A simple lined tote bag tutorial

I have been meaning to share some free tutorials for things I make for a while and will share more shortly. Today I thought I would share how to make a simple lined tote bag with an internal pocket, as I have just made one for my daughter’s violin music and accessories.

Before I begin: the seams are 1cm unless otherwise stated. I pin and then sew with my machine, but if you are inexperienced with the sewing machine, I would recommend tacking everything as you go before sewing or hand sewing it neatly.

Materials needed:

  • 50cm of both fabric and lining fabric
  • cotton thread to match
  1. Cut out your material to the size that fits the contents. I cut my material to 42cm x 35cm. Cut the lining fabric to the same size. dsc04899
  2. Cut the material for the straps. My straps measure 50cm x 10cmdsc04903
  3. Cut a square of fabric for the inside pocket 22cm x 22cm.
  4. Place the two pieces of the main fabric on top of each other with rights sides facing and sew a 1cm seam on three sides, leaving the top open.There is no need to finish the edges as they will be hidden away inside the lining. Cut the corners at the bottom. dsc04909
  5. Fold over 1cm on each side of the pocket and iron flat. Then fold over another 1cm on the top edge. Top stitch.dsc04912dsc04914
  6. Place the pocket onto the lining fabric ( Right side up) and pin and edge stitch into place.DSC04915.JPG
  7. Now sew the lining pieces together on three sides as you did with the main fabric. (remembering to sew it right sides facing each other)dsc04916
  8. Press the side seams of the main fabric to the side with an iron and fold over the top edge by 2cm all the way around. Iron flat. DSC04919.JPG
  9. Do the same with the lining fabricDSC04920.JPG
  10. Now turn the main fabric piece the right way round, using scissors to get into the corners if necessary. dsc04911
  11. Pop the lining fabric inside the main fabric and match up the side seams. Pin into place along the top. DSC04921.JPGdsc04922
  12. For the handles, fold them in half lengthwise. Press with an iron and sew a narrow 1/2cm seam along the length.dsc04923
  13. Now turn them right way round, using scissors to get in there if necessary. dsc04924
  14. Press with an iron so that the seam is in the middle and on the inside. dsc04927
  15. Slip the handles 2cm inside the bag on either side and pin into place, remembering to keep the seams on the inside.dsc04929
  16. Edge stitch the whole way around the top of the bag, paying attention to keep the handles in position. I double pin mine, but if you are not too experienced, I would run a row of tacking stitches round the top to hold the whole thing in position, paying particular attention to the handles as the finished result will be better.

Et Voila!

Here is the finished tote with lining and pocket. Of course you could use a matching fabric to the lining for a more discreet pocket. 🙂


I hope this tutorial is clear. If you have any queries, don’t hesitate to contact me and I will clarify anything that may be unclear.

It is so simple to make,  it can be cut and sewn in a couple of hours. Instant gratification 🙂


5 thoughts on “A simple lined tote bag tutorial

  1. Simple sewing is my favourite kind. How cute is the fabric pattern. I have been meaning to make a library bag for the little one. I like the addition of the pocket inside. So handy.


  2. What a nice tutorial! Thanks for sharing. My youngest daughter really wants a library tote bag, so I may use this! On a side note, my eldest daughter really wants to learn violin, and I have been thinking about how to make this happen for her.


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