Learn how to make a tote bag - our stylish shopper has a reversible lining

Made with a pack of fat quarters, this shopper is a great sewing project to use up fabric scraps. Reversible too, you can have a play with prints and patterns so your tote bag always suits your wardrobe.

Reversible tote bags in fabric



    • Four pieces of fabric for the front and back panels measuring 31 x 32cm


    • Four pieces of fabric for the borders measuring 10 x 32cm


    • Two pieces of fabric for the straps measuring 10 x 52cm


    • Matching thread


    • Pins


    • Scissors


    • Tape measure


    • Sewing machine


Materials for how to make a tote bag



1. Fold one of the straps in half lengthways with right sides out and press. Open and fold the two long sides to the pressed crease, fold in half and press. The straps should now be 2.5cm wide.

Repeat with the other strap, then topstitch along both edges.

How to make a tote bag with handles

2. Sew the long edges of the border pieces on to the longer edges of the front and back pieces with right sides together and a 1cm seam allowance. Press the seams open.

Sew the borders onto the bag panels

3. Choose which two pieces you would like for the outer bag, then pin right sides together with seams lined up. Sew along the side and bottom edges with a 1cm seam allowance.

Repeat with the inner bag pieces, leaving a 10cm gap at the lower edge for turning through.

4. To box the lower corners, turn the outer bag inside out and pull the bottom corners into a triangle with seams together. Measure 3.5cm in from the corner, pin and sew across then cut off the corner leaving a 1cm seam allowance. It may help to draw a line across the corner section as a stitch guide. Repeat for the inner bag.

How to make a tote bag with a gusset

5. Turn the inner bag right side out and leave the outer bag wrong side out. Place the inner bag inside the outer bag.

6. Take one of the handles and sandwich it upside down between the inner and outer bags, placing the two ends 7cm in from the outer edges. Check that the handle isn’t twisted, then pin all the layers in place. Turn the bag round and repeat with the other handle.

Insert the bag handles

7. Pin the top edges of the inner and outer bags together and stitch using a 1cm seam allowance.

Sew the inner and outer bags together

8. Carefully pull the outer bag through the gap at the bottom of the inner bag. Hand or machine sew the gap closed and then turn the inner bag into the outer bag. Lastly, topstitch all the way around the top edge of the bag’s borders.

Topstitch the bag borders