How to Make a Leather Strap Tote

How to Sew a Tote Free DIY Tutorial

Classic design meets modern twist. This cool tote with boxed bottom can carry anything you throw at (or in) it. The leather strap simplifies the design and accentuates your style. Clean, classic lines mean it’s easy to construct, so you go from zero to tote-and-go in less time. It won’t be long before this becomes your go-to tote.

How to Sew a Tote Free DIY Tutorial

materials and tools

  • 1-1/4 yards of fabric for the bag top
  • 18ʺ x 24ʺ rectangle of contrast fabric for the bag base
  • 3ʺ x 20ʺ strip of faux leather for the handle
  • One package (approximately 60ʺ) of extra-wide double-fold bias binding (or make your own!)
  • Clear quilters’ ruler
  • Fabric marker
  • Thread
  • Scissors

Step 1) Prepare the fabric.

Download and print the pattern piece templates: 

  Leather_Strap_Tote_Bag_pattern_pieces_-_WeAllSew.pdf (480.4 KiB, 390 hits)

The bag top is split into three pieces; cut them out and tape them together before cutting out your fabric pieces!

How to Sew a Tote Free DIY Tutorial

Iron your fabric, then cut out two bag tops and two bag bottoms.

How to Sew a Tote Free DIY Tutorial

How to Sew a Tote Free DIY Tutorial

Step 2) Construct the main bag.

Stitch the bottom to the top for each side of the bag using 1/2ʺ-wide seam allowances.

How to Sew a Tote Free DIY Tutorial

How to Sew a Tote Free DIY Tutorial

Press the seam allowances towards the bottom of the bag.

How to Sew a Tote Free DIY Tutorial

Topstitch the edge of the base seam on each side. I used decorative stitch #401 on my BERNINA 580 E, with a width of 7.1 mm and length of 5.1 mm. Experiment with the decorative stitches on your sewing machine, or keep it simple with just a straight stitch.

How to Sew a Tote Free DIY Tutorial

With right sides together, stitch the side and bottom edges of the bag using a 1/2ʺ-wide seam allowance.

Press the seam allowances open.

Using a clear quilters’ ruler, measure in 1-1/2ʺ at the corners of the base of the bag as shown; mark with a fabric pen.

How to Sew a Tote Free DIY Tutorial

Cut the squares from the corners of the bag base.

How to Sew a Tote Free DIY Tutorial

With the bag still inside out, pinch the cut-out edges together as shown, making sure the previously sewn seams are pressed open. Pin in place.

How to Sew a Tote Free DIY Tutorial

Sew the corner edges together with 1/2ʺ-wide seam allowances. This will create nice boxed corners on the base of your bag.

How to Sew a Tote Free DIY Tutorial

How to Sew a Tote Free DIY Tutorial

Step 3) Bind the edges.

On one side of the top edge of your bag, pin the bias binding in place.

How to Sew a Tote Free DIY Tutorial

Sew the binding to the bag, stitching close to the edge of the binding (a scant 1/8ʺ away) as shown.

How to Sew a Tote Free DIY Tutorial

For the second half of the binding, start by opening the binding at its main crease and folding the corners in slightly as shown.

How to Sew a Tote Free DIY Tutorial

Then fold the end under 1/2ʺ; press.

How to Sew a Tote Free DIY Tutorial

Pin the binding in place, then repeat the above folding technique once you reach the other edge on the point of the bag, overlapping the ends.

How to Sew a Tote Free DIY Tutorial

Stitch the binding in place the same way you did earlier.

Step 4) Add the handle.

For the handle, fold the leather strip in half lengthwise; press (check a scrap first to make sure it won’t melt). Fold under each outer edge 1/2ʺ; press. Finally, fold press the center crease again with all edges turned under.

How to Sew a Tote Free DIY Tutorial

Stitch the open edges of the strap together close to the edge (a scant 1/8ʺ away), making sure you catch both sides of the strap in your stitches.

To attach the handle to the bag, pin it to the points of the bag as the desired length.

“Stitch-in-the-ditch” beside the binding and across the bottom of the handle, creating a triangle shape as shown.

How to Sew a Tote Free DIY Tutorial

How to Sew a Tote Free DIY Tutorial

To make sure those handles are nice and secure, go over your stitching again about three times.

Voila! Your sweet little market tote bag is complete! Enjoy!

How to Sew a Tote Free DIY Tutorial

To download the original PDF version of this project, click here:

  Leather_Strap_Tote_Bag_by_Rachel_Faucett_for_WeAllSew.pdf (848.3 KiB, 4,542 hits)

 


This article has 6 comments

  1. maxfoster

    What a beautiful bag! And an even more beautiful door!

  2. brhodes54

    This made up in a breeze but caution on the pattern piece for the very top of the bag has the fold on the wrong size of the pattern.

    • brhodes

      That should be the wrong SIDE of the pattern piece.

    • WeAllSew

      Oh, no! That’s my fault, not Rachel’s. I’ll have a corrected copy posted very soon. Jo
      Done!

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