DIY: One hour tote (in two sizes).

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Are you new to sewing? Have a sewing machine but haven't dusted it off in years? I came up with this project for you. It's not a huge commitment in time or fabric, and turns out pretty cute (if I do say so myself). This bag is not lined, but because I'm using duck cloth (a type of canvas) and finishing the inside seams, it is casual but sturdy, simple but elegant.

First, you'll need to choose which size bag you'd like to make. They're just slightly different sizes (and the measurements below are just the bag's body... without the handles). Also, you'll need to make sure your machine can handle duck cloth. More heavy duty machines will have no trouble with it, while older or cheaper machines may not be able to handle it. If you're worried about your machine, try using sewing needles made for denim or try out a lighter fabric before attempting the duck cloth. Other good options would be linen, a linen-cotton blend, or a lighter home decor weight fabric.

For the bow, I used linen - but you can use any home decor weight fabric or even quilting cotton. 
Now that you've finished the bow, it's time to cut the pieces for your bag. Here's where you can decide which size bag you'd like. For a smaller bag, cut two straps 3.5" x 23" and 2 body pieces 12" x 15". For a larger bag, follow the instructions below.

As always, I hope you enjoy! Please let me know if you have questions in the comment section. I'm happy to clarify any part you may be stuck on. And if you've made the bag, I'd love to see! Leave me a link in the comments section or shoot me an email!


  1. whitney you do the best sewing tutorials!! (all your tutorials are amazing) about 7 months ago I made the bow clutch from your tutorial using my mom's sewing machine and it was so easy to follow! This bag looks so cute too, makes me really wish I had a sewing machine!! :)

  2. this would be perfect for me! I´ve got a sewing machine, and a lot of fabrics laying around, but I need some practice, but I think this is something I can actually make! And that bow is such a cute decoration!

  3. sooo pretty!!
    thankyou 4 the tut!

  4. These are super cute! You do the best tutorials cant wait to try them out! I agree with Callie your bow clutch tutorial was the best. I even had to link to it from my blog tutorial page hehe. :)

    Erin (

  5. These are sooo cute! Incredibly tutorial!

  6. In love. I can't wait to make this ASAP! I've made probably 5 of the bow clutches, so I am seriously excited to make this tote, too. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  7. These totes are so cute! You have literally the best sewing tutorial ever! I love how you have so many pictures about the step by step process. It really helps so much. I tried making the clutch with the bow about a month ago and had no trouble at all. All of the pictures help with all of the little tips and tricks that really make the project. I cannot wait to try this one. Keep up the great work with the tutorials!
    P.S. I ADORE your blog!!!

  8. I've made my tote recently! Wanted to share so others can get some inspiration. Love your diy projects Whitney! You have a way with explaining the steps so greatly :) God Bless!

    1. Thanks so much, Laura! Yours looks fantastic!!

  9. merci pour le tuto très bien expliqué! very clear explications! i will try!
    sophie from france

  10. I love this bag! Thank you!

  11. The pinterest link is to the one I made. :)

  12. Thanks for the great tutorial! I found this on Pinterest last week and made it for a friend's birthday this week. Here's a link to my finished bag:

    I was wondering though, did you mean to have the length of the strip the bow sits on be 23 inches long? It doesn't seem that long in comparison to the other pieces in your photo, and it left a large amount of overhang when I was sewing the bag.

  13. Hi Whitney,

    Wanted to let you know that I have your DIY One Hour Tote featured on my blog at:

    Would love for you to stop by for a visit.


  14. I made four of these for teachers Christmas gifts. I loved the finish. Thank you for such a beautiful pattern.

  15. This is perfect. I would love to share it on our blog. I'll make sure to link it back here for full tutorial. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Made the Totes and they turned out great. The first one was challenging but once
    re-reading the instructions it all fell into place. Thank you for sharing...

  17. Thanks for sharing.The tote bags are very nice and what ever you are shown how to create is very nice with the pics.I Like it very much.For mobile covers we cant use this kind of material.

  18. Great Post about totes, I just love them...


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