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Twenty Minute Tote
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This tote bag pattern is one of our most popular projects and it is easy to see why! You can carry anything in the Twenty Minute Tote, and you can make a dozen of them since it sews up so quickly!
Use this sewing tutorial to learn how to sew your own purse in whatever fabric you want. Because it's such a fast sewing project to make, you can opt to use this tutorial when tackling a hefty amount of gift bags or party favors.
Don't wait another minute to try this twenty minute DIY. You can use this DIY tote bag for practically any reason, especially for grocery shopping when you want to be environmentally friendly.
Project TypeMake a Project
Time to CompleteUnder an hour
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Types of Bags and Purses Every Woman Should Own
Whether you're running to the store or you'll be on the go all day, there are essential bags that you should have so that all your necessary items are with you at all times. The first is the crossbody bag, which is great for short trips to the store. You can throw your wallet, phone, and lipstick or lip balm in one of these bags and then be able to carry grocery or shopping bags in both hands. Crossbody bags hug your body and stay out of the way of your hands and arms while carrying things.
The day clutch is a bag that will fit only your most essential items. It'll probably fit your phone, some cash and maybe a small make-up item. This type of bag is great for going out for brunch with your girl friends. You could pick out a clutch with some sequins or decoration for a night out on the town, but the day clutch is more casual.
The weekender bag can be used as a beach bag, a grocery bag, a gym bag, and even a carry-on bag. It's big enough to fit some clothes in, a small bag of make up or toiletries, a small towel or whatever you need for a day trip or overnight stay.
Then, there's your tote bag like the Twenty Minute Tote, for which you can find the sewing tutorial above. These bags range in size because you can fit a laptop or tablet in a large one or basic sewing tools in a medium size tote bag. The tote bag is one of the easiest to sew yourself and will hold up against the test of time and frequent use.
Bags and purses come in all shapes and sizes and have different purposes.
Of all things to sew, making purses is truly rewarding. Why? Because you can use them every day! Be the envy of all your friends with any of these patterns to sew purses. 50+ Purse Sewing Patterns
What's your favorite type of purse or handbag? Let us know below in the comments!
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Nov 27, 2018
Great gift bags - either as a gift or a bag to put the gift in. With Xmas just around the corner this is a very timely reminder to make some of these. I sometimes use upholstery fabric for totes because it holds up better to the kind of use (and abuse) that a tote gets put to.
Dec 30, 2017
I know you have all seen them at the start of the register line in just about every store. They mostly are ads for the store you are in. These little totes start off at $1.00 and can be much more. To me, the "fabric", if you can call them that, should be an option at check out instead of having to buy them. Having my own, I don't have to accept those plastic bags and having this project, I know that I can make some pretty fancy totes to have at all times.
Dec 27, 2017
Having these quick to make tote bags, in a variety of sizes, on hand has been a great life-saver. Only 1/2 yard of sturdy fabric is needed to make most, some webbing, and a few minutes of sewing time. Great project, easy to follow instructions with helpful photos. Nice scrap fabric project for beginners too.
Dec 01, 2017
I have made many of these totes for gifts for just about anyone. Teacher gifts every year, for family and friends and even for co-workers. They are so fast and simple to make and you can even use them for shopping and save on plastic bags. Great way to use up some pieces of fabric or even old clothing you are going to get rid of or even some with memories. Simple, fast and fun to make.
elvenranger01 1528 872
Nov 28, 2017
Very quick and easy to make. I used 1 side of a pillow case ( UK size) and some thick ribbon that I had saved from a throw blanket, for the handles. Very bright and pretty, even from a total novice. I urge every beginner to make some of these, you gget a useful item and the satisfaction of having made a successful project.
Nov 28, 2017
Thank you for the easy patterns good for Xmas gifts when I think you have posted your best you go one better love the blog
Sep 09, 2017
where are the instructions to do these totes? cannot find them
Aug 22, 2017
Great tote pattern! I have made several,of these but added a zipper at the top and little pockets inside with a lining. The great thing is that you could use fabric scraps and adjust the size of your tote, clutch or purse to the left over fabric yardage you have on hand, great as gifts and if your recipient doesn't want to keep,it, it certainly is the type of thing that could be passed along as most,folks would find a practical use for them! Thanks for sharing a great project!
Aug 21, 2017
I attempt to have some totes in my auto at all times for when I make a dash into a store and need a bag to bring out my purchase. This is a quick sew project that can use some of those scraps of fabric and ensure I always have a stash of totes in the car.
May 29, 2017
I am going to make a few of these bags for gift bags. So many people are trying to get away from using plastic bags and these will be great. The fabric store by me always has sales on this fabric as well. The bag can be used over and over. My friends are going to be surprised. Thank you.
carrieheberling 47 08513
Apr 28, 2017
https//www.purlsoho.com/create/2010/05/07/mollys-s == ketchbook-the-twenty-minute-tote/
Apr 10, 2017
I was intrigued by the title Twenty Minute Totes because it always seems to take me a lot longer to make things than I think it will! These really do seem quick though which is great! I love the fabric choices and the strap colors. I think I might consider boxing the bottom of the bag. I like a tote that stands up well.
Feb 26, 2017
This was so super quick to make that I did a whole batch of them in one day, the instructions were easy to follow and the only change I made is that I designed some felt appliqu mice to go on the front of my bags to make them stand out. This is a fab pattern for beginners looking to make their first sewing project as it uses basic machine stitches.
Jan 09, 2017
This pattern has floated around sewing sites forever. And for good reason. It's AWESOME. I've made a few with outdoor fabrics, makes it waterproof. Perfect lunch bag size. And gift bag size!!
Dec 02, 2016
I liked making this bag, in fact I made about twelve of them for a friend. I made each bag in different fabrics some with pockets, bow tie, criss cross designs. Each one was different and was sold for ten dollars each at the senior center. For a good cause. As payment for the bags I was given tons of fabrics!
Dec 02, 2016
This tote was fun and easy to make! I am a beginner Sewist and so it took me a little longer than 20 minutes, but not much. Does anyone have any tips or ideas for making it look more finished on the inside? I have a serger, but haven't been brave enough to try it yet. (silly right!?) I know I could do a zig zag stitch, but could it be finished with bias tape?
Apr 12, 2017
It is simple to line a tote. Make a second bag the same size without handles. Turn right side out and insert your second bag into the main tote WRONG sides together. Then fold down the top with the handles over the raw edge of the lining and proceed as in the tote instructions. The lining is also a good place to experiment with adding pockets or zipper pocket bags as no-one sees any mistakes!
Nov 20, 2016
This twenty-minute tote really just takes twenty minutes to cut, assemble, and sew. I needed a fabric gift bag and decided to make this tote in place of buying a store bought one. Simple to follow instructions. This project is great to have on hand. Make the tote from holiday or seasonal scrap fabric for added thoughtfulness to gift-giving.
Oct 28, 2016
Oh I love this Twenty Minute Tote! My first thought is to make them to full with Christmas Gift! My second thought is great idea for shopping bags.. Oh my mind is racing. so many ideas with all the bulk fabric I just bought at the second hand store. Thank you so much for sharing this free sewing idea!!
Aug 08, 2016
So adorable and simple. I'll have to make one of these.
Jul 15, 2016
Oh my goodness, so great. I have tons of fabric that I can't think of uses for - now I know what to do!
Apr 01, 2016
I love patterns for these simple totes. I make them for my grand kids teachers for end of year and try and keep extras for a quick gift. I always line mine which takes a little longer . I liked the way this one was just one fabric. I like the idea of using outdoor fabric so it will not get wet . Has anyone else made this tote any other way?
Jan 16, 2016
i have made several very easy and enjoyable to make and use and share
Jul 08, 2013
I am giving a first time sewing lesson to a thirteen year girl. This is the bag I want to use as her first item to make. It is easy and quick. Thanks!
daniellec2003 2473 028
Jul 29, 2011
these bags are cute and cool and i love the fact that you can do them in20 min
bobbobherewecome 1 736799
Feb 13, 2011
my name bob bob i come from the land of news letters
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