It’s time for a vacation! I know I just got back from San Antonio, but my sister and I planned an April trip to Cape Cod last year that includes my mom and nieces and it’s almost here! Yay! I had some great beach-themed fabrics by Hoodie’s Collection (no longer available through Timeless Treasures Fabrics) and Emily Herrick that I picked up last September and I finally figured out what to do with them. It is a vacation tote! It is the perfect size for fitting all your souvenirs, beach necessities, groceries…whatever! I would rate this as a perfect beginner project. There are no fancy sewing techniques used, the cutting is straightforward and it should take less than 4 hours to make.
Wow! Writing a tutorial is no easy business. I hope that you have as much fun making the tote as I did. You may follow along in this post or download the printable version FREE at Craftsy by clicking here. Email me any questions! Enjoy!
|¾ yard heavy fusible interfacing (D)
|½ yard outside center/binding fabric (B/F)
|½ yard solid heavy weight fabric for outside (A/C/H) for top and lower third sections and handles. (Corduroy used here although denim would be good too)
|¾ yard inside lining fabric (E)
|½ yard for pockets (G)
|If you’d like, you may add a button, snap, or even insert a zipper to close the tote however that was not done for this pattern
|Use ¼” seam allowance unless otherwise noted. Remember to always backstitch.
Cut all fabric to size. Cut 2 each of the following:
|A – Outer panel (top) 2.5” x 20”
|B – Outer panel (center) 10” x 20”
|C – Outer panel (bottom) 7.5” x 20”
|D – Interfacing 18.75” x 19.5”
|E – Inner lining 20” x 20”
|F – Pocket binding 1.5” x 20”
|G – Pocket 9.5” x 20”
|H – Handles 4” x 24”
Sew outer panel pieces together along the width of the fabric. Sew one top section (A) to one center section (B) and the center (B) to one bottom section (C). Repeat. Press open seam allowances.
Adhere the fusible interfacing (D) to the wrong side of the outer panel fabric sections. You should be about ¼” from all edges of the outer panel.
On the wrong side of the fabric, sew the sides and bottom of the assembled outer panels together leaving the top open.
Step 5 – Squaring the bottom of the bag (sewing the gussets)
Sit your bag up on its bottom. You will have both edges of the bottom sit out naturally like a triangle in order for your bag to stand up. Take those corners and make a mark 2.5” from the corner tip of each side your bag. Cut ¼” on the outside edge of that line.
You should now have an outside panel piece that looks similar to this:
Prepare your binding pieces (F) to sew to the pockets (G). Press the binding in half wrong sides together. Line up the raw edge of the binding with the raw edge of the wrong side of pocket section. Sew in place. Flip the binding to the right side of the fabric. Overlap the stitch you have created slightly with your binding, and sew in place. This will be about 1/8” from the edge of your binding. Repeat process with other pocket.
Sew pocket to the inside lining section (E). Measure 6 inches from the bottom edge of the inside lining. Place the bottom edge of the pocket at this measurement, right sides together. Stitch along the edge of the fabric. Flip up and press pocket in place. Repeat.
Choose the number of pockets you’d like in your tote and mark their location. You do not have to sew the sides because they will be stitched in place later.
Stitch the locations of your pockets in place. Slightly overlap and backstitch at the binding.
Repeat steps 4 and 5 of the exterior construction for your inside lining however leave about a 4” opening in the bottom of the lining to pull it through later.
Slide your interior lining over the outer panel which has been turned right side out. Pin the right sides of your inside lining and outside panels together and stitch along the top edge. This picture shows the middle of the two sections, at the top of the bag, where you will be stitching:
Pull the exterior of your bag through the hole you made at the bottom of your lining. Stitch the bottom of the lining to close the opening with a top stitch on your machine or you may hand sew.
Press along the top edge of your tote bag then run a top stitch to secure lining.
Step 14 – Handles (H)
Press a small section of either end of the handle in towards the wrong side of the fabric and stitch in place. Press the handle sections in half, wrong sides together.
Open the handle. You will notice a center crease which was created by the iron. Press each half section on either side of that seam line toward each other then press in half again. Repeat.
Sew along all 4 sides of the handle sections.
Attach the handles to your tote bag with pins and sew in place.
That’s it! You’re done! This is an easy ½ day project. Have fun!