Check out these free tote bag sewing patterns, which range from the simplest single fabric tote to complex designs with pockets and adjustable straps. These tote bag patterns are ideal for anyone looking to make use of leftover scraps or a brand-new yard of fabric.
What is a tote bag?
A tote bag is a large bag with two handles that is easily accessible or not closed. Canvas bags, cotton bags, patchwork bags, jute bags, and so much more are all common kinds of tote bags.
Tote bags have been popular since the 1960s. They are well-known for being fashionable and spacious enough to carry your essentials everywhere. Not only that, they even serve as eco-friendly alternatives to plastic bags. The versatility of a tote bag makes it a practical choice for any occasion, from a relaxing beach day to a quick trip to the grocery store.
What you need to know before you start
Before beginning sewing a tote bag pattern as a beginner, we recommend that you acquire a reliable sewing machine. As hand-sewing items can be fairly time-consuming, it would greatly simplify the procedure. Check out our recommendations for Sewing Machine for Beginners – Tips for Choosing the Best, where we explain the structure, the many types of sewing machines, and the considerations to consider before purchasing a sewing machine.
Some tote bag sewing patterns may require hand-sewing throughout the process, so if you’re new to sewing, we strongly suggest you check out our How To Hand Sew to become acquainted with hand-sewing fundamentals and the basic tools required. This would be extremely beneficial for any beginner who wishes to attempt diy tote bag by sewing.
Materials and Tools you may need
- sewing machine
- rotary cutter and mat/ scissors
- measuring tape, fabric marking pen, sewing pins, clips
- exterior fabric
- lining fabric if you’re hoping to make a lined tote bag
- interfacing/ stabilizer
- fusible fleece
- zipper/ magnetic snaps/ metal grommets
How much fabric do I need to make a tote bag?
The length of fabric needed would depend on the size and pattern of the tote bag you intend to sew. For a large-sized tote, for example, it is best to prepare 1.5 to 2 yards of fabric (about 54″ – 72″ x 54″) for the bag body and handles. A medium or smaller-sized tote would require approximately 1 yard or less of fabric (approx. 36″ x 64″).
How to make a tote bag?
- Read through the sewing pattern, make sure you understand the instructions, and feel confident that you will be able to complete it.
- Get everything you’ll need. Prepare more fabric than is asked for in case something goes wrong and you need a spare.
- Wash and iron your fabrics. The main reasons for washing your fabric before using it are to preshrink it, test its colorfastness, and remove any chemicals.
Read more on how to pre-wash your fabric.
- Download and print out the sewing template if there is any.
- Follow the instruction closely to cut the fabric pieces and stitch them up.
- Start sewing and share your completed DIY tote bag on Facebook and/or Instagram. Remember to tag us @craftpassion so that we can see them.
- Pin it to Pinterest for a future To-Sew List.
- Share with your sewing groups for a sew-along event.
- Browse more free sewing patterns to make, especially sewing bags and purses.
21 Free Tote Bag Patterns To Sew
Looking into the wide variety of different tote bag sewing patterns may seem intimidating at first, but once you've got the measurements and pieces of fabric laid out, trust the process and you'll eventually end up with a cute tote of your own!
Now that we've settled the basics, let's hop right into our compilation of tote bag sewing patterns for you to choose from!
classic tote bag sewing patterns
2 Tote Bags From 1 Yard Of Fabric
The magic behind this is that you can create TWO bags out of 1 yard of exterior fabric as it comes with a large and a small tote bag sewing pattern! Its simple yet chic design would totally fit in your work office.
This tote bag pattern also teaches you how to sew your very own Japanese-style handles. The small tote is about 15″ (W) x 10″ (H) while the big tote is 20″ (W) x 15″ (H).
With its colorful geometrical fabric design, the fabric of this tote could easily pass for a patchwork piece! Its even pieced together with variegated thread to give it a more vibrant look.
This free bag pattern produces a tote with rows of parallel lines on its handles and a bottom insert so it could stand upright on its own.
Tote Bag - Pattern In 2 Sizes
A trip to a library would'nt be complete without this sweet yet sturdy apple green cottage bag.
This tote bag sewing pattern even includes a tutorial on how to sew a recessed zipper closure which provides extra security. It even has a cute flap pocket and dual coloured handles to go with its soft candied aesthetic.
The Twenty Minute Tote
Running out of time and you can't seem to come up with a gift for your friend? Try out this easy tote bag sewing pattern.
This could also be used as a canvas bag pattern and its as easy as pie! Its minimalistic and just right when you need to go to the gym or grab a quick bite.
World's Easiest Tote Bag
Here's a chic classy tote bag pattern for you to try out if you happen to have leftover fabric from any previous sewing projects. Get resourceful!
Its simple and comes with a zipper and side pocket. The opening is also fastened with magnetic snaps, making it more accessible for you.
The Picnic Tote
This modest picnic tote is bound to complete your latest summer outfits. Can you imagine pairing this adorable tote bag with your elegant sundress on a picnic date?
Its got double pattern panels that are separated by a set of shoulder straps stretching all the way to the bottom of the bag. It even has an interior pocket for you to store your tissues and cards!
Divided Tote Bag
Divided by a zipper pocket, this tote comprises of a few cheeky compartments for you to store your everyday essentials. Its got dimensions of about 12"(W)x8.5"(H)x4"(D), making it a great office or tuition bag.
quilted tote bag sewing patterns
Fall Quilted Tote Bag
This pleasant quilted tote would make a great essential for the arrival of winter or fall. Doesn't it have a real cozy and homely feel to it?
This patchwork tote bag pattern combines 5 different colored prints for the front and back of the bag's body but you may use as little or as many as you'd like.
Fabric Basket Tote Bag
This easy quilted tote bag pattern has a bound top edge and a quilted middle with a piping that gives it a sweet delicate look, suitable for a date or even nice lunch gathering with your friends. It could even work as a purse given its 2 interior pockets. You can choose between a magnetic snap or a zipper for closure.
Reversible tote bag sewing patterns
Back & Forth Reversible Tote Bag
Is it always a struggle for you to find the right bag to match your cute outfits? Try out this reversible tote bag pattern then!
Since its a quilted bag, you're free to use fabrics of your own choice for each side. This two-in-one bag even has a unique tie-closure.
Reversible Jumbo Tote Bag
This oversized tote bag would be pretty useful during your weekly visit to the grocery store with its huge storage space and user-friendly design.
The pattern comes with 2 sets of handles , the long set to sling on the shoulder and the short one to be held on your hand. You could even roll it up and pocket it, making it super portable!
sturdy tote bag sewing patterns
Oversized Beach Tote Bag
Carrying all your belongings to the beach or swimming pool could be a hassle so we've got you covered with this heavy-duty beach bag!
One unique feature about this bag is rope handles which are attached by metal grommets, keeping it durable to store any of your bulky items. It even has a pom-pom trim which adds a burst of color to the design.
How to Sew a Notions Catch-all Tote
This floral catch-all tote is made to be sturdy, its structure giving it the ability to stand upright all on its own. Its even got quite a few pockets making it a multi-purpose carrier so you could easily transport your sewing supplies or even stow away your textbooks and tumbler.
Market tote bag sewing patterns
Market Tote Bag Pattern (3 Sizes)
The beauty of this market tote lies in the contrasting fabric that makes up the body of the tote. With its interior slip pockets, you could just store your handphone and cash alongside your delicate market produce.
Additionally, its multi-purpose! Its got a wide square base so it could be converted into spacious basket or bin!
Wave Pocket Market Tote
With vibrant patterns adorning this market tote, it is sure to catch the eyes of unbeknownst passerbys. Its wave pocket design gives it its distinctive feature.
This pattern allows for 4 pockets lined with piping on each side of the bag plus 2 pockets on the inside, perfect for anyone with lots of smaller belongings to stash away!
leather tote bag sewing patterns
Plaid Flannel Fall Tote Bag - Sewing Tutorial
Looking to sew yourself something for this fall season? We've got you covered with this elegant flannel tote bag!
Its paired with a set of faux leather corded handles and deep pockets on the side, giving a real refined appearance. Its even got a row of patch pockets on the inside for more storage space!
Do note that you will need a leather needle for this unless you're hoping to replace the faux leather with a fabric of your own.
4-Step Leather Tote Bag
Leather is smooth to the touch and gives your bag a durable body so if you don't have any stabilizers, this project is for you.
This super simple leather tote bag pattern only requires FOUR steps which could easily be pulled off by a beginner. Its flat rectangular shape allows you a perfect fit for your laptop or sketchbooks.
Do note that a leather needle is required for this tote bag sewing pattern to be carried out seamlessly (pun intended).
easy tote bag sewing patterns
DIY SIMPLE TOTE BAG | How to make a Shopping Bag - Easy Sewing !! [sewingtimes]
Check out this super simple to make shopping bag! Its got these drawstring handles that act as a form of closure, giving it a cute ruffled effect at the top. If you're a newbie, we believe this easy tote bag pattern that's free is a great starting point!
1 Yard Hobo-Style Tote Bag
Got an extra yard of fabric leftover from your previous project? Why not sew yourself this lovely hobo bag? This tote bag sewing pattern requires minimal effort to nail down and all you need to know is a little bit of cloth origami.
DIY WINDMILL TOTE BAG
Want to sew yourself an easy yet unique tote? Have a go at this lined tote bag sewing pattern! Its called a windmill tote bag because the fabric panels are arranged into a windmill-like shape before being sewn together to make this simplistic bag.
DIY tank top totes: six pockets or gathered
If you've got some worn-out tank tops sitting at the back of your closet, don't throw them out just yet! How about repurposing them into these cute tank top totes. You could even choose between a gathered base or exterior pockets.
Here's a tip: use tanks that have the same front and back neckline to ensure that the bag is symmetrical.