Simple Tote Tutorial & Banner Label DIY

Yippee, Valentine’s is coming! So I whipped up this little tote for one of my sweet little nieces.

cute little tote tutorial

Believe it or not, a lined tote is supah-dupah easy to make. Come make one with me!

01 cute little tote tutorial

They aren’t necessary, but if you have a rotary cutter, quilt ruler, and cutting mat, the cuts go a lot faster.

02 cute little tote tutorial

You will need to cut four pieces of fabric: one bag body, one bag liner, and two handles. The body and liner pieces are each 9″ x 14″. The handle pieces are each 4″ x 13″. [I trim the straps in a later step, but I like to have the flexibility the extra fabric length gives me. After all, it’s a lot easier to trim than to lengthen fabric.]

03 cute little tote tutorial

Fold the body and lining pieces in half, right sides together. Fold the handles in towards the center and then in half with the right sides out (more detail in next picture below).

04 cute little tote tutorial

If you want to make the handles a bit stiffer, you can tuck in a strip of fuseable interfacing (but that is not necessary). Sew along the long open edge of each strap. Set the straps aside for now to work on the bag’s body and lining.

05 cute little tote tutorial

Sew a straight seam along each side of your body piece (leaving top open and bottom folded). Repeat for liner piece.

06 cute little tote tutorial

Then, fold the side seam of the body in toward the bottom fold, lining up the side seam and the fold.

07 cute little tote tutorial

Then sew straight across the corner, perpendicular to the seam & bottom fold. Trim off the excess corner fabric. Then repeat the fold, sew, and trim for the other corner of the body piece and for both corners of the liner piece.

08 cute little tote tutorial

Then turn your body piece right-side-out, and you will have gusseted corners.

09 cute little tote tutorial

You will also have gusseted corners on the liner piece, but leave it inside-out.

10 cute little tote tutorial

Decide where and at what length you would like to have your straps/handles.

11 cute little tote tutorial

Then pin the straps in place, right sides together (so basically pin the straps upside-down to the outside top of the bag).

12 cute little tote tutorial

Next, tuck the right-side-out body piece (with straps still pinned on) inside the inside-out liner piece (is that confusing enough??). So now your pieces are right sides together with the straps hidden between the two layers. Line up the side seams and openings of the body and liner pieces.

13 cute little tote tutorial

Then sew almost all the way around the top, starting at the beginning of one strap and going all the way around to the end of the last strap, leaving the space open between where the fourth straps ends and the first one begins.

14 cute little tote tutorial

So it will look like this. Then, trim off the extra handle length and remove the pins.

15 cute little tote tutorial

Next turn the bag right-side-out through the open seam.

16 cute little tote tutorial

It will look a bit like a mirrored image…

17 cute little tote tutorial

But tuck the lining inside the bag, and things will start to shape up!

18 cute little tote tutorial

Finally, fold the open seam in, and sew it closed, continuing on all the way around the bag opening as a nice finish detail.

19 cute little tote tutorial

And shazaam, you have a tote!

20 cute little tote tutorial

Sissy was happy to give it a test run for me. So I thought it would be sweet to have her kind of gaze down adoringly at the slightly open tote, showing the size and lining and cuteness of it all in one fell swoop…

21 cute little tote tutorial

*sigh* This is what I got… Soooo…

So much for my career in art direction. I guess I had better stick to crafting and sewing.

Ahem, but I digress.

22 DIY custom banner label

Since this is a gift for one of my adorbs-able little nieces, I wanted to add a custom bit of love. So in Word, I inserted a “down ribbon” (>insert >shape >down ribbon).

23 DIY custom banner label

Then I tapped out a little message in two fun fonts: “Pea Sugar Noodles” and “Pea Lovey Dovey.” You can download super cute free fronts from Fonts For Peas. I love that!

24 DIY custom banner label

Then, print out your label on iron-on transfer paper, cut it out, and iron it onto the lining of your tote.

25 DIY custom banner label

Voila! One cute little personalized tote ready to give! [Oh gracious, I hope she loves it!]

So, anyone else out there handmaking a little Valentine’s goodness? Do tell!


17 responses to “Simple Tote Tutorial & Banner Label DIY

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  7. Thank you for the tutorial. I am going to make one for my granddaughter and grandson but with a small flap on the front and a snap or Velcro to close it. They will be dolly diaper bags filled with a sewed doll bib, a tiny burp cloth, a doll diaper and pretend baby wipes. They have a new brother coming soon and since they got dolls for Christmas I thought what a great time for a doll diaper bag and accessories. My grandson’s will be with jean fabric and my granddaughter’s floral and plaid in vintage fabric. I hope they love this simple bag as much I do. The size is perfect for them.


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  9. This is totally awesome and easy. I made one for my granddaughter out of Sally and Jack Skellington fabric. She totally love them.


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