DIY Reversible Tote Bag

I had decided it was time to ditch the diaper bag and prepare for summer with a new tote bag. The traditional size was a bit big for what I was looking for, so I went with making a smaller sized one.

DIY Tote Bag 3

If you would like to make your own, I invite you to follow along with me and I hope to not lose you along the way. I love to sew, but I am not an expert. Just a girl with a sewing machine, trying to make things happen.

1 yard of fabric for the outside
1 yard of fabric for the lining and pocket
1 yard of pleather belting for the handles
1 7-inch zipper
Sewing machine
Rotary cutter
Cutting mat
Fabric ruler
Straight pins

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First, I wanted my bag to be more wide that tall, so I used my rotary cutter to make two 12″ x 9″ sections of fabric for the outside, two 12″ x 9″ sections for the liner, and one 9″ x 14″ section of lining fabric for a pocket. (These dimensions can be changed if you are looking for a different size bag.)

DIY Tote Bag 13

Next, for the inside of the bag, I added a pocket with a zipper. (I referred to this tutorial for installation and used one of the 12″ x 9″ lining pieces along with the 9″ x 14″ pocket piece to do so.)

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Then, with right sides facing each other, I sewed three edges of the two outer fabric pieces together. I did the same with the pocket section and second liner piece.

DIY Tote Bag 6

To give the bottom of the bag a squared shape, with the pieces still wrong side out, I made a stitch that went across the seams in the bottom corners of the outside and liner sections. (This is really simple but sounds confusing, so please refer to pictures below.)

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For the handles of the bag, I cut two 16″ long pieces of 1 1/2″ wide gold metallic pleather belting. I folded them in half width wise and sewed using 1/4 seam allowance down both edges. This created two flat thin straps.

DIY Tote Bag 2

After that, I put the liner section in the outside section with right sides facing each other, making sure to line up the seams. I took one handle and tucked it in between fabric pieces where the right sides touch. Making sure it wasn’t twisted, I pinned the ends of the straps 2″ from where the seams lines meet up. I did the same on the opposite side too and pinned around the whole top edge of the bag.

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DIY Tote Bag 1

Then, I sewed all the way around the top leaving a small area open. I turned the bag right side out through the opening. I learned that pulling the handles out first, made this process easier.

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To finish off the bag, I closed up the hole by top stitching around the bag 1/4 inch from the top edge. This made it lay flatter and be less bulky.

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This bag is pretty awesome! It can also be reversible, which puts the pocket on the outside.

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Click on the edge of the next photo to see what’s in the bag and how we are preparing for summer outings with toddlers.

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We would love to see what is in your bag! We invite you to take a photo and share it on Instagram with the tag #ejdmybag.

32 thoughts on “DIY Reversible Tote Bag

  1. Courtney @ Crafts by Courtney

    I give sewing crafters props for doing crafts like this. I can’t sew a straight line to save my life. I really need to learn how to use my sewing machine I got. You did a beautiful job with this bag, I just love the gold polka dots you used. Where can I put in my order?!?! PINNED!

    1. Emily Post author

      Thanks Courtney! This was such a fun bag to make and pretty easy! Great starter project, minus the zipper portion.

    1. Emily Post author

      Thanks! It is pretty easy to make and would make a pretty good grocery bag, but you may want the bag slightly bigger than I made mine. Glad you stopped by!

  2. Erlene

    Such a cute bag and great tutorial. Pinned. Would love if you shared this tomorrow on Merry Monday Linky Party. It goes live Sun 6pm PST.

  3. Suzzie

    I have a baby due next week and I already love the idea of ditching the diaper bag. Lol. I’d much rather carry something adorable like this! I love the fabric you picked. It’s just darling!

  4. Treana B

    If you had to rate this project in terms of difficulty what would it be? I just got my first ever sewing machine and am anxious to try some easy crafts out. Stopping by from Merry Monday’s link up. -Treana @

    1. Emily Post author

      Thanks Treana! If you omit the pocket and zipper it is a super easy project and still looks great! The zipper is definitely a little tricky though. Good luck!

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    1. Emily Post author

      Thanks Carissa! The gold polka dot piece was purchased at Jo-Ann Fabrics. Glad you stopped by!

  8. Yasmina - Mina and Her Blog

    Seeing this reminds me how I made my first bag, I think it’s the easiest thing ever to make. I need to start sewing again!
    But YOU just made it even soo much prettier with the gold polka dot (love gold) and the fact its reversible!

    Hope you have a great day!
    xo – Yasmina

    1. Emily Post author

      Thank you Yasmina. I love that this is such a simple and fun project to make. Glad you stopped by!

  9. Natasha in Oz

    I’ve just pinned this-what a gorgeous bag. I wish I could sew…

    Thanks for joining the Say G’Day Saturday linky party. Hope you can join us again this weekend.

    Best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz

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