running parallel to the shorter side)
    2 - 16" x 17.5" cuts of a Bright Solid Fabric for the lining
    1 - 13" x 9.5" cut of the the Bright Solid Fabric
    3 - 4" x 12" cuts of Super Heavy Interfacing
    2 - 2.5" x 10" cuts of Super Heavy Interfacing

    *Most grommets come with the installation tools you'll need for them (except for a hammer). For the rivets, you can buy a starter kit that includes a variety of rivet sizes and the tools you'll need to set them (again, except for a hammer).

    **Unfortunately, I don't have a home run source for brightly colored leather strapping. I ordered mine from Etsy seller all 4 handmade, but I wish they'd offered the bright colors in wider straps.

  • How to make a tote bag. Stripes + Color Tote Bag - Step 2
    Step 2

    Center, pin, and stitch each of the 2.5" x 10" cuts of heavy interfacing to the top, back edge of each of the cuts of striped fabric.

  • How to make a tote bag. Stripes + Color Tote Bag - Step 3
    Step 3

    Pin the two cuts of striped fabric together with the right sides facing one another. The top edge with the heavy interfacing will be the bag's opening. Sew around each of the bag's other three edges.

  • How to make a tote bag. Stripes + Color Tote Bag - Step 4
    Step 4

    Box the corners to give the bag some shape by forming a triangle at the corner edge such that the bottom and side seams are touching. Mark a line perpendicular to the seams about 3" from the corner.

  • How to make a tote bag. Stripes + Color Tote Bag - Step 5
    Step 5

    Stitch on this line and trim the excess fabric.

  • How to make a tote bag. Stripes + Color Tote Bag - Step 6
    Step 6

    With the exception of the first step involving the heavy interfacing, repeat these steps with the lining fabric, but leave a hole about 3" wide in the bottom seam to pull the bag right-side-out once you've stitched everything together.

  • How to make a tote bag. Stripes + Color Tote Bag - Step 7
    Step 7

    Place the lining inside of the outer bag. The right sides of both components should be facing one another. Pin.

  • How to make a tote bag. Stripes + Color Tote Bag - Step 8
    Step 8

    Double stitch them together around the top.

  • How to make a tote bag. Stripes + Color Tote Bag - Step 9
    Step 9

    Pull everything through the hole you left in the lining.

  • How to make a tote bag. Stripes + Color Tote Bag - Step 10
    Step 10

    To give the bottom stability, create a panel to attach to the bag's lining. To do this, take the 13" x 9.5" cut of lining fabric and fold it into thirds such that it ends up being 4" wide like the remaining heavy interface pieces and the fabric overlap is centered (see photos). Stitch along the two outside edges.

  • How to make a tote bag. Stripes + Color Tote Bag - Step 11
    Step 11

    Turn the piece right side out, and slip in the remaining 4" x 12" interface pieces.

  • How to make a tote bag. Stripes + Color Tote Bag - Step 12
    Step 12

    Take the edges of the opening of this bottom piece and pin them to the bottom seam of the bag's lining.

  • How to make a tote bag. Stripes + Color Tote Bag - Step 13
    Step 13

    Stitch together. I did this step by hand, but feel free to do it on the machine if you can maneuver it.

  • How to make a tote bag. Stripes + Color Tote Bag - Step 14
    Step 14

    Now tuck the lining in the bag, and press.

  • How to make a tote bag. Stripes + Color Tote Bag - Step 15
    Step 15

    On one side of the bag, position one of the grommets about an 1.5" from the top and side. Trace the inside of the grommet onto the bag and cut out.

  • How to make a tote bag. Stripes + Color Tote Bag - Step 16
    Step 16

    Install the grommet according to the directions on the packaging. You're doing this just for a single side. Do not combine the two sides of the purse with the grommet. Like I said, this was the first time I've worked with grommets, and at first, I thought I was doing it wrong because it didn't seem to be working. Just know that it took about 50 good whacks of the hammer for each grommet.

  • How to make a tote bag. Stripes + Color Tote Bag - Step 17
    Step 17

    Repeat in the the other corner and on each corner on the opposite side.

  • How to make a tote bag. Stripes + Color Tote Bag - Step 18
    Step 18

    On each end of the 1/2" wide leather straps, punch two holes just big enough for the rivet to slip through. The bottom hole on each end should be about a 1/2" from the edge with the next one about 1" from the edge.

  • How to make a tote bag. Stripes + Color Tote Bag - Step 19
    Step 19

    On each side of the bag, position the strap ends about 3" from the bag's center point, and place a mark where the holes in your strap ends are. You should be able to use your same hole punch to punch these holes in the fabric.

  • How to make a tote bag. Stripes + Color Tote Bag - Step 20
    Step 20

    The rivets that you use should only be about as long as the thickness of the fabric + straps together. Install the rivets according to the directions with your installation kit. I also watched this video, which I found really helpful. These are super easy to install and only take about 2 to 3 whacks of the hammer. Repeat the strap/rivet installation process on the other side of the bag.

  • How to make a tote bag. Stripes + Color Tote Bag - Step 21
    Step 21

    On each side of the bag, thread 2 of the leather laces through the grommets you installed earlier. Join them together using a small metal jewelry jump ring. Separate the ring with a set of pliers, install it around the two laces, and squeeze it tight around the leather. Repeat on the other side.

  • How to make a tote bag. Stripes + Color Tote Bag - Step 22
    Step 22

    Now your bag is complete!

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