Boxed-Bottom Tote Bag Tutorial

Today I’m sharing my simple tote bag formula. The dimensions are easily adaptable for length, width, and height. Photo descriptions will be located below each photo.

A few housekeeping items:
I usually use interfacing, but I’m short on a sturdy fusible at the moment. This step would follow cutting out your fabric.
All my seams are half inch. This is another step that is customizable.
I did not include pockets, but I would attach them after cutting but before assembling lining or main body pieces.

Let’s get this show on the road!

I started with four pieces of fabric – two of the main and two of the lining. The pieces are 19″ long by 13″ high but you can use whatever size you like. Keep in mind that you will lose 5″ in length and 3″ in height because of the boxed bottom.

Measure a 2″ square in each bottom corner using chalk or a water soluble marker. If you would like a larger base to your bag, you can change the size of the square.

Make a mark 2″ in from each side along the top. If you used a different size of square at the bottom, this number would change also.

Using a ruler, connect the top mark to the top outside of the bottom square.

Cut out those 2″ squares and along the diagonal lines you just drew. When you are done it will look something like this.

Sew the two main body pieces right sides together, same for the lining. Sew sides and bottom only – do not sew where you cut out those squares! Also, leave a gap along the bottom of the lining so that you can turn your bag right side out through it later. Mine was about 6″ wide.

Now you get to box the bottom of the bag. Line up those cut out corners so that the sewn seams match. Pin. Do this for both corners of main and lining.

At this point, Juneau decided to hang out behind the machine for moral support.

Sew those boxed corners for both main and lining.

Making the strap! Cut a piece of fabric the length you want (mine is 36″) and take the width you want and multiply by four (I wanted a 2″ strap, so I cut my fabric 8″ wide). Fold fabric in half lengthwise and press. Fold long edges in to middle and press. Essentially, you’re making super huge double-fold bias tape. Pin open length and stitch (I top stitched and edge stitched because I’m an overachiever I guess). Stitch along folded length as well. No need to stitch the short ends.

Pin strap to main body along side seams. The raw edge of the strap should line up with the raw edge of the body. Be careful not to get your strap twisted! Baste the strap in place on both sides.

Put main body inside lining so that the right sides of the fabric touch. Line up your side seams. Pin, then stitch all around the edge.

Pull the bag right-side-out through the hole in the bottom of the lining. Don’t put the lining inside the bag just yet, you’ve got to sew that gap shut.

Pin the lining bottom shut.

Edgestitch to seal the lining.

Put lining inside bag and top stitch around the opening.

You’re done! High five!

Use a sturdy interfacing or you end up with something like this.

Maverick has decided that he’s comfortable enough with his masculinity to cuddle up with the leftover pink.

I hope this tutorial has helped with some basics. I had to figure it out myself do I hope I’ve saved you the trouble!

Happy sewing,


About skylarchastain

I am a fifth grade math and science teacher. In my spare time I love to sew and create my own patterns. I'm trying to branch out into tutorials as well. I live in Texas with my husband Eric and our kitties.
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7 Responses to Boxed-Bottom Tote Bag Tutorial

  1. Mrs M says:

    Great tutorial. You make it seem quite easy.

  2. wow, your way is super simple! must try this 🙂

  3. shopdelightfullysweet says:

    Oh my goodness! I’m so glad this blog exists, thanks for leading me to it by stopping by my page! I’m new to sewing so I’m looking forward to coming back here for tips 🙂

    • I’m on hiatus right now because of grad school, but when I’m out for summer (I’m a teacher) hopefully I will be able to post more again. Right now I’m focusing on my other blog,

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