Sewing Tutorial: Make a Library Tote Bag

Long days. No school. Lots of trips to the library.

It’s so important to keep kids focused on their reading skills over the summer. What a better way to keep them engaged with books, than making regular trips to the library. Make your emerging reader a personalized library tote bag, and going to the library becomes even more fun! You’ll use Dritz® bag hardware – a magnetic snap, swivel hook and key fob – to add function and style. Make the straps out of Dritz® belting – there are many colors to choose from, so they’re sure to match your fabric just perfectly.

Sewing Tutorial: Make a Library Tote Bag

Dritz® supplies:

Omnigrid® supplies:

Other supplies:

  • ½ yard of fusible fleece (such as Fairfield™ Smooth)
  • 1-1/8 yard of lightweight fusible interfacing (such as Fairfield™ Stabilize Lightweight)
  • ½ yard of fabric 1 for tote outer
  • ¼ yard of fabric 2 for tote base
  • ½ yard of fabric 3 for lining
  • 2 pc: 1.5” x 2” thin cardboard
  • 12” piece of ⅞” grosgrain ribbon for key fob

Fabric prep (we used Lavish by Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery Fabrics and Free Spirit Designer Solids.):

Fabric 1 (Paint Print):

  • 2 pc: 11.25” x 16” for outer panels A
  • 2 pc: 2.25” x 16” for lining accent B
  • 1 pc: 6.5” x 9.5” for interior pocket C
  • 1 pc: 2” x 4” for swivel hook tab D

Fabric 2 (Blue Solid):

  • 2 pc: 5.25” x 16” for outer panels F
  • 1 pc: 7.5” x 9.5” for interior pocket lining G

Fabric 3 (Dot):

  • 2 pc: 14.25” x 16” for lining panels H

Interfacing:

  • 2 pc: 16” x 16” fusible fleece for outer panels
  • 2 pc: 16” x 16” lightweight interfacing for lining panels
  • 2 pc: 6” x 9” lightweight interfacing for pocket lining

Belting:

  • 2 pc: 45”
  • 1 pc: 12”

Other notes:

All seams are ¼” unless noted otherwise.

SA = seam allowance

Finished bag size: 14” x 15” x 3”


Fabric for a library tote bag

1) Stitch pieces A and F, right sides together, to form the outer panels. Press seams towards piece A.


 

Fabric for a library tote bag

2) Stitch pieces B and H, right sides together, to form the lining panels. Press seams towards piece B.


Sewing fabric to make a library tote

3) Edgestitch along all the seams on fabric 1.

4) Fuse fleece to the wrong side of the outer panels. Fuse interfacing to the wrong side of the lining panels. Set aside. 


Fabric to make a library tote

5) To make the interior pocket, center and fuse lightweight interfacing to the wrong side of the G and C fabric pieces.


Fabric to make a library tote

6) Place fabric pieces C and G, right sides together aligning the bottom and side edges. Stitch along both sides and across the bottom, backstitching at the beginning and end. Trim the corners and turn the pocket right side out; gently poke out the corners. Press.


Fabric to make a library tote

7) Fold the pocket lining down ½” so the raw edges meet. Press. Fold down ½” again to enclose the raw edges and create the accent band on the pocket. Edgestitch along the bottom of the band, backstitching at the beginning and end.


Fabric to make a library tote

8) Center the pocket on a lining panel, 3” down from the top. Pin in place. Edgestitch along the sides and across the bottom, backstitching at the beginning and end. Stitch a second row ¼” from the pocket edge.


Fabric to make a library tote

9) Stitch a double row down the center of the pocket to divide it. Start just below the band and be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end.


Make a library tote bag

10) Make the swivel hook tab from fabric piece D. Fold in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Press.

Open and fold raw edges toward the center crease. Press.

Fold along the center crease once again. Press. Edgestitch all sides, backstitching at the beginning and end. Set aside. 

Make a library tote bag

11) Install the magnetic snaps on lining pieces. Apply snap 1.5” down from the center top edge of the accent band on the lining panels.


An Omnigrid ruler shows squares in bottom corner of fabric

12) Cut away 1.5” x 1.5” squares from the bottom corners of both the lining and the outer panels.


Apply Dritz Fray Check to raw edges of belting

13) Apply Fray Check® to the raw edges of the belting.


Position belting to construct library tote bag

14) Position one belting strap on each outer panel of the tote. Place each end 2.5” in from each bottom cut-out corner and 4” in from the top corners; pin. Be sure the handle is not twisted. Measure down 1.5” from the top of the tote and insert a pin in the belting.

sewing in progress - making a library tote bag

15) Edgestitch along one side of the belting and stop at the top pin. Stitch an X across the strap for security then stitch back down the other side of the belting. Stitch another X just above the solid band of fabric then continue stitching to the bottom of the strap.

Repeat for other straps.


Making a library tote bag

16) Slide small tab through the swivel hook. Fold the tab in half and pin to an outer panel 6” in from the right side. Baste in place along the top with a ⅛” SA.


Constructing a library tote bag

17) Pin the outer panels right sides together. Be sure to match the seams of the tote base. Stitch along both sides and across the bottom. Backstitch at the beginning and end. DO NOT stitch around the cut out corners.

18) Pin the lining panels right sides together. Stitch along both sides. Start with a ¼” SA at the top of the tote and gradually move over to a ⅜” SA as you get to the bottom of the accent band; continue down the side of the lining. Use a ⅜” SA across the bottom. Make sure to leave a 5” opening in the bottom lining for turning the tote. Backstitch at the beginning and end and DO NOT stitch around the cut out corners. 


Constructing a library tote bag

19) To make the bottom of the tote flat, nest and match the side seams of the cut out corners. Stitch across with a ¼” SA for the outer and ⅜” SA for the lining.

Finger press the belting open at the bottom seam to make it flat. 

Dritz Getta Grip clips holding sewing project together

20) Turn tote outer right side out. Slide the outer into the lining, right sides together. Match the side seams and use Getta Grip® clips to hold in place. Stitch around the top of the tote.


making a library tote bag

21) Pull the outer tote through the opening in the lining. Machine or hand stitch the opening closed.

Press the lining and the outer tote, being careful not to press over the belting. 


Dritz Getta Grip clips holding sewing project together

22) Push the lining into place inside the tote. Topstitch around the top with a ¼” SA. Be sure to stitch over the straps as well as the swivel hook tab.


Library tote bag with Dritz swivel hook & key fob hardware

23) Make the key fob to attach to the front of the tote using the grosgrain ribbon and belting.

 

Library Tote Bag

Head to the library and load up on summer reading! This roomy bag holds lots of books, and the key fob hangs from the swivel hook, and holds your keys and library card handy.

What kinds of summer sewing do you have planned? Tell us about it! We’d love to know what you’re making!

Huge thanks to our friend, Jennifer Mathis of Ellison Lane, who designed and made this library tote bag for us. Jennifer is contributing regularly to our blog and we are absolutely thrilled with the design aesthetic and creativity she brings to her sewing projects! Check out all the projects she’s made for us here.

 

 

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