How to Make a Duck Canvas Tote Bag (Step-by-Step Tutorial)

I love to hand-make things like tote bags—I think it's fun because I can put my own twist on how the finished bag comes out. So let's get started!

Things You Will Need

Step 1: Glue the Inside Bag Fabric

The fabric I had was left over from other projects—I took those pieces and combined them to add up to the correct measurement. Now, once you have all your fabrics, you will take the inside bag fabric and glue the fabric to the duck canvas. If you have one piece, then just glue the one piece to your duck canvas. If you don't have fabric glue, you can always use pins.

Step 2: Sew the Inner and Outer Parts

Now we sew to secure the fabric. Pick a pretty stitch! We are going to sew right on the line in between the Hello Kitty fabric and the blue fabric on both sides. Make sure to do this to both inner and outer parts of the bag.

You should have something like the photo below. Left is the inner bag and the right is the outer bag.

Step 3: Create the Handles

Now we will move on to the handles. You can use pins and sew your handles together, or you can use the fabric glue. I like to use the glue just because it's easier and there is less sewing.
First, you will glue the fabric pieces onto each other to make the handles long enough. (Remember, I use leftover fabric to add up to the correct measurement.)

Next, you'll glue duck canvas to the fabric. Turn the fabric over and place a strip of duck canvas in the middle. Add some glue to the duck canvas. Fold over and press down, and then add some glue again. Continue adding glue and folding over. You'll fold over 3–4 times, as shown in the photos.

After that, you'll sew the handles together at the joints and then sew them onto the bag.

Step 4: Sew the Handles to the Bag

Now we will sew the handles onto the bag. First, you'll take the inner bag, fold it in half, and mark the middle.

After that, you'll want to pin your handles to the bag about two inches from the middle point. You can use your ruler for this. 

Then you'll use your sewing machine to sew the handles onto the bag. No need for the pretty stitch this time: All you need is a straight stitch.

Step 5: Sew the Sides and Box the Corners

Now you will fold the bag, making sure the seams line up. Pin the seams together and begin sewing half an inch from the side. Sew the sides of the bag closed. You will do the same thing to the outer bag later, but first, you'll box the corners for the inner bag.

Now it's time to box the inner bag's corners. The video will help you follow the steps for this part. After that, you'll line up the sides for your outer bag and sew down the sides. Then you'll box the corners again, just like you did for the inner bag.

Step 6: Join the Inner and Outer Bags

After you have both the inner and outer bags sewed, you will turn the inner bag right side out and the outer bag inside out. Put the outer bag inside the inner bag, making sure the seams line up. Pin them together and sew, leaving a six-inch opening to pull the bag through. Push the inner bag into the outer bag to complete!

How to Make This Simple Project Even Easier

This bag took me two days to make, and that's just because I like to try and make sure the bag is well-made. You don't have to do all those steps: You could use only two pieces of fabrics (one of them being duck canvas), sew the sides, box the corners, sew on the handles, sew the whole bag together, and then pull through. But if you like this bag and would like to buy it instead, you can find it in my Etsy shop (Pinkolay).

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