Make An All-In-One Gift and Tote Bag

Make a Reversible Tote Bag to use as a Gift Bag and that can be used as a Handbag.  You'll have a Gift on a Gift!
Make a Reversible Tote Bag to use as a Gift Bag and that can be used as a Handbag. You'll have a Gift on a Gift! | Source

Got Leftover Fabric? Make a Gift or Tote Bag!


Making a tote bag then filling it with a special gift of home made treats, perfume, or other items is to give a double gift.

As well, the pleasure of designing and creating a tote bag for your own use is a twofold reason to begin planning this project today!

You can make reusable grocery bags as well as gift bags following this tutorial.

Think Outside the Box as You Plan to Make Your Gift or Tote Bag Project


This hub explains how I made my bag but the purpose of my posting this is to show you how to design your own tote bag to use as a gift bag. Do keep in mind that you can piece fabric together to make your own exclusive, multi-purpose bag of any size.

Think through the patterns and solids that you have on hand, as well as the colors and textures. Decide what size you want to make, or perhaps can make is better phrasing since the amount of leftover fabric you have will help you determine the size of your bag. Then go to work following the basic instructions below.


Design a happy project and make a bag out of the extra fabric you have stored away:

• Use simple sewing techniques to make a tote bag that will replace a disposable gift bag.

• Create a pretty tote bag to do your shopping with.

• Make sturdy reusable grocery bags that are multi-purpose.

• Mix and match bright fabric scraps to create a uniquely designed bag for someone special.

• Get pretty results by planning out your creation and piecing fabric to make the components that your bag requires.

Don't you think this all in one gift and tote bag is a great recipe for happiness?


As you consider making this project, be sure to envision how to design some for various holidays and occasions!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Shell Fabric Pieced TogetherLining Fabric Cut To Size
Shell Fabric Pieced Together
Shell Fabric Pieced Together | Source
Lining Fabric Cut To Size
Lining Fabric Cut To Size | Source

Let’s Get Started on a Gift Bag and/or Tote Bag Project!


As I mentioned, the amount of fabric scraps you have determines the size bag you can make. Select your fabrics and piece them together to make a rectangle. The rectangle shown in the photo is 12" by 22".

You will need one of these rectangles cut out of the bag's shell fabric and one cut out of the fabric you choose for the lining of the bag. I did not piece my lining fabric, but it would be fine to do so.


Click thumbnail to view full-size
Sides of the Handles Have Opposite FabricsPulling One End ThroughPinning 3" From Each EndQuilted Effect On Handles
Sides of the Handles Have Opposite Fabrics
Sides of the Handles Have Opposite Fabrics | Source
Pulling One End Through
Pulling One End Through | Source
Pinning 3" From Each End
Pinning 3" From Each End | Source
Quilted Effect On Handles
Quilted Effect On Handles | Source


The handles for my bag were cut at 2" by 14". I used both the shell fabric and lining fabric to make these, but handles can be made in various ways. The photos have captions that I hope will be helpful.

These were sewn right sides together with a 1/4" seam, leaving the ends open. Pulling one end through I then pressed the seams flat, putting the seams in the middle and pressing a folded edge on each side.

I folded the handles in half at the center, pinning them at 3" from the ends, leaving the remaining 3" open. Sewing the length between the pins several times gave the handles a more substantial, quilted feel and appearance. I set the handles aside at this point.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Photo A Shows Fabrics Pieced Together For The Large PocketPhoto B Shows Green Rectangle Folded And Sewn To Large PocketPhoto C Shows The Lining For The Large Pocket Photo D Shows Layered Pockets Positioned And Pinned, Ready For Sewing.
Photo A Shows Fabrics Pieced Together For The Large Pocket
Photo A Shows Fabrics Pieced Together For The Large Pocket | Source
Photo B Shows Green Rectangle Folded And Sewn To Large Pocket
Photo B Shows Green Rectangle Folded And Sewn To Large Pocket | Source
Photo C Shows The Lining For The Large Pocket
Photo C Shows The Lining For The Large Pocket | Source
Photo D Shows Layered Pockets Positioned And Pinned, Ready For Sewing.
Photo D Shows Layered Pockets Positioned And Pinned, Ready For Sewing. | Source


Wanting to make layered pockets for my bag I first pieced contrasting fabrics to make a 6" by 8" rectangle, shown in Photo A.

Next I cut a single piece of green fabric into a 4" by 10" rectangle, then folded this rectangle in half, right sides together, and sewed a 1/4" seam on each side. After turning and carefully pressing the seams I top stitiched the green pocket.

Centering it and lining up the bottom edges to pin it to the larger pocket, I sewed the green pocket sides to the larger pocket--see Photo B.

I cut a white lining the same size as the large pocket and sewed it to the large pocket right sides together with a 1/4" seam, leaving an opening in the bottom so the unit of layered pockets could be turned. After turning and pressing the unit, I top-stitched the top edge, shown in Photo C.

Positioning the layered pockets about 2" from the top of the tote bag's lining, I laid it backwards, pinned it, and sewed a 12" seam across the bottom. Folding the unit of pockets back up I pressed the seam and pinned it in place.

Photo D is of the layered pocket unit folded up, pinned in place, ready to be sewn down one side, across the bottom, and up the other side.

You may wish to design other pocket shapes and/or make more or less than I chose to make for this bag.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Photo E Showing Bottom Of Bag Folded Flat Against Side SeamPhoto F Showing Triangle Folded UpPhoto G Showing Both Corners Folded Flat Against Side Seams With Triangles Folded UpPhoto H Showing How To Mark Sewing LinePhoto I Showing How To Sew Wide End Of Triangle.
Photo E Showing Bottom Of Bag Folded Flat Against Side Seam
Photo E Showing Bottom Of Bag Folded Flat Against Side Seam | Source
Photo F Showing Triangle Folded Up
Photo F Showing Triangle Folded Up | Source
Photo G Showing Both Corners Folded Flat Against Side Seams With Triangles Folded Up
Photo G Showing Both Corners Folded Flat Against Side Seams With Triangles Folded Up | Source
Photo H Showing How To Mark Sewing Line
Photo H Showing How To Mark Sewing Line | Source
Photo I Showing How To Sew Wide End Of Triangle.
Photo I Showing How To Sew Wide End Of Triangle. | Source


The next step was to fold the pieced rectangle for the shell in half, right sides together, and sew up the side seams.

Then I squared off the bottom of the bag by sewing a triangle across each corner. Flattening the bottom of the bag onto the side seam and folding approximately 1 1/2" up from the point, then marking at equal distances for sewing. See Photos E, F, G, H, and I to give you a better idea of this process.


GIft Tote Bag Lining With Side Seams And Bottom Triangles
GIft Tote Bag Lining With Side Seams And Bottom Triangles | Source


After repeating the same process for sewing the side seams and triangles, the lining was ready for inserting into the shell.

By turning the triangle corners of the shell and lining up each side I was able to use a quilting stitch called "stitch in a ditch" to tack the corners in place on the side seams. Another option would be to trim the triangle off at 1/4" and finish the cut edges, but I like the substance that the turned up corners give the bag, especially when I use lightweight fabric to make tote bags.


Click thumbnail to view full-size
Tote Bag Handles Pinned To ShellSewing Handles To Shell
Tote Bag Handles Pinned To Shell
Tote Bag Handles Pinned To Shell | Source
Sewing Handles To Shell
Sewing Handles To Shell | Source


Pinning the handle ends at 2 1/2" from the shell's side seams, making sure the handles were not twisted, I stitched the handles in place along the top edge.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Sliding Lining Into Gift Bag ShellTop Edge Pinned Pulling Lining And Handles Through Opening
Sliding Lining Into Gift Bag Shell
Sliding Lining Into Gift Bag Shell | Source
Top Edge Pinned
Top Edge Pinned | Source
Pulling Lining And Handles Through Opening
Pulling Lining And Handles Through Opening | Source


Keeping handles tucked in, I slid the lining into the shell with right sides together.

Matching the side seams of shell and lining, the top edge was pinned with a 3 1/2" opening marked on one side. Beginning at the first mark and sewing around to the second mark I backed stitched over the handles to give them extra strength.

Then, I gently pulled the lining out through the opening, along with the handles, being careful not to unduly stretch the cut fabric at the opening.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Lining Pulled Through Opening, Gift Tote Bag Ready To Finish!Opening Pinned Closed.Top Edge Top StitchedIt's A Sharp Bag Inside And Out
Lining Pulled Through Opening, Gift Tote Bag Ready To Finish!
Lining Pulled Through Opening, Gift Tote Bag Ready To Finish! | Source
Opening Pinned Closed.
Opening Pinned Closed. | Source
Top Edge Top Stitched
Top Edge Top Stitched | Source
It's A Sharp Bag Inside And Out
It's A Sharp Bag Inside And Out | Source


With opening edges carefully folded in I carefully pressed the top of the bag and pinned it for top stitching.

Once it was top stitched the bag had a nice crisp, finished look.


Click thumbnail to view full-size
Embellished Gift Tote Bag Is Ready To Give To My Second GrandaughterThis Bag's Pockets Will Hold TreatsAnd It Will Carry Special Gifts
Embellished Gift Tote Bag Is Ready To Give To My Second Grandaughter
Embellished Gift Tote Bag Is Ready To Give To My Second Grandaughter | Source
This Bag's Pockets Will Hold Treats
This Bag's Pockets Will Hold Treats | Source
And It Will Carry Special Gifts
And It Will Carry Special Gifts | Source


All this tote bag needed was a flower to polish it off. I chose to use some of the same fabric I pieced together to make mine, but a completely different color and pattern of cloth could be used.

I hope my second granddaughter enjoys carrying her little girl stuff and such in this gift bag for a long time.



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Gift Tote Bag Is Crisp, Finished, And Ready For My Second Granddaughter!
Gift Tote Bag Is Crisp, Finished, And Ready For My Second Granddaughter! | Source

Six Tips to Remember when Making Your Gift/Tote Bag Project:


• All measurements are approximate.

• For extra strength, back tack all seams that cross other seams, as well as seams that cross edges of layered fabric.

• Top stitch seams of pieced fabrics.

• Use a seam sealing product like FrayCheck to strengthen points of stress that would normally cause wear and tear on a bag. Be sure to follow manufacturers instructions.

• There are links below that have information on making a variety of fabric flowers, handles, pockets, and other details on making tote bags.

• Search the web for methods of making embellishments for your bags.

• Sturdy fabrics are best for reusable grocery bags.


Make A Drawstring Bag

Check Out These Other Projects if You Enjoy Creative Activities:


• Painting baby bibs could become an addictive project idea when it's this much fun.

• Two denim handbag projects #1 denim handbag and #2 made by repurposing denim skirts.

• Painting a dresser is an amazing creative project you can enjoy.

• This crocheted edge baby blanket makes a lovely gift, and it's just the right size for fitting into the all-in-one gift and tote bag.

• An easy paper craft project for making place cards for special meals.

No need to buy more fabric, upcycle!


Make A Tote Bag Out Of A Tank Top

Weave A Tote or Gift Bag

More by this Author


How Will You Use Your Gift and Tote Bag? 54 comments

cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

Wow, this is a great step by step guide complete with great photos. I am definitely bookmarking this one for future use. I can see a smaller version of this being used for favors for guests at a birthday party!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey Author

Thanks much, cardelean. I hope it will be helpful to you.

I have a party favor project in mind that I want to do a hub on sometime... :)

Appreciate that you are the first visitor to this hub!


iZeko profile image

iZeko 5 years ago

Reusable gift bag is a great idea! This one turned out beautiful. I also like the tank top bag idea. Nice job!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey Author

iZeko: Thanks kindly for stopping in! I liked that the tank tote had a built-in pocket when it was finished. Hope you can enjoy using a tote of your own sometime.


Phoebe Pike 5 years ago

I love these kind of projects! They are always so much fun.


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    RTalloni profile image

    RTalloni1,397 Followers
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    Robertatalloni means creativity. Whether in writing, or in more typical art forms, artistry (and a bit of fun) must be part of the work.



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