How to Make Quilted Fabric Tote Bags?

If you often get puzzled about how to carry extra grocery items or take last-minute beach items to have a fun beach day with your young ones? You are not alone! Just get to know how to make or sew quilted fabric tote bags on your own.

These DIY quilted tote bags can be used for carrying your daily essentials, baby stuff, grocery, college items, laptops, gym stuff, traveling gear, etc. So just sew and stow your own totes!

quilted fabric tote bag

Step-by-Step Guide to Make Quilted Fabric Tote Bags

Besides learning how to sew quilted fabric tote bags, this guide will help you to play with different patterns and colors schemes to create more fun totes.

Before starting anything, make sure you collect all the required materials that will be used in the project. So, let’s get started with gathering the material!

Step 1: Collect the Material

Gather the below supplies and have fun creating more DIY quilted fabric totes!

  • The pre-quilted fabric: 1 yard (width: 44”)
  • Matching quilting cotton: ½ yard
  • Sturdy cotton webbing: 114” of 1” wide
  • Sewing machine with a denim sewing needle for effortless sewing
  • Good quality thread
  • Sturdy needle for hand sewing
  • Removable marker
  • Pins and fabric clips
  • Cutting board and scale

Step 2: Material Preparations

Before cutting and sewing, make sure to wash and dry the pre-quilted fabric as per the instructions.

Next, choose a bag base pattern. You can now free download many patterns from the internet. Make sure the two pages pattern’s overall dimension is H: 7” x W: 16”.

Step 3: Cutting the bag’s parts

After having the required bag pattern, now spread out the pre-quilted fabric. Try to press the fabric before cutting and sewing for neatness.

Before cutting, decide how you would like the fabric pattern to run. I choose horizontal moving stripes for this project. Start cutting by following the below directions.

  • Firstly use the below technique for cutting two large rectangles to make sure the stripes would intersect beautifully and the pattern will repeat properly.
    • Cut first big rectangle: 15” x 42½”
    • Next cut that big rectangle in half to have the required rectangles
    • Cut the rectangle 21¼” x 30” out to run a vertical pattern then cut it in half
  • Now, cut the remaining bag parts:
    • One bag base
    • Bag Sides: two rectangles measures 15” x 21¼”
    • Interior pockets: two rectangles measures 8” x 21¼”
    • Exterior pockets: two rectangles measures 6” x 8½”

Tip: Make sure to use the above-mentioned technique while cutting the bag base, pockets, and sides to properly repeat the pattern and have exact stripe alignment.

  • Straps: cut the cotton webbing in half for having two same 57” strips.
  • Bias tape stripes: cut the quilting cotton for having 5 stripes measuring 3” x 42”. Make sure you will need bias tape strips of 178” in total.

How to make the bias tape?

  1. Drawdown a central line in each strip with the help of a removable marker.
  2. Fold and press one long edge towards the center.
  3. Fold and press the other remaining long edge toward the center.
  4. Finally, fold and press the complete strip in half.
  5. Make sure all the bias tape strips should be of proper length. Otherwise, you have to stitch any together to have that length.

Step 4: Sewing the Exterior Pockets

Follow the steps below for sewing the exterior pockets:

  1. Firstly, let’s select one exterior pocket long edge as your upper edge.
  2. Now, lay the bias tape along the upper edge and pin it.
  3. Adjust the bias tape by timing it to exactly match the exterior pocket’s length.
  4. Next, repeat to pin the bias tape along with the other pocket pieces.
  5. For attaching, sew the bias tape to the pocket and then finally sew the remaining pocket.
  6. Fold up and press the lower edge to the wrong side of about ¼”.
  7. Lay the pocket on the tote’s right side with the below placement:
    • 3½” apart from the upper edge
    • 6¼” apart from each side
    • 3¼” apart from the lower edge
  8. Now sew it by leaving behind the upper edge open.
  9. Repeat the process to sew the other pocket to another bag side.

Tip: Do an overcast stitch to secure the exterior pocket’s lower edge and repeat it for securing the remaining parts.

Step 5: Sewing the Interior Pockets

Now, this method will help you to sew the interior pockets.

  1. Consider one long edge as the upper edge just as you do while sewing the exterior pockets.
  2. Lay the bias tape’s the interior pocket’s upper edge and pin it for securing.
  3. Trimming to match the exact pocket’s length.
  4. Repeat to place and pin the bias tape to the remaining pocket.
  5. Sew the bias tape to the pocket and repeat it for sewing the remaining pocket. 
  6. Draw a mark at 7¼” from the interior pockets’ side.
  7. Place and pin the pocket to the bag side by ensuring proper alignment of its lower edges.
  8. Sew it to the side by having guidance from the marks.
  9. Always try to start sewing from the lower edge and run to the upper edge.
  10. Backstitch at both ends for secure stitching. This step requires that you stitch over the exterior pocket partially.
  11. Stitch around the interior pocket’s perimeter for securing it to the bag.
  12. Stitch around the interior pocket for securing it to the bag’s sides and lower edge.
  13. Repeat it for the remaining pocket.

Tip#1 For a fun, secure, and fine look, use a zigzag stitch.

Tip#2 Use a thread in the bobbin that matches exactly the tote’s right side. Otherwise, it can be hidden by the bag’s strap.

Step 6: Sewing the Straps

Follow the steps carefully in order to sew the steps.

  1. Lay the one cut edge of the strap at the tote’s lower edge.
  2. Align the strap so that it will cover the exterior pocket side edges.
  3. Place the strap’s remaining cut edge with the tote’s lower edge by ensuring no twists will be in the straps.
  4. Press and pin securely the entire strap while keeping it in place.
  5. To stitch the remaining side of the strap, make sure to fold and pin the interior pocket out of the way for secure stitching.
  6. Now sew the straps to the left and right of the exterior pocket.
  7. Repeat it for the remaining part to be attached properly to the bag’s other side.

Tip: Always pin it on the tote’s wrong side and make sure to place the uppermost pin at about 4” from the bag. Moreover, load a strap matching thread in the bobbin.

Step 7: Sewing the Tote Bag

The next move of sewing the tote bag is a very important one.

Let’s start:

  1. Clip or pin the bag’s two right sides together and stitch down.
  2. Lay and clip the bias tape along the bag’s side.
  3. Give it a nice trim to exactly match the bag’s length.
  4. Repeat it for the remaining bag’s side.
  5. Now, sew down both side seams for attaching the bias tape and the seams.

Tip: Always try to leave a ½” seam allowance. In addition, use a zigzag stitch for fun and neatness, otherwise, a straight stitch is also good for securing many layers.

For Bag Base:

  1. Mark the center point on the bag base’s rounded ends by folding it in half.
  2. Now, give it a nice side seam trim at a slight angle to remove some heaviness of the side seams.
  3. Align the above center marks with the side seams.
  4. Next, clip those right sides together.
  5. Make sure to clip one half of the seam and sew only from the side seam to the next.
  6. Repeat it to join together.
  7. Try to stitch one half of the perimeter first and then the next to have nice and even seams.
  8. Place bias tape along the side seams of the base and slipstitch the bias tape with a hand needle.

Tip: You can attach iron-on tags, buttons, beads, or tassels to your tote for decorating it like a designer bag.


Creativity is deeper than a sea. You can add more colors, fun, and style to make quilted fabric tote bags unique from others and guarantee compliments to roll in!

If you want to add more spice and style to the above guide on “how to make quilted fabric tote bags?”, just write it in the comment box below. We will appreciate your kind participation.

Check Also: Best Black Tote Bags for Work

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