Carry It Pretty! 1-Hour Quilted Tote Bag Tutorial

Ready to make a quilted tote that’s the ideal size for your sewing tools, a small gift or even your lunch? I’m excited to share a quilted tote bag tutorial for beginners or anyone looking for a fun and rewarding sewing project you can whip in just an hour! You can easily make this bag with fabric from your stash and create a useful tote that is fun to make and keep or give as a gift.

Quilted tote bag with sewing notions

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Featuring a full lining and a quilted outer panel to give the bag a nice structure, the finished bag is 13″ tall with a 13″-wide opening when flattened. This quilted bag is inspired by the wonderful tote bag tutorial by my friend Mary, who blogs with me at Craft Buds. If you are looking for a simply sewn fabric tote bag with jute handles, check out her free pattern in two sizes!

Using the measurements for her small tote, I’ve incorporated a pieced outer fabric panel and contrasting fabric handle to show off different fabric prints: the fabric shown is Snow Day by Maude Asbury for Blend Fabrics, and I’ve assembled the bag a little differently. Read on for my full quilted bag tutorial, which you can sew up in about an hour!

Quilted tote bag tutorial


  • Outer Fabric:  Print A: 2 pieces 15″ wide x 8″ tall;
    Print B: 2 pieces 15″ wide x 8″ tall
  • Lining Fabric: 2 pieces 15″ x 15″
  • Batting: 2 pieces 15″ x 15″
  • Handle Fabric: 2 pieces 3″ x 14″

Download a FREE 6-page printable PDF of this pattern here >>

Assemble the outer fabric panels

Step 1:

First, take your 4 panels of outer fabric (pictured left: 2 from print A and 2 from print B). With the right sides of the fabric facing, sew together two different panels along a 15″ edge. Repeat with the second set. Press the seams of both panels open (pictured right).

quilted tote bag panels

Step 2:

Place 1 outer fabric panel on quilt batting and quilt as desired. Repeat with the other panel and batting square.

Next, stack the two outer panels with right sides facing and cut out a rectangle that is 2 1/2″ tall and 3″ wide from each of the bottom corners. Stack the lining panels with right sides facing and repeat, cutting out the rectangles.

Using a 3/8″ seam allowance, stitch up the left, right and bottom sides of the stacked outer panel pieces, avoiding the corners. Repeat with the lining panels, except leave a 4″ wide gap for turning in the middle of the lining bottom. Backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam.

Boxing the corners

Step 3:

Use your fingers to open up the corners of the lining with cut-out squares, flattening them so that the seams are aligned. Press the seams open and pin the seams so they are flat, boxing the corners. Repeat with the corners of the quilted bag panel.

Bag outer and lining with boxed corners

Step 4: 

Stitch the boxed lining corners with a 3/8″ seam allowance along the line you’ve pinned. Repeat with the quilted bag panel.

make a 4-fold strap

Step 5:

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

topstitch the bag handles

Step 6:

Fold each the handle raw edges back to the center line. Fold the straps back in half. Topstitch the 14″ long handles on both sides 1/8″ from the edge to secure.

attach bag handles

Step 7:

Turn the quilted bag right side out. Find the center of the quilted bag front and place a pin to mark it. Measure 3″ to the left and 3″ to the right of that point, and begin your strap along those points. Pin the handles in place, raw edges touching the raw edges of the bag top.

baste the handles in place

Step 8:

Baste or stitch the handles in place on the quilted bag using an 1/8″ seam allowance.

attach the bag to lining

Step 9:

Place the quilted bag (turned right side out) inside the lining fabric (turned wrong side out). This means the right sides of both fabrics will be 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 3/8″ seam allowance.

topstitch bag

Step 10:

Turn the bag right side out through the hole in the lining, stuffing the lining back inside the quilted bag. Press. Topstitch the bag opening 1/4″ from the edge to reinforce the seam. Machine stitch the opening in the lining closed.

Sew a simple, quilted tote bag in 1 hour with this tutorial

Download a FREE 6-page printable PDF of this pattern >>

I hope you enjoyed this simple quilted bag tutorial! Want another quick quilted project you can sew from your stash? Check out my quilted zipper pouch on the Bluprint blog. And make sure to Pin the photo below to save this pattern for later!

Sew a simple, quilted tote bag in 1 hour with this tutorial

Free Online Sewing Class

free online sewing class

Learn how to make a stylish reversible tote & zipper pouch.Enroll FREE Now »

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