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”

  1. Happy Sewer — June 19, 2008 @ 11:15 am

    I have made this pattern for all of my friends and for a couple who had a baby. It is fast and fun, and to think it only takes one yard and goes together so quickly! l am so glad I found this one.

  2. Jette — October 9, 2008 @ 4:46 am

    Thank you for the easy pattern


  3. Lynne — October 30, 2008 @ 10:22 am

    I love this bag. I made one as a gift tote with very whimsical fabric and it was the hit of the gift pile.

  4. Marlene C — November 24, 2008 @ 12:25 pm

    One extra touch that REALLY makes a difference on all tote bag ffabric handles. I cut 1″ wide strips of fusible fleece WOF and keep them near my ironing board. It cost just pennies, takes only a few extra seconds and the handles are so much easier on the hands and shoulders!

  5. Claire — November 28, 2008 @ 12:33 pm

    Love it!

  6. Karen — December 19, 2008 @ 8:07 pm

    Thanks for the great pattern. I’ve been making tote bags out of fat quarters, but had never thought of doing it from all one piece and folding the lining to the inside like that. I bet that would be a good time saver! 🙂

  7. araceli — March 3, 2009 @ 2:52 pm

    ¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡felicidades eres muy creativa

  8. mmm — March 4, 2009 @ 3:21 am

    thanks so much for the instructions! i can’t wait to buy a new sewing machine and try this out. 🙂

  9. Andrea_R — April 29, 2009 @ 3:17 pm

    This is *still* one of my go-to tote patterns. Fast & easy!

    I made some for our library to sell to raise funds:

  10. Erika — June 18, 2009 @ 11:54 am

    Great tutorial! I threw one of these together yesterday using two fat quarters and it turned out great! Can’t wait to make more. Thanks!

  11. Susan — August 23, 2009 @ 10:39 pm

    I just stumbled upon your web site this evening. I was looking for a quick bag to make for my almost 3 year old grandson.

    He needed something special to carry his books and quiet toys to church in.

  12. Billie — September 11, 2009 @ 3:28 pm

    Great idea! I can’t wait to try it.

  13. PJ — October 3, 2009 @ 6:12 am

    This looks great! I’m gonna hit the sewing maching first thing tomorrow to try this one out!

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

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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???

  19. 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”.

  20. 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.

  21. 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

  22. IRENE — April 26, 2010 @ 1:02 pm


  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. Ashley — June 5, 2010 @ 6:36 pm

    This is so cute…TFS 🙂

  27. 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.

  28. 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

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

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

  30. 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……………

  31. 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!!


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