These instructions create a canvas tote bag 13″ high by 12″ wide by 6″ deep with double shoulder straps. If you prefer shorter straps for carrying in your hand, reduce the total strap length to about 92″ instead of 130″.
- 20” x 36” cotton canvas
- 130” of 1” cotton webbing for straps
- Double sided seam tape for tacking
- Strong thread – V-92 polyester recommended
- Place any interior or exterior pockets that will be sewn in under the straps and secure with seam tape.
- Mark the center of the 1” webbing strap dividing it into two equal halves of approximately 65 inches each.
- Place the cut ends of the strap facing each other at position “a” as on the diagram. Make sure the strap is not twisted and tack in place with seam tape. From the front side, sew up the outside and down the inside of the strap to secure it. Do not sew the strap onto the bag for the last 1 1/2″ (hem) of the edge, just leave it loose.
- Place the center-marked part of the strap at position b, making sure the strap is not twisted, and repeat instructions for step 3 for this strap.
Side Seams (flat-felled)
- Fold UP the top half of the left and right edges, using a straightedge to crease the hem.
- Fold DOWN the bottom half of the the right and left edges, using a straightedge to crease the hem. There will be a little twist at the center-line – that’s fine, ignore it.
- Fold the bag in half lengthwise and tuck the folded edges of the left seam together in a flat felled configuration (so the cut edges are hidden). Secure with double-sided seam tape. Sew the left sides together from the top (open side) of the bag down into the bottom (closed) as far as you can fit the machine.
- Repeat down the other side of the seam so that each side of the flat-felled seam is sewed down.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the right seam.
- The bottom of the bag has a gap in the final few inches of seam on each side where the machine could not reach. Turn the bag right side out and poke the corners that couldn’t be sewed to the outside (or inside). Make smooth little triangles of them and sew across the top of the triangle to secure the bottom to the side of the bag. You may choose to tuck the triangular piece to the inside of the bag and secure it there – whichever you like.
Top and Bottom Edges (with double-folded hems)
Double folded hems prevent unraveling by hiding the cut edges inside.
- With the right side of the material facing up, fold the top ½ of the material under all around the top edge of the bag and secure with seam tape.
- Fold another 1” of the top edge under again, and tack with tape. The cut edge should now be hidden inside the hem.
- Sew from the wrong side along the folded edge of the hem to secure, placing a 6” piece of strapping into the hem for a key ring if desired
Finishing Steps for the Tote Bag
- Sew around the top of the top hem of the bag to secure the straps to the top of the bag.
- Add buttons and other trim and decorate as desired!