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

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

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  1. Kim — December 11, 2007 @ 8:46 am

    Aren’t you sweet! As if you don’t do enough already! Thanks for the pattern! Now if only i can make time to make one!

  2. Violet Burnham — December 11, 2007 @ 9:18 am

    This is great for Christmas fabric (bought on sale) to use rather than wrapping paper, which is discarded. It can be folded up and re-used year after year!! What a great bag with so many uses. Thanks. Miss VI

  3. carol — December 11, 2007 @ 9:32 am

    Cute, simple, got to love it!
    Merry Christmas to all!

  4. Dee Dee — December 11, 2007 @ 9:33 am

    Joan, thank you soooooo much again, for the free pattern. I so appreciate it. Sincerely, DS in Indiana

  5. Penny — December 11, 2007 @ 10:00 am

    What a great idea for gift wrapping. Thanks so much for the pattern, it will be great for my nieces who carry all the goodies preteens carry.


  6. Sequana — December 11, 2007 @ 10:18 am

    Warm holiday wishes from me to you. *S* I used 4 separate patterns of yours last year; every one was a resounding success. Thx for your help on the one, btw.

    I’m looking forward to whatever you come up with in 2008.

  7. Anita McTighe — December 11, 2007 @ 10:31 am

    Thanks Joan. What a nice gift. Happy holidays to you.

  8. Cindy — December 11, 2007 @ 10:33 am

    Wow, cute and free! This would be great to use up all that extra yardage I have and don’t know what to do with. Esp. fat quarters that are so cute but don’t have a plan. Thanks Joan and Merry Christmas!

  9. Julie — December 11, 2007 @ 11:21 am

    I became a Lazy Girl not too long ago and I’m soooooo hooked. I have used 7 of your patterns so far and have the 8th on my cutting table now. I Love All of Them.

    Thanks for sharing the quick tote, it looks like a great pattern to keep around for those unexpected occasions that require a little present.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours and to all the other Lazies out there!

  10. Kathy C — December 11, 2007 @ 12:05 pm

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful gift. I have not made a purse or tote but this appears to be simple enough that even I can make it. Merry Christmas!

  11. Bloom — December 11, 2007 @ 4:36 pm

    Thank you for this very clever idea. I am preparing a swap gift for my local quilting group Christmas party on Thursday & this would be a perfect way to ‘wrap’ it! Christmas blessings to you and yours.

  12. Linda E. Ramage — December 11, 2007 @ 4:41 pm

    Joan – how could you possibly know this “lazy” needed a tote bag pattern at this 11lth hour. Thank you so much. Merry Christmas.

  13. Bobbie B — December 11, 2007 @ 5:06 pm

    Hey, Joan, I love it. Nice Xmas gift for all of us.
    Thank you so much.
    Bobbie in Cocoa Beach, FL

  14. Denny — December 11, 2007 @ 5:37 pm

    Thank you very much! I was just trying to decide what other quick gift I could make for two friends. How did you know? I have my Sassy Bag pattern out for another gift for when I have a bit more time/mellowness!

    Happy holidays to everyone and Happy New Year!

  15. Alice Andrews — December 11, 2007 @ 6:01 pm

    this is lovely thanks cant wait

  16. Kerr — December 11, 2007 @ 6:17 pm

    What a wonderful tutorial. Thanks so much for providing it in .pdf format for easy printing. I’m definitely going to make one of these neat bags soon.

  17. Amy Wolf — December 11, 2007 @ 8:22 pm

    As usual, a unique and clever bag! THANK YOU so much, what a nice gift for your fans!
    Merry Christmas!
    Amy in Florida (who is always making gifts at the last minute!)

  18. Denise L. — December 12, 2007 @ 12:20 am

    Joan, Thank you for this wonderful little tote bag, we can use this holiday seasons for those last minute gifts we all seem to always have. It’s a darling tote and I can’t wait to make a few! Happy Holiday to you and yours and all the lazies.

  19. Vera Lucia — December 12, 2007 @ 2:45 pm

    I a sooo happy I found your blog. This tote bag is very clever and I will be doing some soon. Thank you! Happy holidays !!!
    Hugs from Brazil

  20. Melissa B — December 12, 2007 @ 3:49 pm

    Really cute! Thanks for the easy to follow directions—-my 16 year old son is willing to follow them to make his girlfriend (and his little sister) ones for Christmas.

    I used to do 4-H sewing camp and we did one similar that was reversible and they were always a big hit.

    Happy Sewing, Everybody!

  21. Mary Huey — December 12, 2007 @ 8:15 pm

    Thanks for the quick tote pattern! All week I’ve been thinking it would be fun to “wrap” the children’s quilts my charity sewing group has been making this fall in some sort of tote since most of them will go to children in shelters and it might make the quilts more mobile. My group was coming this afternoon to wrap the quilts and I had given up the tote idea for lack of time. Then there it was — just what we needed — a really fast tote! I pulled nine 1 yard cuts of children’s novelty prints out of my stash and four of us did some power sewing this afternoon. Using division of labor and a production line, we made 9 totes in under 3 hours and have all the gifts ready to go next week. I’ve posted the pictures of us working on my website, http://www.maryhueyquilts.com Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

  22. CharliAnn — December 13, 2007 @ 12:46 am

    At the risk of sounding like a dumb lazy, do I still cut off 4″ when using a fat quarter to make the smaller tote?
    – – – – –
    Hi CharliAnn,

    Do not cut a 4″ strip from the fat quarter when making a smaller tote. Trim the edges of the fat quarter so you have a good rectangle to start with for the body of the bag. Then use additional fabric, or ribbon, for the handles.


  23. Betty Jo Hall — December 13, 2007 @ 8:20 am

    Thank you for the pattern. I enjoy seeing you on TV, and your patterns are so very nice and easy.

  24. Moneik Harty — December 13, 2007 @ 11:47 am

    Love the pattern Joan! Can’t wait to try it for a few gifts.

  25. willa lewis — December 13, 2007 @ 1:55 pm

    Dear Lazies Leader, Thanks so much for the clever gift to us all! It is so simply wonderful. I teach 9-11 year old fledgling lazies, they will love this. I look forward to the information that you send via emails. thanks again, Willa Lewis

  26. Susan Wood — December 14, 2007 @ 3:12 pm

    Oh my!! What a nice little tote and FAST at that!! Isn’t this what we all love? Something quick and simple and yet SO lovely!! Thank you!

  27. Kim Edwards — December 14, 2007 @ 5:39 pm

    I just came across your site, from Yahoo Love It!!! Thank You for your time and ideas. You are in my favorites. Thanks again Kim Edwards

  28. Sandie Perry — December 14, 2007 @ 7:42 pm

    I do not know how my sewing career lived for so long without you! I have 3 sisters and they keep me busy creating gifts with themselves, their daughter-in-law’s and grand daughters! Homemade gifts are still #1 on our families lists and you make it sew simple to comply!

    Thanks again! And Merry, Merry Christmas!

  29. Libby — December 16, 2007 @ 8:52 am

    I just want to say what a wonderful tote this is. We did this as a “make it, take it” on our stitch all day at the quilt shop. The ladies went WILD!!! We changed it a little by using fusible pelon in half the bag to make it a little sturdier. What a terrific idea!!! Now who needs to go to Hallmark for a gift bag?
    Thanks and Happy Holidays.

  30. Cherry — December 30, 2007 @ 5:17 am

    Thank you for this pattern!

    Happy New Year!

  31. cindy — December 31, 2007 @ 10:28 pm

    I must be the only dumb lazy girl. I cannot figure out where I’m supposed to tuck half of rectangle into the other half. Do you leave the 5″ opening open to tuck into but the instructions say press opening and stitch closed before tucking. I sewed all three edges, turned and sewn the 5″ opening closed. I can’t see anyplace to tuck anything. Help!

  32. cindy — December 31, 2007 @ 10:57 pm

    OK, I was almost to the point of tears when my DH, who is very logical, showed me how to tuck the rectangles into each other. To me the crucial phrase left out was ..pull the back side of fabric away from front fabric and then tuck. LOL.

  33. anna — January 10, 2008 @ 10:29 am

    I make gift bags with Christmas fabric and give my gifts in them. That way they have Christmas tote bag for the coming year.

  34. Anne — January 10, 2008 @ 11:45 pm

    Thank you for us here in Australia 31 degrees celsius today it would make a nice family beach bag.

  35. Joan Flynn — January 13, 2008 @ 9:22 pm

    Thank you so much for this lovely pattern. I’m teaching a friend to sew at the moment (she is a ceramics teacher, definitely not a sewer!) and we made 2 in an afternoon. She bought remnants of upholstery fabrics so the bags are sturdy as well as practical. I’ve left her to do one by herself so it will be interesting to see how well she manages.
    Once again thank you from Australia.

  36. dap — February 11, 2008 @ 7:53 pm

    i love this tote bag but wondered if i could put a matching fabric w/ it for the lining? can’t quite figure how to do that. ANy suggestions? am new to sewing

  37. Jaime — February 27, 2008 @ 11:23 am

    I am so excited to go home and make one tonight for my secret sis! Can’t wait to give it to her on Sunday with some yummy treat tucked inside! Thanks so much!


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