TOTE BAG and matching tissue holder


Home made bags are a thing of beauty! They are also very addictive, once you’ve made one, you’ll be coming back for more, because they can be simple to make, quick and don’t take a lot of fabric so, like this one, they make great beginners projects.

And why not make a matching tissue holder like this one. It makes the perfect gift too.IMG_3173

So here is how you make the Tote bag and matching tissue holder. The finished Tote bag measures 39cm x 35cm with long handles measuring 100cm and an inner pocket.

TOTE BAG and tissue holder

You will need:

50 cm* of outer fabric, lining fabric and iron on medium or heavy interfacing.               (*if your fabric has a one way direction you will need 60cm x 112cm of outer fabric). ETSY SHOP AFRICAN FABRIC HALF METRE LISTING  as seen below 

A reel of thread.


LAYPLANScreen Shot 2020-04-24 at 19.13.06

Using the layplan above as a guide, cut out the following pieces:

Outer fabric

Cut two pieces 42cm x 36cm (Bag Front and Back)

Cut two pieces 36cm x 8cm (Bag inner top band)

Cut two pieces 7 cm x 100cm (Bag straps)

Cut three pieces 10cm x 15cm (tissue holder)

Lining fabric

Cut two pieces 36cm x 36cm (Bag lining)

Cut one piece 16cm x 14cm (inner bag pocket)

Cut one piece 10cm x 15cm (tissue holder)

This is what you do:

MAKE THE STRAPS Fold the straps in 1cm each long side, press. Then fold in half so the folded edges are aligned. Pin. Stitch down each long side, close the edge. Press. Place to one side.1

TOP INNER BAND With the RST* (right sides together) pin the top band to the lining at the longest edge. Sew a 1 cm seam allowance. Press the seam allowance upwards towards the band. Top stitch on the right side a few millimetres from the seam line on the band side. Press.


Now pin the handles to the top edge of the inner band 12cm apart, positioned centrally (ie leave a gap 6cm either side of the centre point before the strap). See how they are hanging downwards, These handles are short, if yours are longer then tie them to keep them from getting in the way. 4aStitch across the straps at the top, 5mm from the top edge, to secure them in place, so you can remove the pins

POCKET  Make a small hem at the top edge of the pocket by folding over 1cm press, then fold again 1cm, press. Sew.

Fold over 1cm at the remaining un-hemmed sides. Pin to the lining approx 2cm down from the inner band positioned centrally. Topstitch around the three folded edge sides close (3mm) to the outer edge of the pocket. Press.


Now pin one outer bag front piece on top of the inner band and lining piece at the top edge with the RST. Sew across with a 1cm seam allowance. Press the seam allowance flat open. Top stitch on the band edge close to the seam line. You can see that the handle is encased in the seam and is now secure.

Repeat for the other outer bag back and inner band/lining pieces.

CONSTRUCTING THE BAG so now place one bag piece open flat on a table with the right side facing up. Place the second bag piece on top with the RST. Align the lining to lining and bag outer pieces, align the raw side and lower edges all around making sure the cross seams match up. Pin all around. 6a

Now sew all around the bag with a 1cm seam allowance, leaving a 10cm opening in the bottom of the lining. Trim across the seam allowance corners.8Now turn your bag inside out through the opening in the lining.

Push the lining into the bag, pushing out the corners inside with a pokey tool (knit needle/ chopstick or a blunt pencil that kind of thing).  Press. And there, my friends, you have a lovely bag. Pat your self on the back!

TISSUE HOLDER Fold and press in half two tissue holder outer pieces with the long sides matching and the wrong sides together. Lay one tissue holder lining piece and one outer piece on top with the wrong sides together. Lay the folded pieces on top of the outer piece with the folded edges at the centre. Pin all around. Sew all around with a 1cm seam allowance. Finish the raw edge with a zig zag stitch. Trim across the seam allowance corners to reduce the bulk. Turn inside out, pushing out the corners. Press. Pop a pack of tissues inside and voila! All done.


Copyright Fiona Hesford. All rights Reserved. Please contact me if you wish to use the text or photographs. 

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