Open Tote Bag Sewing Pattern

Open Tote Bag Sewing Pattern

Difficulty: Easy

Materials List
(for one 18"x 13"x 7" bag)


1-3/8 yd. sturdy fabric, such as canvas, denim, Cordura, or pack cloth, at least 44" wide (Note: This is enough fabric for two bags)

Optional: contrasting fabric for bottom (see Option 2, below, for measurements)


3-1/4 yd. of 1-1/2" webbing

chalk or other marker

ruler Optional: decorative patch, label, or appliqué

1. Prepare fabric
Cut fabric to 22"x 48", with length on the lengthwise grain.Prepare fabric

2. Prepare webbing
a. Clean-finish ends of webbing: sear nylon and polypropylene; stitch or fold under cotton and blends.Clean-finish endsButt ends together snugly; stitch back and forth several times to secure. (Note: Be sure webbing isn't twisted before stitching.)

b. Quarter-mark webbing, using butt joint as one of the four marks.

c. Measure and mark 6" to either side of two opposite quarter marks (this will define two 12" segments, the handles).Quarter-mark webbing

d. Fold webbing in half lengthwise along each 12" segment. Edgestitch to form handles.

3. Apply webbing
a. Mark center bottom line midway across width of fabric. Mark webbing placement lines on right side, 8-1/2" in from each long edge.Mark center bottom line

b. Position webbing on right side of fabric, inside edges along placement lines, positioning butt joint and remaining quarter mark on center bottom line; handles will loop over ends of panel. Pin.

c. Edgestitch webbing, beginning and ending about 5" from each edge of panel.Position webbing

4. Stitch side seams and hem
a. Fold panel right sides together along center bottom line. Stitch or serge side seams, using 1/2" seam allowance. Optional: Trim seam allowance to 1/4" and clean-finish if not serged.

b. Fold top raw edge under 1"; finger-press.

Fold under again 1"; finger-press. Edgestitch.

5. Create bottom
a. Flatten one corner to create a triangular point, aligning side seam with center bottom line.

b. Mark a 7"-long line perpendicular to seam, 3-1/2" from point. Stitch along line. Stitch again 1/8" from seam, toward point, to reinforce. Repeat for other corner.

6. Finish bagFinish bag
Finish stitching webbing to bag at top, to within 3/4" of edge. Reinforce between stitching lines, using a narrow zigzag.

Option: Make a Classic Open Tote in any size. To determine cutting dimensions, use this formula:
Length will be finished height times two, plus finished depth, plus 2"­5" (2" for smaller bags, up to 5" for larger bags).

Width will be finished width, plus finished depth, plus 1"­2" (1" for smaller bags, up to 2" for larger bags).

Webbing will be finished height times four, plus finished depth times two, plus finished handle length times two (handle length generally ranges from 10" each for teeny totes to 16" each for grocery-bag-size totes.