Our generously-sized bag will hold your mat, towel, flip flops and more. We recommend choosing a heavier weight fabric for the bag so it's sturdier and wears well. Amy Butler's Love collection has several home decor weights from which to choose. Your lining can be regular weight.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome DC4030)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1 yard of 54" wide fabric for bag: we used Amy Butler's Love Sandlewood in Periwinkle - home decor weight
- 1 yard 45" wide coordinating fabric for lining: we used Amy Butler's Love Sun Spots in Turquoise - fashion/quilting weight
- 3 yards of 2" wide cotton webbing for handles: we used an organic white cotton
- 1 large (apx. 1") wooden button
- All-purpose thread in colors to match fabrics
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight pins
- From the fabric for your bag (Amy Butler's Love Sandlewood in Periwinkle - home decor weight in our sample) cut two 33" wide x 14" high rectangles.
- From the fabric for your lining (Amy Butler's Love Sun Spots in Turquoise in our sample) cut two 33" wide x 14" high rectangles.
- From the fabric for your lining, also cut one 4" x 4" square.
- Cut your cotton webbing into two 52" lengths.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- To place the cotton webbing for the handles, first make four marks with your fabric pencil on each outside bag fabric 33" x 14" rectangle: 9" in from each corner.
- Starting with one length of webbing and one fabric rectangle, position the end of the webbing flush with the bottom and aligned with the 9" marks. Pin in place.
- Run straight up, make a 24" loop to create the handle, then run the webbing back down the other side, lining up with your 9" marks. Pin as you go.
- Repeat with other outside fabric rectangle and other length of webbing.
- Top stitch webbing to fabric along both sides and across the bottom. Your stitching on all straps should end approximately 1" from the top raw edge so you have room for a top seam allowance.
- To reinforce the top of each strap, again starting 1" below the top raw edge of the bag, stitch a 1" - 2" square.
Stitch bag pieces and lining pieces together
- Pin the two outside bag pieces right sides together, making sure the strapping matches up at the bottom and the handles are sandwiched in between the layers – out of the way of all seams.
- Using a ½" seam, stitch down both sides and across bottom of bag. Press seams open.
- Take your two 33" x 14" lining pieces and pin them right sides together.
- Using a ½" seam, stitch down both sides and across bottom of lining. Press seams open.
Create the gusset
- Press the main bag piece, so the bottom seam is very sharp.
- Open bag and fold in the opposite direction, matching the side seams. The bottom of the bag will naturally fold in on itself, creating two matching triangles. Very carefully align the side folds and the top points to ensure your gusset will be exactly even.
- Measure approximately 2" down from the top tip of the triangle and use your fabric pencil to draw a line straight across the folded fabric. Your line should be at a point that is approximately 5" wide.
- Repeat on the opposite side. Check to make sure your two drawn lines are at the exact same place on both sides.
- Unfold and stitch across along on the 5" drawn line on each side.
- Trim the top of each triangle ½" from the sewn line.
- Repeat steps 1-6 to create the gusset in the lining.
Make the button loop
- Take the 4" x 4" square of lining fabric and fold it in half diagonally, right sides together.
- Stitch ½" away from fold. Folding and stitching on the diagonal will make your loop bias-cut, which will allow it to curve without wrinkling.
- Trim the seam allowance to ¼" and turn right side out, using a safety pin or loop turner. Press flat.
- Find the top center point of the side that will be the ‘back' of your bag. Make a mark at this center point with your fabric pencil. Then, still using your fabric pencil, draw a short horizontal line along the ½" seam line.
- Fold your loop in half and pin it at the center point mark you just made in step 4. Adjust the loop so enough of it extends past the seam line for the button to pass through easily. Don't guess. Test it with your actual button. Pin the loop in place.
- Stitch the loop down, running forward and backwards several times so your loop is secure and can stand up to lots of wear and tear. Trim away excess.
Finish the bag
- Finish the raw edge of both the main bag and the lining with pinking shears or a zig zag stitch. For more thoughts about finishing, read our tutorial: Finishing Raw Seams: Part One - Sewing Machine Finishes.
- Turn lining inside out. Keep the bag right side out.
- Place bag inside the lining so right sides of bag and lining are together. Pin around the top edge matching seams and centers and tucking straps down. Leave about 8" open for turning.
- Stitch, using a ½" seam allowance, making sure not to catch the straps. Remember to leave about 8" unstitched for turning.
- Turn right side out and press top edge flat. The edges of your 8" opening should be folded in ½" to match your seam allowance.
- Top stitch around the entire top of tote. For a clean look, fold handles down and stitch BEHIND the handles not over the top of them.
- Hand sew the wooden button to the center of the front of the bag, opposite the loop.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Jacqueline Smerek
Other machines suitable for this project include the Pfaff expression 2038 and the Bernina aurora 430.