How to Make a Tote Bag with a Zipper


Hey guys, it’s Clara from Online Fabric Store. Today I’m gonna make a tote bag with a recess zipper This one is made to fit a Mahjong set, but you can make it any size you want. So let’s get started The materials you’ll need are: 1 yard of the outer fabric, I’m using home decor fabric 1 yard of the lining fabric, I’m using muslin, 1 yard of Pellon fusible fleece interfacing, 1 yard of Pellon decor bond fusible stabilizer, A zipper that’s at least as wide as the bag, a ruler, thread, 3 yards of 1 inch webbing, scissors, a fabric marker, pins, an iron, and a sewing machine with a zipper foot Cut two rectangles from the outer fabric They should be the width you want the bag plus one inch by the height plus two and a half inches My bag will be twenty-two inches wide and 11 inches high So I’m cutting pieces that are 23 by 13 and 1/2 inches You can use many different fabrics for the outer fabric like canvas denim nylon, quilting cotton or decor fabric, which is what I’m using If you plan on washing your bag pre-wash the fabric before starting Cut 2 inch squares from the bottom corners This will create the gussets so the size of the squares will determine the depth of the bottom of the bag This bag will have four inch gussets If you want a different size, divide the depth you want the bag in half and cut out squares that are that size Keep in mind this will also change the height of the bag Cut out two pieces of the lining fabric that are the same width as the outer fabric and two inches shorter My pieces are 23 by 11 and a half inches Cut out two inch squares from the bottom corners Use a lightweight fabric for the lining like broadcloth or quilting cotton Cut two pieces from the lining fabric that are 2 and 1/2 inches high and the same width as the other pieces These upper lining pieces will be visible above the zipper so you can use the outer fabric if you prefer I’m adding a pocket to the interior that size to fit Mahjong cards but this is optional The pocket will be 5 by 7 inches Add 1 inch to the width and the height is double the pocket height plus 1 inch, So I’m cutting a piece that’s 11 by 8 inches Cut out pieces from the fusible stabilizer for the outer fabric and upper lining that are 1/2 an inch smaller in all directions For me that’s 22 and 1/2 by 13 inches for the outer pieces and 22 and 1/2 by 2 inches for the upper lining Also cut out a piece that’s the size of the finished pocket which is 5 by 7 inches From the fleece interfacing cut pieces that are 1/2 an inch smaller than the lower lining pieces The stabilizer makes the bag stiffer so it will hold its shape and the fleece interfacing makes the lining more cushioned Both are optional or you can use one kind for both the outer fabric and lining Center the stabilizer on the back of an outer piece with the adhesive side down Press each section for about 10 seconds at a time without sliding the iron. Flip it over and iron the front Repeat for the other outer piece and the upper lining pieces Fuse the stabilizer to the pocket piece half an inch in from one of the ends Do the same thing with the fleece interfacing for the lower lining pieces Cut two pieces of webbing to the length you want Mine are 50 inches long which will create a drop of 11 inches from the top of the bag to the peak of the handles Find the center of the outer fabric measure out 3 and 1/2 inches on both sides and mark the fabric with the disappearing ink marker, chalk, or pins This will allow seven inches between the webbing You may want to adjust this for different sized bags Mark, one and a half inches from the top which is where the stitching will stop Pin the webbing so the inner edges are on the line Starting from the bottom sew the webbing 1/8 of an inch in from the edge Backstitch at the beginning and end of all stitching on the bag I’m using a slightly longer stitch length of three point five millimeters for all my top stitching Stop when you get to the one-and-a-half inch mark and pivot, sew across back and forth for extra strength Pivot again and sew down the other side Do the same thing for the other end of the webbing Repeat to attach the other handle to the second outer piece You can also use straps made out of the fabric you’re using if you prefer Fold the pocket in half with the stabilizer facing out. Sew around the sides on the edge of the stabilizer Leave a gap of a couple inches at the bottom Clip the corners and turn it right-side out Center the pocket three inches down from the top of one of the lower lining pieces and pin Sew close to the edges around the sides and bottom Put the zipper foot on your sewing machine Open the zipper slightly and sew back and forth above the teeth to hold the top together Place the zipper facing up on the top edge of one of the lower lining pieces The upper end of the zipper should be aligned with the side Place one of the upper lining pieces on the top facing down The edges of both lining pieces and the zipper should be aligned Sew down the edge I prefer to adjust as I sew but you can pin if you want When you get to the zipper pull, lift the foot, move the pull, and continue sewing Open the lining fold it back and top stitch Make sure to pull back the piece on the bottom so it doesn’t get out of place as you sew Put the zipper face up on the other lower lining piece and place the upper lining piece on top facing down Sew with all the edges lined up like before Open and top stitch again Fold all the layers back except for one of the upper lining pieces Line up the edge with an outer piece with right sides facing and sew You can switch back to your regular pressing foot I’m using a quarter inch seam allowance here, but half an inch is also fine Repeat for the other upper lining and outer pieces Arrange the layers so the outer pieces are facing each other on one side and the lining pieces are on the other side Line up the bottom edges of the outer pieces and sew with the half inch seam allowance Sew the bottoms of the lining pieces together to Make sure to open the zipper at this point or before sewing the bottoms Next sew the side with the top end of the zipper Fold the zipper in half with the edges pointing down towards the lining side Match up the seams and pin Sew all the way down the side with a half inch seam allowance Arrange and pin the other side in the same way This time stop just before getting to the teeth of the zipper Start sewing on the other side then leave a gap of about six inches and continue sewing the rest of the side of the lining Open one of the corners and match up the seams to form the gusset Sew across with a half inch seam allowance Repeat for the other corner and the lining corners. You can cut off the extra zipper at any time And now the moment of truth. Turn the bag right side out through the opening in the lining Poke out the gusset corners of the outer fabric Fold in the edges of the opening and the lining and sew You can hand stitch with an invisible stitch if you want, but since it’s the lining, the machine stitching won’t be very noticeable Tuck the lining into the bag. Fold at the seam where the outer and lining fabrics meet Top stitch all the way around Zip it up and the tote bag is done Make a tote bag for yourself or as a gift. I made these for my Mahjong loving aunts You can also add interior and exterior zippers or more pockets to put your needs. Thanks for watching this OFS project You