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Free, easy tote bag pattern to sew

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easy tote bag patternI had so much fun with this tutorial and am excited to share an easy tote bag pattern! I tried to make it as simple as possible to follow but still end up with a nicely finished tote. My daughter loves collecting rocks and hauling her stuffed animals around so I thought I’d design a size for her too, aren’t we cute with our matching bags?

This post was sponsored by JOANN, which means they supplied materials and compensated me for my time, but all opinions are my own.

customizable fabric joann myfabric

I used the same fabric, but with two different size scales! I’m no pattern designer; I used the new myfabric option (this is the art deco flamingo in midweight linen/cotton blend) from JOANN.

free tote bag sewing tutorial

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mommy and me sewing pattern tote bag

The finished adult bag is roughly 13″ tall and 14″ wide at the top, the child bag is roughly 9″ tall and 9.5″ wide at the top. I wanted something that slid easily over our shoulders, so many tote bags we own have handles that are too short. beginner tote sewing pattern

We have a big road trip coming up soon and I’m excited to see what she stuffs in this sweet little bag while she is packing!

Here you can see the art deco flamingo in midweight linen/cotton blend, and how I changed the colors.


This is a close-up of how the different scales look in real life!

I thought I’d show some of the other options; in addition to colors you can play around with reflections, scale, and repeats. They have over 4,000 designs to choose from so it’s a great tool for semi-custom fabric and can be printed on a bunch of unique substrates. I want a funky silk/cotton shirt with these flamingos on it!

Pin this easy tote bag pattern for later with this link or collage image:

Ready to make your own? It’s super fast!

Easy tote bag pattern


Supplies are listed for one adult bag and additional supplies would need to be purchased for one kid bag.


Step 1- Let’s make straps! For the adult straps, cut two straps 4″ wide and 27″ long (child: 4″ wide, 20.5″ long). Fold each strap in half lengthwise, and press (1). Open the strap back up and then press each long side to the crease you just formed, press again (2). If desired, cut a 7/8″ strip of fusible fleece as long as each strap. Open up one side and tuck it under, folding back into place and using the iron to adhere it as directed (3). Fold the strap back in half and press again (4). Stitch along each long side (5).

Step 2: From the outer fabric, cut 2 rectangles 15″ wide by 16″ tall  (child: 10.5″ wide, 12″ tall) and cut a 2″ square out of each bottom corner. Repeat for the lining fabric.

Step 3: If desired, use one of the main body pieces to cut out a matching one of fusible fleece, and then trim off 1/2″ off each side & the inner squares, creating a smaller piece that will keep the fleece out of the seam allowances. Adhere it to the fabric as directed – I used my Cricut Easypress 2!

Step 4: Sew with a 1/2″ seam allowance along the side and bottom straight edge. Press the seams open.

Step 5: You’re going to now fold each corner up so the seams match up. Clip to keep them steady and sew with 1/2″ seam allowance.

Repeat steps 4 & 5 for the lining fabric as well.

Step 6:  Turn the lining right side out and then clip the straps on, 2.5″ inches in from the outer seam (2″ in for the kid’s version). Baste stitch each strap on to both sides to make it easier on yourself, then they won’t slip during the next step!

Step 7:  Keep the outer bag wrong side out, and layer in the lining that is right side out, with the straps down and sandwiched in between the layers. 

Step 7: Pin it all around, matching the side seams, and sew with 1/2″ seam allowances- leaving an opening between the straps for turning.

Step 8: Gently pull the bag through the opening you left, taking time not to stretch it out. Tuck the seam allowance inside and press the entire seam around the top.

Step 9: Top stitch around the top, securing the straps and closing the opening.

You’re done! Please leave a comment if you try this tutorial, I’d love to see your finished project!

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Wednesday 13th of March 2024

I see ‘sew’ many bags with step by step instructions but seldom with the sewing machine settings…. Stitch length and width and tension. For us newbies, this would be a huge help.

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Sunday 24th of March 2024

hey Kelly! I agree - and I have definitely shared settings on other tutorials but for this one it is all standard, no adjustments needed!


Monday 4th of March 2024

I did NOT see any pattern

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Monday 4th of March 2024

correct, I guess, there is no printable pattern of rectangles - there is a full tutorial with measurements though?


Tuesday 6th of February 2024

I did not see any pattern for this project, please don't advertise that there is a free pattern if you are not going to put an actual pattern in your site because that is VERY misleading and very disappointing

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Monday 4th of March 2024

why do you keep commenting on the same pattern? I have had dozens of people thank me for this tutorial and send photos of their cute totes. Hope you find what you're looking for out there, but leaving complaints on my blog post isn't going to move me to create a downloadable PDF pattern for this project of rectangles for you.


Wednesday 13th of September 2023

Made 2 today. Almost done and I sandwiched the last one wrong…grrr. Seam ripping just isn’t fun.

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Sunday 17th of September 2023

ooh no!! seam ripping is the worst!

Bonnie Coleman

Monday 7th of August 2023

Made this tote it went pretty fast Want to make one a little bigger Would like to make it wider

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