How to Make Your Own Canvas & Leather Tote Bag

A Step-by-Step Tutorial




I've been obsessed with black and white stripes for a long time now, and when you mix in tan leather, it doesn't get much better. I combined two of my favorite looks to create this cute yet practical canvas tote bag. Here are the steps to make your own:


FOR THIS PROJECT YOU WILL NEED:

Canvas fabric

Poly/cotton blend (or other fabric for liner)

8 Brads

Stencil paper

Leather trim

Sewing machine

Fabric pins

Fabric scissors

Hot glue gun




STEP 1: CREATE PATTERN

One of the key fundamentals I was taught during my fashion design courses was how to create a pattern. A pattern is crucial in making sure the fabric is cut exactly as needed. Over time, I've learned to freehand a lot of these. If you are not able to make up a pattern on your own, I would trace an existing tote bag you already have, or purchase a template online or in a craft store.


I used tracing paper and drew out what I wanted the tote shape to look like. I then cut out the pattern.



STEP 2: CUT FABRIC

Take your fabric and fold it in half. Then place the pattern and pin it to the area you want to cut out of the fabric. In this tutorial, I will be showing you how to line the bag, that's why I have two types of fabric. With the striped fabric it's important you cut the same portion of stripes out on each side so when the two pieces are sewn together, they line up.



STEP 3: SEW LINING TO EXTERIOR

You should now have four pieces of fabric, all the same shape and size as your original pattern (2 canvas and 2 liner fabric). Take one of each and turn them face to face. Pin along the outer edge, but leave the top edge unpinned as shown in the photos below.



STEP 4: SEW TOP SEAM

Take your two sets and turn them back right side out. Then, fold the top 1/2" edge of each fabric inwards and pin the fold as shown below. Then sew a seam 1/8" from the top of the bag.



STEP 5: SEW SIDES TOGETHER

Take your two sets and turn them face to face. Pin along the edge, leaving the top unpinned. Then sew a 1/4" seam around the bag. Turn the bag right side out once the seam is complete.



STEP 6: CUT LEATHER TRIM

Grab your leather trim and measure out how long you want your handle drop to be. You can use another bag as reference, or you can just cut them to 16" as shown in the tutorial. I made sure to round the edges so they weren't left frayed.



STEP 7: ATTACH LEATHER TRIM

Pin your leather straps in place, then sew them to the bag.



STEP 8: GLUE BRADS

Cut the back of your brads off with scissors or wire cutters. Then lay them out where you want to attach them. Use your hot glue gun to attach the brads to each side of the bag.


Not too hard, right? This bag will take you 60-90 minutes depending on your sewing ability. I'm going to have to make a couple kid's versions of these now for my girls! I'd love to hear your thoughts on how these projects go for you!




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