Make a Cute Quilted Tote Bag in Under an Hour!

quilted tote bag

Let’s be real: we can always use more totes for grocery runs and storing sewing supplies. This stash-busting project is perfect for beginner sewists and — bonus! — it’ll be done in less than an hour. Last-minute gift idea, anyone?

Quilted Tote Bag

Level: Easy

Size: 13″ x 13″

What You Need

  • Outer fabric: two pieces of two different fabrics, each 15″ x 8″
  • Two pieces of lining fabric, each 15″ x 15″
  • Two pieces of batting, each 15″ x 15″
  • Two pieces of handle fabric, each 3″ x 14″
  • Rotary cutter
  • Quilting ruler
  • Sewing pins
  • Instructions

    1. Press the Outer Fabric

    cutting fabric for quilted tote

    Take your four panels of outer fabric and pair the two different patterns together. With the right sides together, sew each pairing along the 15″ edge. Press the seams of both panels open.

    2. Quilt the Batting and Sew It Together

    cutting tote pieces

    Place the outer panels on top of the batting and quilt as desired. Stack the two outer panels and cut a 2½” x 3″ rectangle from each bottom corner.

    Using a ⅜” seam allowance, stitch along the sides and bottom edge of the stacked outer panel pieces, avoiding the corners. Backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam.

    Repeat with the lining panels, but leave a 4″ gap at the bottom.

    3. Box the Corners

    boxing corners for tote

    Use your fingers to open up the lining’s corners. Flatten them so the seams are aligned, then press the seams open and pin. Repeat with the corners of the quilted bag panel.

    4. Finish the Corners

    sewing tote

    Stitch the boxed corners on the lining fabric and quilted outer fabric with a ⅜” seam allowance.

    5. Fold and Press the Handles

    sewing tote handles

    Take your 3″ x 14″ fabric strips for the handles and fold them in half to make a long, skinny strip. Press into place. Unfold and fold each of the raw edges in to meet the center line, then press again. The photo on the right shows what your strap will look like unfolded.

    6. Topstitch

    sewing tote handles

    Once your handles are folded into fourths, place the raw edges into the center and fold the straps in half. Topstitch the 14″ long handles on both sides ⅛” from the edge to secure.

    7. Attach the Handles

    attaching handles to tote

    Turn the quilted bag right-side out. Find the center of the bag front and place a pin to mark it. Measure 3″ to the left and 3″ to the right of that point. These will be where you attach the handles.

    Pin the handle fabric into place, raw edges against the raw edges of the bag.

    sewing on bag handles

    Baste or stitch the handles in place using an ⅛” seam allowance.

    8. Attach the Lining

    attaching lining to quilt fabric

    Place the quilted bag (still turned right side out) inside the lining fabric (which is turned wrong side out), so the right sides of both fabrics are touching. Pin along the top edge, making sure the seams are aligned and the handles are pushed inside. Stitch together around the top perimeter with a ⅜” seam allowance.

    9. Topstitch Again

    finished handles

    Turn the bag right side out through the hole in the lining, stuffing the lining back inside the quilted bag. Press and topstitch the bag opening ¼” from the edge to reinforce the seam. Machine stitch the opening in the lining closed.

    Share tips, start a discussion or ask one of our experts or other students a question.

    Make a comment:
    characters remaining

    6 Responses to “Make a Cute Quilted Tote Bag in Under an Hour!”

    1. CS

      Good tutorial but too hard for me to understand word-wise. A video would be better.

    2. KelleyB.

      Awesome!!! I'd been following along with a tutorial.. accidently closed the tab and couldn't find it anymore... Found this one!!! Sooooo glad!! My bag turned out awesome!! Now on to the next one!! Thanks!!!

    3. Vivian Marable Roberts

      Cute bag ...


      I made a second one, but increased the length on the lining by six inches, then folded it onto itself to make pockets three inches deep. Then, I stitched dividers, two on one side, one on the other, to hold phone, keys, wallet, etc...


      There is no seam allowance given for joining the two outer pieces. I wanted to post a photo of the one I made. Is that possible?

    6. ROBIN

      Link to download pattern does not work. I have a premium membership but can’t make the one thing I would like to make. Thanks Robin