Tutorial: Make Our 1 Yard, 1 Hour Free Tote Bag Pattern For Last Minute Holiday Gift Bags

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Lazies, Today’s ‘With Love Tote’ project is my year-end holiday gift to you. This free pattern is a Thank You to the Lazies who have tried and like my designs. And an invitation to try my designs for those who have not.

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With Love Tote Bag

Getting Started
Make this quick and simple tote bag in about an hour from one yard of fabric. It’s perfect for a gift bag or as you carry goodies with you on your holiday ventures. A lightweight fabric such as quilter’s cotton is recommended.

The finished bag is approximately 16” deep by 19” wide with a cuff around the top edge of the bag and an optional Velcro closure.

Smaller Tote
Instructions for a smaller tote, 10″ wide x 11″ deep

– 1 Yard of fabric (width of 40″ to 45”)
– Optional – 1” Velcro (sew-in kind, or Fusion fusible Velcro work great)


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– Cut one strip 4” wide along one selvage edge for handles, re-cut to two at 4″ x 18″.
– Trim the other selvage.
– The remaining large rectangle of fabric is for the cover and lining of the bag.

– Use 1/4″ seam allowance.

Make Handles
I used grosgrain ribbon handles for this sample.

Fold 4″ strip in half, wrong sides together, press.
Fold long edges toward center fold, press.
Fold in half on original fold, press.
Cut in half to make two handles.

Make The Body Of The Bag
The inside lining and the outside cover of the bag are all one piece of fabric.

step-1.jpg step-2.jpg
Fold fabric in half, right sides together.
Stitch along the three raw edges,
leave a 5” opening to turn on long side, near one corner.
Turn, tuck in seam allowance, stitch opening closed. Press.

Finish The Bag
The half of the bag with the 5” opening is the lining, the other half is the cover.

Tuck the lining half of the bag into the cover half.
Push the lining corners into the cover corners.

Take some time to adjust the layers
so everything looks nice, then press.

Optional Velcro Closure
Add Velcro to the top edge of the bag. Sew the Velcro in place 1 1/4” from the top edge of the bag on the inside of the bag, centered from the side edges. If using Fusion Velcro, fuse in place after bag is complete.

Make Cuff And Attach Handles

Fold over 1” of top edge of bag to make a cuff.
Center handle and place ends under the cuff.
Keep the ends of the handle 5″ to 6″ apart.
Stitch across handles, just below cuff.

Fold handle over cuff and pin.
Stitch around top edge of bag, through cuff
and handles, 1/4” from top edge of bag.

Final Notes
This bag folds up to about 6″ x 6″, probably a bit smaller than that, and it folds flat. So, I tucked one in my purse and took it shopping with me this past weekend and used it instead of the paper bags that stores use.

I loaded a bunch of stuff in there and it didn’t hurt my hand like the paper bag handles do. It held up great and looked festive. It also wasn’t bulky like the paper bags. I felt stealth and stylish as I wove my way through the masses at the mall.

Quick Gifts
Pick some beautiful fabrics and make a custom gift bag for friends. Attach a note with suggested uses – grocery, re-gifting, an extra bag for traveling, etc. I think I might make a few and put them in the trunk of my car, too.

Use Your Stash
This tote design is a great way to use up left over yardage. Or plan for next year and buy end-of-the-season discounted holiday fabrics this year.

Make the bag in different sizes by starting with a smaller or larger rectangle for the body. A fat quarter will yield a bag that is 9″ wide by 7″ deep and darned cute, too.

Happy Holidays
Lazies, I wish you a happy and safe holiday season. Please consider posting a comment to the blog with a holiday greeting for me and/or all the other Lazy Girls out there. New to our blog? Subscribe here.

Copyright 2005, 2007 Joan Hawley, Lazy Girl Designs. Lazy Girl Designs grants permission for this pattern to be copied and shared in whole, but not in part. Lazy Girl Designs grants permission for this pattern to be used for classes, kits, and teaching, free of charge to the end user. Lazy Girl Designs shall have no liability with respect to loss or damage caused directly or indirectly by the information contained in this pattern. Items made from this pattern are protected by the Federal Copyright Law and may not be made for sale.

More Lazy Stuff:
Make a smaller With Love Tote
Bag Secrets and Sewing Tips Revealed


Leave a Lazy Comment

129 Responses to “Tutorial: Make Our 1 Yard, 1 Hour Free Tote Bag Pattern For Last Minute Holiday Gift Bags”

  1. Birgit — October 11, 2009 @ 7:54 am

    …how cute is that!!!!!! Thanks for this pattern

  2. Mary — October 29, 2009 @ 9:17 pm

    Just made 2 bags for my kids for halloween. So easy!! Thank you so much for the instructions.

  3. Vicki — December 5, 2009 @ 12:41 pm

    Hi Lazy – I love the pattern – thank you so much! Just a question though – I think I missed a part…..After making the body of the bag and sewing the 5″ opening shut, how do you get to the part where you tuck the lining half into the cover half? Thanks again! Vicki

  4. Harolyn — December 8, 2009 @ 8:49 pm

    I’m having a senior moment—or several of them. I think that if I fold and stitch correctly, I will end up with a pouch with all the seams inside. But for the life of meI can’t figure out which way to fold and stitch to do it. (I always had trouble stitching and pulling a vest, also!)
    I made one tote and ended up with a large rectangle which I then folded and stitched side seams to create the pouch. It’s fine, but I dont think that’s the way it’s supposed to happen.
    Help, please.

    • Joan Hawley replied: — December 9th, 2009 @ 12:50 pm

      Hi Harolyn, When you get to the finished rectangle, the top half is the lining. The bottom half is the cover or outside. To help visualize, imagine that we’ve used two different fabrics and stitched them together. One fabric for the top half, one for the bottom of the finished rectangle. That would put a seam right across the middle from left to right. Grab the rectangle in the very center on the front and back and pull the two layers apart. Now, grab those two corners at the top and tuck them in toward the bottom.

  5. Kelsey — December 8, 2009 @ 10:29 pm

    Hey Vicki, I was sitting here trying to figure that step out myself, getting a little mad at the same time. You need to pull the fabric apart like you would a t-shirt turning it right side out and then tuck the fabric in the middle. does that make sense???

  6. Erin Angove — January 22, 2010 @ 7:22 pm

    Myself and 4 others are headed out of town to celebrate a birthday. I made up 5 of the tote bags, using different colored ribbon for the handles. I also made a smaller bag from a fat quarter for each of us. We all contributed items for our “Girls Getaway Survival Tote”.

  7. Tina L — February 7, 2010 @ 8:33 pm

    Thank you so much for this pattern! It’s exactly what I needed. It’s both simple and clever.

  8. Amy — February 18, 2010 @ 12:36 pm

    I love this pattern :) I just made one to match a baby quilt that I made. Thank you so much for this pattern

  9. IRENE — April 26, 2010 @ 1:02 pm


  10. Heather — May 3, 2010 @ 3:43 am

    Thank you so much for the great pattern. I made one out of some beautiful wedding fabric for a bridal shower gift. The bride-to-be and all the guests couldn’t stop talking about it. I’m going to make the smaller one tomorrow.

  11. Britt Bravo — May 24, 2010 @ 1:08 am

    Thanks so much for this pattern! It found it this morning, and was able to make two bags with it this afternoon in a jiffy from leftover cloth I had around.

  12. April — June 5, 2010 @ 5:39 pm

    I am new at sewing but think I’ll try this tote. Looks fun and easy. Plus, I have plenty of fabric. Just bought 5 garbage bags full of brand new fabric for $15.00. Whoo hoo. Motherload.

  13. Ashley — June 5, 2010 @ 6:36 pm

    This is so cute…TFS :)

  14. Denise — August 19, 2010 @ 10:08 am

    Jone, Thank you so much for your quick response. This is such a nice tote. I’m going to start on mine today. If it goes well, I plan to make a bag for each of the six members of my book group. What fun! Thank you for the free pattern.

  15. Liz Seiter — September 8, 2010 @ 8:18 am

    They have quit airing your progams here in Houston and I miss you and all of your great ideas! No more Kaye Woods either!?! Are ya’ll still recording for PBS? Thanks, Liz

  16. Barb — October 28, 2010 @ 7:11 am

    Getting ready to make trick-or-treat bags using this pattern. Thanks so much!

  17. Joan Leary — November 27, 2010 @ 6:55 pm

    I added inside pockets, an outside pocket and verry long handles.I made this a year ago out of quilted matierial, it held up beautifully through several washings and people still ask if this is a Vera……………

  18. Mary Lou — December 4, 2010 @ 2:52 pm

    Hello: I am a first-timer and just found the one yard gift bag. It is so simple and easy that I smiled during the whole process! Thank you so much for sharing!!

  19. Carolyn — March 7, 2011 @ 12:16 am

    Thank you so much for this free pattern! I love the way it goes together. It is so versatile and can be made in many different colors. What a nice give to give someone. Thanks again. Carolyn from West Virginia

  20. Rachel — April 13, 2011 @ 7:11 pm

    I saw your with love tote and plan to make six for the secretaries at work for administrations proffesional day to add a special touch to a box lunch thank you again

  21. Janette — June 25, 2011 @ 10:39 am

    LOVE IT!!!!!!

  22. Janette — June 25, 2011 @ 10:41 am

    so cute and easy!

  23. Candi — August 7, 2011 @ 10:53 am

    Just made a 10″ x 8″ version of this to hold my daughter’s tap and ballet shoes. I haven’t sewed with a machine in about 10 years. This was super easy and so very cute! Thanks for the pattern.

  24. The Crafty Nana — October 1, 2011 @ 6:24 pm

    Thank you for the free pattern

  25. Carol — October 23, 2011 @ 7:34 pm

    Your design is ingenious, and your directions are crystal-clear. Thanks so much!

  26. Lois — December 31, 2011 @ 9:25 pm

    I’ve made SO many of these tote bags! Thank you for the tutorial. Super easy and it’s fun making them out of all kinds of material just to see how they look when they’re finished :). Can be made for all occasions. Made a bunch for Christmas gifts this year. If you’re looking for a fantastic and easy tote bag to make, look no further–this one is SUPER!

  27. Johanna — February 18, 2012 @ 2:15 am

    I love your torte bags and purses.i would like to know how to get hold of your patterns?

  28. Flora — March 2, 2012 @ 4:55 am

    I’m making a chalkboard/whiteboard activity centre for my grea grand daughter’s 6th birthday.
    I want to use cloth baskets threaded through dowelliing below the two activity boards which will hold pencils,crayons, erasers, papers, and any other materials she will need. You have given me the pattern I need for the baskets of various sizes and depths. Thanks so much.

    Flora Whakatane NZ

  29. charlene M. — April 9, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

    I love this bag it is so easy. My quild was on a bus trip to AQS quilt show and we had a contest whoever finish this bag first and second on the bus will received a fat quarter. We had two winners. The trip was 3 hours. The handbags were made my hand and those who finished their bags had a shopping bag for their quilt goodies. Thank you

  30. Courtney — August 4, 2012 @ 2:36 am

    Took me about an hour to figure out how this bag was made. Once I realized how I went… whew, duh. Honestly hurt my head a little bit. So glad I figured that out!!!!

  31. Dottie Carroll — September 10, 2012 @ 8:28 am

    My quilt guild uses these bags to hold the “goodies” which are awarded to the viewers’ choice winners at our quilt show ~ sort of a gift holding many gifts! And several of our members have made them as gift bags for baby quilts, from the same fabrics as the quilt of course ~ and a great carryall after baby gets here. I love that once you know the technique, you can easily make them ANY size. Thanks, so much.

  32. Beth W. — October 30, 2012 @ 7:32 pm

    Thank you for the pattern. My sister (who is great at sewing!) showed me how to make one of these last summer. I made enough of them for my Bible study group and gave them out last night. Several of them asked for the pattern, so I have just sent them the link. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving, knowing there are many folks very thankful for you!

  33. Nikki B — January 20, 2013 @ 8:02 pm

    Just what I was looking for! I have been wanting to make my little tot a library bag! I came across some adorable Robot material and was wondering what to make…problem solved!

  34. Polly — December 14, 2013 @ 8:07 pm

    I am making the bag. I think a step has been left out. If you have already turned the bag, stitched opening closed and pressed – how do you finish the sides of the bag when there is now no opening to turn again?

  35. Mary Ann Preckol — May 16, 2014 @ 3:48 pm

    I love making purses in all different styles. I’ve never been smart enough to design one myself. They’re great ‘”I made it myself” gifts. I will send a pic of my first, thank you

  36. Sonia Rayes — December 8, 2014 @ 12:27 am

    This looks like fun to make, will try it! Thank you, Sonia

  37. Anita Miaoulis — February 4, 2015 @ 5:44 pm

    Love this pattern. Can’t wait to make it. nita

  38. Ally — February 27, 2015 @ 9:35 pm

    Should make one for me. Thanks for sharing!

  39. Linda Axsom — November 14, 2015 @ 11:43 am

    Love this quick and easy bag. I taught this at one of our quilters sew day and everyone loved it. One lady started making the bags for Hospice patients and families.. Thanks so much for the pattern.


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