Do you love the look of a patchwork tote but don't want to take the time to piece one? Use a preprinted panel instead! This tote is a terrific take-along to a sewing retreat or knitting get-together. Fabrics are from the ColorWorks Concepts Phase II collection by Northcott.
Toddler Tote Color Option
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Designer: Elaine Theriault


  • 1-1⁄8 yards each multicolor patchwork print and blue print (bag front and back, bag bottom, bag lining, bag bottom insert cover)
  • 1⁄4 yard multicolor triangle print (handles)
  • 1-1⁄2 yards fusible fleece
  • Heavyweight fusible stabilizer, such as Decor Bond
  • 8×17" rectangle corrugated plastic board, such as Plasticor, which is available at crafts stores (bag bottom insert)
  • Variegated thread

Finished bag: 17×8×13" (excluding handles)

Yardages and cutting instructions are based on 42" of usable fabric width.

Measurements include 1⁄4" seam allowances unless otherwise stated.

Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.

Cut Fabrics

Cut pieces in the following order.

From multicolor patchwork print, cut:

  • 2--18-1⁄2×27-1⁄2" rectangles

From blue print, cut:

  • 2--18-1⁄2×27-1⁄2" rectangles
  • 2--9×18" rectangles

From multicolor triangle print, cut:

  • 1--5×42" strip

From fusible fleece, cut:

  • 2--18-1⁄2×27-1⁄2" rectangles

From fusible stabilizer, cut:

  • 1--4-1⁄2×42" strip
  • 2--18-1⁄2×2-71⁄2" rectangles

Make Bag Front and Back

1.    Place a fusible fleece 18-1⁄2×27-1⁄2" rectangle on a flat surface. Top with a right side up multicolor patchwork print 18-1⁄2×27-1⁄2" rectangle. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse fleece and patchwork print rectangle to make bag front.Referring to Diagram 1, cut a 4-1⁄2" square from each bottom corner.


2.    Using remaining multicolor patchwork print and fusible fleece 18-1⁄2×27-1⁄2" rectangles, repeat Step 1 to make bag back.

3.    Machine-quilt bag front and bag back as desired. Designer Elaine Theriault used variegated thread to stitch a grid design that follows the patchwork squares.

Make Bag Lining

1.    Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse a stabilizer 18-1⁄2×27-1⁄2" rectangle to wrong side of a blue print 18-1⁄2×27-1⁄2" rectangle to make a fused rectangle. Repeat to make a second fused rectangle.

2.    Referring to Diagram 2, cut a 4-1⁄2" square from bottom corners of both Step 1 fused rectangles to make two bag linings.


Make Handles

1.    Referring to Diagram 3, align stabilizer 4-1⁄2×42" strip with wrong side of multicolor triangle print 5×42" strip; note that fusible stabilizer is 1⁄2" narrower than fabric strip. Fuse strips.


2.    Fold 1⁄2" unfused fabric edge over stabilizer; press.

3.    With wrong side inside, fold fused strip into thirds lengthwise (Diagram 4) with the long raw edge inside.


4.    Using variegated thread, topstitch five parallel lines through all layers (Diagram 4) to make a 1-1⁄2×42" handle strip.

5.    Cut handle strip crosswise into two 1-1⁄2×21" handles.

Finish Bag

1.    Referring to Diagram 5, align raw edges of one handle with top edge of bag front and 3" from center seam; baste. Repeat with remaining handle and bag back.


2.    With right sides together, match bag front and a bag lining along all edges; make sure handle is between bag front and lining.

3.    Sew together bag front and lining along top edge to make bag front unit. Press seam open (Diagram 6).


4.    Repeat steps 2 and 3 with bag back and remaining bag lining to make bag back unit.

5.    Layer bag front unit atop bag back unit, matching lining print and patchwork print. Referring to Diagram 7, sew together along side, bottom, and top edges, leaving a 10" opening in top edge for turning.


6.    To shape the flat bag bottom, at one corner match bottom seam line to side seam line; stitch across corner (Diagram 8). Repeat with remaining corners. Turn right side out through opening in lining. Hand-stitch opening closed.


7.    Tuck lining into bag body and press upper edges flat. Topstitch 1⁄2" from upper bag edge.

8.    Pinch side edges together at one top corner; pin. Topstitch 1⁄2" from folded edge to make a crisp corner (see photo). Repeat with remaining three corners.

9.    Layer blue print 9×18" rectangles right sides together; sew together along three edges, leaving one short edge open. Turn right side out through opening to make insert cover; press.

10.    Slip corrugated plastic board 8×17" rectangle into opening of Step 9 cover (Diagram 9). Fold in raw edges of cover. Place covered insert into bag bottom to complete bag.