D.I.Y Durable, Reusable, Tote Shopping Bag

This durable tote bag is easy to make and there is no serger required!
  • Scissors
  • Thread to match fabric 
  • Thread to match webbing (if a different colour than your fabric)
  • Iron & Ironing board
  • Wash away marking tool (pen/pencil/chalk)
  • Clear Ruler for making markings
  • 1.1 metres of fabric- we suggest cotton or cotton/linen canvas fabric
  • 1.5 metres of webbing- we used cotton but polypropylene webbing would work too
  1. Cut 1 piece of fabric 41” long by 20.25” wide. If the print on your fabric is directional make sure the print is going in the direction you would like it to. Cut 2 pieces of webbing that are 30” long.
  2. On both short ends mark a 2” line with your marking tool. Take your piece to the iron, fold along this marked line and crease in place with the iron. Then turn under your raw edge to meet the inside of the crease you just made and press again. This should give you a 1” finished hem. Repeat this process on the other edge of the bag. 
  3. Pin your hem in place. Take the bag piece to your sewing machine and edgestitch the hem in place with thread that matches your bag fabric. Stitch the hem on the other side of the bag in the same way. 
  4. Strap placement: Fold the top edge of the bag in half and place a pin at the halfway point. Measure over and mark 2” from the pin and 1” from that marking. Repeat on the other side of the pin. Your webbing will be placed between these two marked lines.  Mark the placement of your straps on the other edge of your bag using the same technique. 
  5. Take one piece of webbing and line up the raw edge between one fold and the other (of the 1” hemmed edge). Pin the strap end in place. Making sure your strap isn’t twisted, line up the other side of your webbing and pin in place. Repeat for the other strap on the other side of the bag. 
  6. At your sewing machine stitch the webbing in place along your original stitching line from hemming the top of the bag. As this stitching won’t show there is no need to change your thread colour if you are using a contrast colour for your webbing. Repeat this process for the other three unsewn webbing strap ends. 
  7. If your webbing is a different colour than your bag you can change the thread colours at this time if you wish. Stitch your webbing in place from the right side of your bag with an ‘X’ as shown in the video. You can always mark your ‘X’ with a marking tool if you wish.  Repeat this step for the other three strap ends. 
  8. Switch your thread back to match your bag fabric (if applicable). French seam your sideseams. Place the fabric wrong-sides together and sew the two sides using a 1/4” seam allowance. Press your seam allowance to one side, turn your bag right-side out and stitch the sideseams again with a 3/8” seam allowance (this will encase the raw cut edge). Don’t forget to backstitch at the beginning and end of your seam.
  9. Sew your corners: With your bag inside-out, open the sideseam on one side of your bag and mark your sewing line. We marked ours 3.5” from the corner point and 7” across the bag. This gives our bag a 7” depth. Mark the sewing line on the other side of the bag the same way. Place pins near your marking to hold the two layers in place while you sew.
  10. Sew across your marked line making sure to backstitch at the beginning and end on both sides of your bag. 
  11. Turn your bag right-side out. 
  12. Optional step: Put a piece of stabilizer or template plastic inside the bottom of your bag to give it more strength and shape. For this bag we cut a piece that was 11.5”x7”. 
Congratulations on completing your bag!


  • Sun, 03/01/2020 - 10:05 reply
    THANK YOU FOR this viideo of how to make a bag. I will be making several of this!!

Leave a Comment