The secret to this striking but simple bag is the fabric choice-an eye-popping print for the body complements a colorful small-scale print for the border.
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Designer: Jean Bailey


  • 5⁄8 yard green floral (bag body, straps)
  • 1⁄4 yard pink-and-green geometric print (bag band)
  • 3⁄4 yard circle print (lining, strap lining, pocket)
  • 1-1⁄4 yards of 22"-wide heavyweight fusible interfacing

Finished tote bag: 10×15×5"

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

Measurements include 1⁄4" seam allowances. Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.

Cut Fabrics

Cut pieces in the following order.

From green floral, cut:

  • 2--1-3⁄4×22" strips
  • 2--14×15-1⁄2" rectangles

From pink-and-green geometric print, cut:

  • 2--4-1⁄2×15-1⁄2" rectangles

From circle print, cut:

  • 2--1-3⁄4×22" strips
  • 2--15-1⁄2×18" rectangles
  • 1--6×9-1⁄2" rectangle

From interfacing, cut:

  • 2--1-1⁄4×22" strips
  • 2--14×15-1⁄2" rectangles
  • 2--4-1⁄2×15-1⁄2" rectangles

Assemble Bag Body and Straps

1. Fuse an interfacing 14×15-1⁄2" rectangle to wrong side of each green floral 14×15-1⁄2" rectangle. Then fuse an interfacing 4-1⁄2×15-1⁄2" rectangle to wrong side of each pink-and-green geometric print 4-1⁄2×15-1⁄2" rectangle.

2. Referring to Diagram 1, sew together a fused green floral rectangle and a fused geometric print rectangle; press seam toward geometric print rectangle. Topstitch 1⁄8" above seam line to make bag front. Repeat to make a matching bag back.


3. Layer bag front and back; sew together side and bottom edges (Diagram 2). Using tip of iron, carefully press seam open.


4. To shape a flat bottom for bag, at one corner match bottom seam line to side seam line, creating a flattened triangle (Diagram 3). Measure and mark on seam allowance 2-1⁄2" from point of triangle. Draw a 5"-long line across triangle, and sew on drawn line. Trim excess fabric. Repeat at remaining bottom corner to make bag body. Turn bag body right side out.


5. Center an interfacing 1-1⁄4×22" strip on wrong side of a green floral 1-3⁄4×22" strip; fuse. Layer fused green floral strip with a circle print 1-3⁄4×22" strip (Diagram 4). Stitch together strips' long edges; avoid catching interfacing in seams. Turn right side out and press flat; topstitch 1⁄8" from long edges to make a strap. Repeat to make a second strap.


6. Referring to Diagram 5, pin a strap's raw ends to front edge of bag body; make sure strap is centered with 4" between the ends. Baste strap ends to bag body a scant 1⁄4" from bag's edge. Repeat with second strap and bag back.


Assemble Pocket and Lining

1. Fold circle print 6×9-1⁄2" rectangle in half with right side inside to form a 6×4-3⁄4" rectangle. Sew along the three open edges, leaving a 3" opening in long edge, to make a pocket. Turn pocket right side out through opening and press flat, turning under raw edges at opening.

2. Referring to Diagram 6 for placement, position pocket on right side of one circle print 15-1⁄2×18" rectangle; pin in place. Edgestitch pocket to circle print rectangle along pocket's side and bottom edges; leave top edge open.


3. Layer two circle print 15-1⁄2×18" rectangles; sew together side and bottom edges, leaving a 6" opening along bottom edge for turning bag right side out. Using tip of iron, carefully press seams open to make bag lining.

4. Shape a flat bottom for lining as in Assemble Bag Body and Straps, Step 4. Leave lining wrong side out.

Assemble Tote Bag

1. Insert bag body inside bag lining with right sides together; straps should be between bag and lining. Align raw edges and seams. Stitch together upper edges of bag body and lining, backstitching over each strap for reinforcement.

2. Turn bag and lining right side out through opening in lining; then pull lining out of bag. Machine-stitch opening of lining closed.

3. Insert lining back into bag and press upper edge. Topstitch 1⁄8" from upper edge to complete tote bag.