This simple tote bag pattern is perfect for mass production or beginners.
We made one for each our Girl Scouts bridging up to Brownies.
This would be a great project for any beginning sewer and even a wonderful troop activity, there are many places that will rent out their sewing rooms for an hour or sew. Jo-ann and many other locally owned sewing shops that have machines would welcome troops. Be sure to call ahead and inquire about pricing.
CUT: (seam allowance in included in the pattern)
For one bag you will need:
One piece of fabric for the main body: 15 inches wide x 34 inches long
Two pieces of fabric for the straps: 3 1/2 inches wide x 24 inches long*
*For child size straps, 20 inches in length works best.
The fabric I used was a medium weight canvas, lightweight would work find as well.
Iron each strap, so that a half inch of the fabric folds to the inside (wrong side) of the fabric. Do this on both lengthwise sides.
Iron the entire strap in half with the two folded edges lining up. Pin the strap so the edges stay together.
Take the large bag piece and fold it in half wrong sides together. (The blue fold arrows will help show where this initial fold is in relation to all the other folds).
Take one layer of the fabric and move it as if to unfold it. Stop 2 inches before the fabric unfolds completely and press the fabric down. This will make a 2 inch pleat.
Your side should look like this when one part of the bag is folded. Flip the bag over to fold the other side the same way.
Your bag should lay like the image on the right. Right sides of the fabric should be together. The bag folds should look like this:
Pin your bag. Once all the items are pinned they should look like this:
Sew the straps along both sides lengthwise, as the blue lines indicate.
Sew the bag, with about 3/8 an inch seam allowance. Sewn pieces should look like this:
I trimmed the seam allowance on my bag with pinking shears, but a small trim and zig zag stitch would work well too.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER:
With your bag still inside out. Fold down and press a 1/2 inch hem around the top of the bag. THEN fold down a 1 inch hem and press. (The 1/2 inch hem will be folded inside the 1 inch hem).
Slide one strap into the folded hem of the bag. The ends of the strap should go flush with the hem fold. Fold the straps up and pin. This will make your straps extra sturdy.
Flip your bag over and repeat with the other strap on the other side of the bag. One strap per side.
Sew the hem with the straps along the top and bottom of the hem fold, as shown above.
Flip your bag inside out and enjoy! The bottom corners of your bag should look like this from the outside:
We designed some iron ons that we printed for us and our girls. Here is my bag after one year of use, with some extra pins.
If there is something I forgot or needs clarification, please comment below.