The One Square Tote: an easy tote bag sewing tutorial

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Sewing the straps:

No more ripped plastic bags with the One Square Tote, an easy tote bag sewing tutorial made from a single square of fabric! Simple and eco-friendly! #reusableshoppingbag #totebag11. Fold the fabric square in half and again, using a rotary cutter*, quilting ruler*, and cutting mat*, cut two strips 14 cm (5½”) wide.

No more ripped plastic bags with the One Square Tote, an easy tote bag sewing tutorial made from a single square of fabric! Simple and eco-friendly! #reusableshoppingbag #totebag12. Lay one strap out flat on the ironing board, wrong side up. (#1 above)

13. Fold the strap in half lengthwise, wrong sides facing, and iron well. (#2 above)

14. Open up the fold, then fold one long edge inwards to the fold from step 13, and iron well. (#3 above)

15. Fold the other long edge inwards to the fold from step 13, and iron well. (#4 above)

No more ripped plastic bags with the One Square Tote, an easy tote bag sewing tutorial made from a single square of fabric! Simple and eco-friendly! #reusableshoppingbag #totebag16. Fold the strap in half again along the original fold from step 13, iron again, and topstitch down the open side (top).

17. Repeat with the other strap (bottom) and put them both aside for the moment.

Sewing the bag body:

No more ripped plastic bags with the One Square Tote, an easy tote bag sewing tutorial made from a single square of fabric! Simple and eco-friendly! #reusableshoppingbag #totebag18. If you prefer the short wide bag, fold the remaining fabric in half, wrong sides facing, lining up the short ends, so that the fold is at the bottom. Sew down the two sides 1 cm (3/8″) from the edges, then trim the seam allowances close to the stitching (top).

19. Turn the bag wrong side out, iron flat and sew down the two sides 1 cm (3/8″) from the edges (bottom).

No more ripped plastic bags with the One Square Tote, an easy tote bag sewing tutorial made from a single square of fabric! Simple and eco-friendly! #reusableshoppingbag #totebag

20. If you prefer the long narrow bag, fold the remaining fabric in half, wrong sides facing, lining up the short ends, as shown for the wide bag. But, before sewing, ROTATE the folded fabric 90° to the right, so that the folded edge is on the left. Sew down what is NOW the open bottom and the open right side (shown with the arrows) 1 cm (3/8″) from the edge, then trim the seam allowances close to the stitching. (top)

21. Turn the bag wrong side out, iron flat and sew down the two sides 1 cm (3/8″) from the edges. (bottom)

Optional boxed corners:

No more ripped plastic bags with the One Square Tote, an easy tote bag sewing tutorial made from a single square of fabric! Simple and eco-friendly! #reusableshoppingbag #totebag22. With the bag still inside out, flatten one bottom corner so that the stitching runs right into the center of the point. Pin and stitch across 3 cm (1¼”) from the point. (top)

23. Repeat with the other bottom corner, then flip the bag right side out again if you want to make sure that it looks good.

If you have limited experience with this technique, read my sewing lesson on how to sew boxed corners.

Putting all the pieces together:

No more ripped plastic bags with the One Square Tote, an easy tote bag sewing tutorial made from a single square of fabric! Simple and eco-friendly! #reusableshoppingbag #totebag24. With the bag body inside out, fold the top opening over by 1 cm (3/8″), iron well, and then again by 3 cm (1¼”), and iron again. (top)

25. Slip the pocket (if you sewed one) about 1 cm (3/8″) under the center of the folded edge and pin. Then slip each end of one strap under the folded edge, pushed all the way in to the inner fold, on either side of the pocket, and pin. Make sure that the strap isn’t twisted. (bottom) Then slip the ends of the other strap on the other side so that they match up.

No more ripped plastic bags with the One Square Tote, an easy tote bag sewing tutorial made from a single square of fabric! Simple and eco-friendly! #reusableshoppingbag #totebagWith the wide bag, the outer edge of each strap should be about 10 cm from the side edges and the inner edge of each strap about 14 cm from the side edges.

No more ripped plastic bags with the One Square Tote, an easy tote bag sewing tutorial made from a single square of fabric! Simple and eco-friendly! #reusableshoppingbag #totebagWith the narrow bag, the outer edge of each strap should be about 6 cm from the side edges and the inner edge of each strap about 10 cm from the side edges.

Save this Cucicucicoo project on Pinterest(click below to continue reading)

No more ripped plastic bags with the One Square Tote, an easy tote bag sewing tutorial made from a single square of fabric, or from an old sheet! Simple and eco-friendly! #reusableshoppingbag #totebag

14 COMMENTS

  1. Ciao Lisa!!! che bello rileggerti e rivederti!!!! <3<3<3
    questa borsa è davvero semplicissima da fare e il tuo tutorial ? una meraviglia! hai un bellissimo dono, tra i tanti tuoi: saper spiegare!!!
    Penso, persino, che potrei cimentarmi anch'io…
    un abbraccio forte a te e ai tuoi bimbi
    :* :* :*

  2. Ciao Lisa!!! che bello rileggerti e rivederti!!!! <3<3<3
    questa borsa è davvero semplicissima da fare e il tuo tutorial ? una meraviglia! hai un bellissimo dono, tra i tanti tuoi: saper spiegare!!!
    Penso, persino, che potrei cimentarmi anch'io…
    un abbraccio forte a te e ai tuoi bimbi
    :* :* :*

    • Ahaha! Non ti preoccupare, Angie, capita a tutti! 😉 Ho la formazione da maestra, quindi perciò so spiegare! E certo che ce la potresti fare anche tu! Dai, provaci e aspetto qualche foto! 🙂

    • Thank you so much for the showcase, Pam! I’ll go check it out right away! And yes, we use fabric shopping bags for EVERYTHING! We must have about 15 of them, and we still run out from time to time! 🙂

  3. cara Lisa, sei bravissima,molto chiara nelle spiegazioni,anche per me autodidatta e sarta da pochissimo tempo.Grazie per la condivisione

    • Hi Sian and thank you! I love stripes, and sewing this bag with stripes actually makes it easier to cut out and match up the fabic! If you want to add a zipper, you would need to sew the zipper on to the top edges of the fabric for the bag body BEFORE sewing up the sides (You can see how to sew a zipper here: http://www.cucicucicoo.com/2015/04/how-to-sew-an-exposed-zipper/). Then you could attach the straps on the outside top of the bag, instead of sewing them into the hemmed top. Consider that the bag will be taller this way, without factoring in the hem allowance. Let me know if this is clear or if you need more help! 🙂

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