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Simple Shopping Bag

Tote bag project

This project is an extract from Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi, published by Tuttle Publishing. The book has 25 bag projects in a variety of sizes and shapes, and a total of 60 variations, lots of bags for your buck!


This easy to sew tote bag project features two sets of straps, one short set for carrying the bag by hand and one long set for wearing it over your shoulder. Whichever set of straps is not being used just neatly drops down into the bag so it’s not visible.

Please note that although the materials list below mentions hand sewing the bag you can easily make it on your sewing machine too.


Drafting your bag pattern


Linen print (for bag) 18 x 38 in (45 x 95cm)

Ribbon (for handles) 1 in wide x 87 in (2.5cmwide x 220cm)

Fusible belt interfacing 1 ⅛ in wide x 32 in (3cm wide x 80cm)

Hand sewing thread such as MOCO brand, light purple

Hand sewing thread such as Schappe Spun brand, light beige



○ Measurements given in inches and centimeters

○ Add figure in circle as seam allowance when drafting pattern



1 Attach fusible belt interfacing (use dry iron on medium heat)

Attaching interfacing

2 Sew sides of bag together

Sewing a bag together

3 Fold ribbon for straps

Sewing bag straps

4 Sandwich straps between bag opening layers and attach

Hemming a bag project
Project from Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics
Project for a tote bag with double straps

Now your finished bag is ready to use.

This bag project came from Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi, published by Tuttle Publishing. In the book there are 24 other bag projects from shopping bags to shoulder bags and clutches. Below you can see some of our favourite projects from the book. Photography by Masahito Jyugame and Kana Watanabe.

Projects from bag-making book