Top Sewing Patterns – Your Own Tote Bag

Sewing Your Own Tote Bags

There are a broad range of different bag designs and patterns that can be created with Janome sewing machines. Whether you are sewing as a hobby, starting your new sewing career or you are a sewing machine whizz, creating a bag can be a fun, rewarding experience with the end outcome providing a practical asset for day to day use.

Perhaps you are after a bag to go with a new outfit, or want to make a practical gift for a friend or family member, sewing your own tote bag can be a practical idea as well as a great sewing project. Here we take a look at the one of the more popular bag styles that can be found in the market, the tote bag, as well as some interesting designs that can be created for this category of bag.

All you need is some time, the materials and your trusty Janome sewing machine to produce your very own tote bag!

What is a Tote Bag?

sewing a tote bagThe word ‘tote’ comes from the 17th century meaning to carry, which is exactly what these bags are designed for and specialise in.

Essentially, they are open, unfastened bags that can come in many different sizes, small to large and a variety of materials. Usually the bag’s handles or straps are attached to the side of the pouch in parallel fashion, a simple design that assists in its ease of carry.

Coming in broad ranges of materials, a tote bag can is commonly constructed from study cloths, canvas fabric or leather, yet many other material variations exist (sometimes only limited by your imagination). They typically include one large component, which makes the tote bag very versatile and used in many purposes, providing large carrying capacities and storage space. It’s not uncommon for a tote bag to be a substitute for a shopping bag, gym bag, beach bag, and much more.

The tote bag therefore super adaptable and can be used in a whole range of situations, a key reason why they are becoming increasingly common in today’s busy lifestyles. They are ideal when travelling or going on outdoor activities such as a day to the beach, or a bushwalk, and are completely reusable, being the all-inclusive utility bag.

Providing great daily practicality and carrying solutions however, does not mean you cannot look good carrying one.

Their great functionality is combined with their capacity to stand out as amazing fashion accessories. With both conventional and unconventional characteristic, colours choices and a range of interesting styles, do not let the simplicity of the tote bag fool you into thinking it can only be bland, plain and boring. In fact, they are one of the most creative bags in existence allowing for truly imaginative designs and a selection of interesting patterns that can match any attire.

Creating a Tote Bag with Your Janome Sewing Machine

Over time the simplicity of the tote bag has expanded into other creative ideas and finishes. The traditional design has grown to include extra components, zippers, hooks and latches. Whether you are looking at tackling a basic tote bag design or something a little more complicated, your Janome Sewing machine is the perfect addition to assist with the project.

Whether you would like to fire up the sewing machine to create one for yourself or looking for a gift item (tote bags make fantastic gift ideas due to their practicality and durability) with have compiled some pattern designs from beginners to advanced sewers, with a range of embellishments and extras below.

Simple Sewing - the Utility Tote

Utility TotePrioritising functionality and comfort, the utility tote may be on the simplistic end of the scale when it comes to tote bags, but is functional and smart looking. It can carry everything from books, groceries, sporting gear or even a spare change of clothes. It is not only the ideal Janome sewing machine project for a beginner, but also for advanced users looking to create a versatile bag for daily use.

Dimensions: 18″ high / 12″ wide / 6″ deep with a 42″ [1.1 m] adjustable shoulder strap and interior pocket. [45.75 cm x 30.5 cm x 15 cm]

Material Used: 100% cotton drill, 54″ wide  [137 cm]

You will need:

  • 1 yd. [1 m] of durable fabric, 54” width [137 cm] *
  • 1 spool of heavy-duty thread
  • 1 slider buckle, inner dia. 1.5 inches [40 mm]
  • 1 bracket ring, inner dia. 1.5 inches [40 mm]
  • 1 nylon closed zipper, 6” long [15 cm]
  • 2 ½ yds. [3 m] of single-fold bias tape, ½-inch wide [12 mm]
  • 1 roll of kraft paper

We love the additional ring to allow for resizing of the strap. Here are the details for the pattern, cutting and assembly instructions for the utility tote.

For Everyday Use - a Chic Lunch Tote

lunch-tote bagLooking stylish and allowing you to get creative with a pattern, the chic lunch tote can be used as handbag or utility carry bag, going with a wide range of attires, depending on the fabric you use. Whether it’s a lunch date, a tote for work or or a shopping spree, the chic lunch tote is the perfect fashion accessory that is easy and comfortable to carry.

Dimensions: 7” wide X 7.5” high X 5” deep [11.5 cm X 19 cm X 12.5 cm]

You will need:

  • approximately 1/2 yd. [5 m] plastic-vinyl coated fabric, 54″ wide [137 cm]
  • approximately 1/3 yd. [3 m] insulated thermal lining, 36″ wide [90 cm]
  • approximately 1/4 yd. [25 m] ripstop nylon, 44″ wide [112 cm]
  • 2 draw-cords, 30” long [76 cm]
  • coordinating polyester thread
  • kraft paper

Black and white spots go with anything in your wardrobe, but you can also make this as bright and colourful as you like. Follow the link for the pattern, cutting and assembly instructions for the chic lunch tote.

A Mix of Style and Functionality - The Duffle Bag Tote

duffle bag toteWhat happens when you combine the usability and long straps of the tote bag with the space and convenience of a duffle bag? You get the duffle bag tote of course! When you want uncompromised carrying ease and durability, the duffle bag tote mixtures both bag styles to create the perfect travelling companion.

Dimensions: approximately 17″ high / 20″ wide / 11″ deep with a 40″ [1 m] detachable shoulder strap and exterior pocket. [43 cm x 51 cm x 28 cm]

Material Used: 100% cotton denim, 54″ wide [137 cm] ; trim: 100% microfiber suede cloth, 45” wide.

You will need:

  • 1 heavy-duty closed zipper
  • 2 D-rings, 1 ½” dia. [38 mm]
  • 2 swivel latches, 1 ½” dia. [38 mm]
  • 4 or more yards [4 m] of polyester web strapping, 1 ½” wide [38 mm]
  • 1 yard [1 m] of canvas/upholstery weight fabric, 54″ wide [137 cm]
  • Approx 1 yard [1 m] of contrast fabric, 45” wide [114 cm] for piping trim.
  • 2 ½ yds. [3 m] of wide cotton bias tape, 1” wide [25 mm]
  • 2 yds. [2 m] or more of cable cord, ½” dia. [12 mm]
  • 1 small piece of hook & loop tape
  • Coordinating thread
  • Kraft paper

Making great use of handles and a shoulder strap, this is a really practical bag. Here is the access for the pattern, cutting and assembly instructions for the duffle bag tote.

Advanced Sewing - The Multi-pocket Urban Tote

multi pocket tote bagFor the more advanced Janome sewing machine users out there, the multi-pocket urban tote is a sophisticated, streamlined carry bag that can hold an assortment of everyday items while still looking fantastic. While it goes against some of the main conventions of a standard tote bag, such as using zippers and containing multiple components, it still features the totes best characteristic – comfort, being easy to carry, either in your hand, on your should or across your chest.

Dimensions: 17″ high / 15″ wide / 2″ deep with a 42″ [1.1 m] adjustable shoulder strap and exterior pockets. [43cm X 38cm X 5 cm]

Material Used: 100% Olefin sueded automotive upholstery, 54″ [137 cm] wide; trimmed with PVC leatherette vinyl, 60″ [152 cm] wide.

You will need:

  • 2 D-rings, 1” [25 mm] inner dia.
  • 2 swivel clasps, 2” [50 mm] inner dia.
  • 1 square slider buckle, 2” [50 mm] inner dia.
  • 1 square bracket ring, 2” [50 mm] inner dia.
  • 1 pocket zipper, 10” [26 mm] long
  • 1 closed zipper, 14” [35 mm] long
  • 1 closed zipper, 22” [56 cm] long
  • 2 dome snaps, ½” [12 mm] dia.
  • 12 rivets, ½” [12 mm] dia.
  • 2½ [2.3 m] webbing, 2” [50 mm] wide
  • 1 spool upholstery thread
  • 10 yds. [1 m] upholstery fabric, 54” [137 cm] wide
  • ¼ yd. [25 m] vinyl leatherette, 60” [152 cm] wide
  • 2 ½ yds. [3 m] of single-fold bias tape, ½-inch wide [12 mm]
  • a small remnant of fusible interfacing
  • 1 roll of kraft paper

A classy finish for a very versatile bag. Here is information for the pattern, cutting and assembly instructions for the multi-pocket urban tote.

 

We hope these Tote bags give you some great ideas for your sewing pleasure, if you have any questions about how to create these and other patterns on your Janome sewing machine, see the sewing FAQ’s or contact the helpful team at the Brisbane store, or even book in for a Free unlimited sewing lesson on a machine you purchased through us, either in store or over the phone.

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