Beginner Guide on How to Sew a Tote Bag with Flat Bottom

Follow this DIY bag instructional exercise to find out how to sew a tote bag with flat bottom – something else known as a gusseted pack. I’ll share my design for a tote bag with a gusset, showing all estimations, as well as a step-by-step guide to making a tote bag with a flat bottom. All you have to do is select the fabric! 

Step-by-step guide on how to Sew a Tote bag with flat bottom 

Let’s start to learn!

Need material to sew a tote bag with flat bottom:

  • Patterned fabric 
  • Plain fabric 
  • Fusible interfacing
  • Two 0.7-inch magnetic buttons 
  • Pins 
  • Scissors
  • Marker
  • Iron

Step 1: Start with fabric cutting 

Cut out six square pieces of fabric – two designed, two plain, and two meddle – that are all 12⅝ inches. Another cut out three more pieces – one designed, one dim, and one meddle – that are 12⅝ inches by 10¼ inches.

Once that’s done, cut out three strips (one in each fabric) that are 5 inches by 33.5 inches, as well as two extra pieces of plain texture that are 13⅝ inches by 15⅞ inches, which can be utilized for the straps.

The wrapped-up estimations of this bag are around 11⅞ inches W × 11⅞ inches H × 3¼ inches D. I cleared out a crease stipend of ⅜ inch. 

Step 2: Shaping, and Assembling Fabric Pieces

 Ironing Interfacing:

   – After marking and shaping, iron the three pieces of interfacing onto the wrong side of the three pieces of squared patterned fabric. Ensure the interfacing adheres properly by applying even heat and pressure.

Assembling Fabric Pieces:

   – Place the patterned fabric and the grey fabric pieces together with the right sides touching.

   – Pin the fabrics together securely.

   – Cut around the shaped interfacing, ensuring all three pieces of fabric are the same shape. 

In this step you will prepare and shape your fabric pieces accurately, ensuring a consistent and professional finish for your sewing project.

3- Sewing the Fabric Pieces in bag shape:

Joining Grey and Patterned Fabric:

   – With the right sides of the grey and patterned fabric pieces facing each other, pin along the straight edge.

   – Sew along the pinned edge using an ⅜ inch seam allowance.

   – Turn the sewn piece right side out, so the wrong sides are now facing each other.

   – Pin down the sewn edge and sew along it again for added reinforcement.

Assembling the Bag Body:

   – Place the sewn piece over another patterned piece, positioning it slightly lower so that the top of the underlying patterned piece remains visible.

   – Pin the fabrics together, ensuring alignment.

   – Sew around the three remaining open sides, including the curved edges, to form the body of your bag.

Now you’ll successfully assemble the main body of your tote bag with a clean and reinforced edge.

Step 4: Create bag straps 

Take your two fabric rectangles and fold them in half lengthwise. Iron the folds to create a crease, then unfold them. Next, fold the sides towards the crease to form a bias tape that conceals all raw edges. Pin the bias tape closed and sew along both sides to secure it. 

For the straps, take the remaining cut-out patterned piece and measure where you want the straps to be placed. Pin the straps in place (positioned 4 inches from the edge), then extend the strap to the opposite side of the same fabric piece to form a loop. This loop will act as your bag’s strap. Sew the straps in place, ensuring they are secure, and repeat the process on the other side.

Step 5: Create a bag gusset and flat bottom

To make the bag gusset and flat bottom, start by taking your long rectangular pieces (one patterned, one grey, and one interfacing) and iron the interfacing onto the patterned piece. Next, fold the body pieces in half with the right sides touching and cut a small notch on the bottom edge at the center. Fold your long pieces of fabric the same way and cut notches in the folded corners. Align the notches and place both pieces with right sides together, then pin in place. Bring the bottom piece up to the top of your bag, align the corners, and pin again. Cut notches along the curved corners, pin around the entire piece, and sew, leaving an ⅜ inch seam allowance.

Step 6: Insert the button 

To insert the button, start by placing your two body pieces with the right sides together and sew them with an ⅜ inch seam allowance. To ensure the fabric lays flat, cut notches along the curved corners of the seam allowance. Next, turn the bag right side out. 

For the lining, use the plain pieces cut out in the same shape as the body pieces. Fold the grey pieces in half to find the center and mark this spot, as this is where your button will be placed. Iron small squares of interfacing onto the marked spots reinforce the fabric. Use a seam ripper to make small holes in the fabric at these marked spots, then insert the buttons into the holes and secure them. This process ensures that the buttons are neatly and securely attached to your bag.

Step 7:  Make the lining 

Using your remaining plain pieces of fabric, attach the bottom pieces of the lining in the same way you attached the bottom pieces of the body. Wrap the lining around one half of the body, pin it in place, and sew securely. 

Next, place the two body pieces with the right sides together, align them, and sew. Be sure to leave an opening so you can turn the bag right side out later. Insert the body of the bag into the lining with the right sides touching. Clip the layers together to keep them aligned, then sew around the top edge, leaving a ⅜ inch seam allowance.

This method ensures that your bag and lining are neatly attached, with the opening allowing you to turn the bag right side out for a polished finish.

Step 8: Ready your tote bag

Pull the body of the bag out through the gap, then clip the gap closed and sew it shut. Push the lining back inside the bag’s body, iron the edges to smooth them out, and finish by sewing a final top seam around the bag’s opening. This ensures a neat and professional finish.

Final Thought on Sewing a tote bag with flat bottom 

Sewing a tote bag with a flat bottom is a rewarding and practical project that combines creativity with functionality. By following the detailed steps—cutting and preparing your fabric, attaching the lining, creating a gusseted bottom, and adding sturdy straps—you can craft a versatile and stylish bag. Whether for personal use, as a gift, or even to start a small business, this article allows you to customize your tote to suit any taste or need. The skills you develop while making this bag can also be applied to other sewing projects, making it a valuable addition to your repertoire. So gather your materials, take your time, and enjoy the process of creating a beautiful, handmade tote bag with a flat bottom.

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