How to Make a Stitches-and-Stripes Tote Bag

comments (5) March 30th, 2011     

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kaytet kayte terry, contributor
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Adding stitches and stripes is a great way to embellish a simple tote.
This basic tote is easy to create and customize.
Use a bias-tape maker to create the strips.
Adding stitches and stripes is a great way to embellish a simple tote.

Adding stitches and stripes is a great way to embellish a simple tote.

Photo: Sloan Howard
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This tote bag pattern offers infinite customizing opportunities. Make your own colorful stripes by sewing fabric tape to your tote. The project is a snap with a bias-tape maker.


• Bias-tape maker that makes 1-inch tape
• Cutting mat
• 1⁄2 yard fusible interfacing
• Iron
• 1⁄2 yard lining fabric
• 1⁄4 yard each of several patterned fabrics
• Rotary cutter
• Ruler
• Scissors
• Sewing machine
• Straight pins
• Thread


Construct the tote bag

1. Prepare the fabric. Cut one, 16-inch by 32-inch rectangle each from the outside fabric, lining, and interfacing. Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the tote fabric. Fold the tote and lining rectangles in half to make a square, and cut a 2-inch square from the left and right corners of each piece along the folded edge. Cut two, 20-inch by 3-inch strips of fabric (they can match or contrast the tote body) and interfacing for handles.

Prepare the fabric.

2. Make the handles. Lay one interfaced handle strip face down, and press each long edge to the center of the strip. Fold the strip in half so the pressed edges align, and press again. Edgestitch along each long edge. Repeat for the other handle.

Make handles.

3. Cut and fold patterned fabric strips. Working with a rotary cutter and mat, cut five, 32-inch by 4-inch-wide strips from several different fabrics. Fold the strip in half; then pull it through the bias-tape maker, ironing as you fold the strip.

Cut and fold patterned fabric strips.

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posted in: tote, bag, applique, tote bag, bird

Comments (5)

chammer writes: Cute, fun, and easy to make with you tutorial. Thanks.
Posted: 1:36 pm on May 13th
craftybegonia writes: Very cute and vibrant!
Posted: 6:44 pm on April 10th
isnessofwhatis writes: hmmm, this gives me some ideas for a version of my own.
Posted: 12:47 am on July 16th
CalPatch writes: i love this! i need to make one as soon as i get all my stash out of storage...
Posted: 11:16 am on October 3rd
janecanquilt writes: Terrific bag. Terrific instructions. I made mine with pockets on the inside lining. Phone and GPS are handy that way.
Posted: 5:38 pm on September 30th
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