Learn how to make a simple fabric basket tote with this free sewing pattern.
Today I'm going to show you how easy it is to make your own reusable fabric basket tote with this sewing tutorial.
Below you'll find a link where you can click and get a copy of the pattern totally FREE. I have included the pattern in two different sizes as well as printable sewing instructions.
Some of these links are affiliate links, you can read my full disclosure here.
I am NOT a professional pattern writer. I created this pattern because I love to make and create and share my passion for sewing and DIY with others.
Please feel free to use this pattern to create handmade basket totes to sell in your Etsy shop or to make as gifts. Completed baskets only may be sold and not the PATTERN PIECE.
Uses for Fabric Basket Totes
There are so many uses for fabric basket totes. One of my personal favorites in my craft room is to use them as fabric storage baskets. But here's a few other ideas of what you can do with them.
- Farmers market
- Road trip bag
- Produce basket for grocery store trips
- Kids lunch bag
- Picnic basket
- Easter Basket
- Trick-or-Treat basket
- Knitting project bag
- Crochet project bag
- Embroidery project bag
- Treasure hunting bags
- Mushroom picking basket
This tote basket makes a simple tote for some many things.
This is a great eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags when heading to the grocery store.
These bags are washable, packable and easy to store for travel away from home.
Printing the sewing pattern and instructions
Printing out the sewing instructions isn't necessary unless you want to save them for later. You will always have access to this pattern and sewing instructions.
Just put in your password (homesteadVIP) when entering into the post from the blog homepage.
Finished Simple Fabric Tote Basket Measurements
LARGER BASKET TOTE MEASUREMENTS:
This basket tote bags finished measurements are approximately 15 inches tall x 24 inches wide.
SMALL TOTE BASKET MEASUREMENTS:
The smaller sized basket bag pattern measures 15 inches tall by 15 inches wide.
This is the size that I have used to make my fabric Easter Baskets as well as the trick-or-treat bags for the kids.
Measurements are from top of handle to the bottom, then side seam to side seam.
Print The Basket Bag Pattern
The option to print on a different scale will give you a pattern size thats perfect for a child.
Both of my kids have these totes that we use as lunch sacks for school, Easter Baskets as well as car totes filled with books and their favorite stuffed animal. Again, this tote bag provides endless options.
Make them in a fun Halloween printed fabric and they are great for trick-or-treating too.
Washing Your Fabric Tote Basket
If you make this tote bag from 100% cotton fabric, it is washable. I wash mine on a gentle cycle and dry on medium heat. If you need a recipe for homemade laundry detergent, you can find that HERE.
- ¾ of a yard 100% cotton fabric for the exterior of the bag.
This is more than you will need. I allowed for extra in case you wanted to add pockets.
- ¾ of a yard 100% cotton fabric for the interior of the bag.
- Binding fabric-100% cotton. 3" wide by 34" long x 2 (one for each side of your bag).
You can also make these strips shorter, it is just going to depend on the LENGTH YOU LEAVE YOUR HANDLE. This measurement was based on my handle length that I CUT DOWN TO 23" from the top of the handle to the bottom of the fabric when folded (before sewn).
- Sewing pins or quick clips (use these in place of pins-works great for attaching binding to ANY tote bag or quilt). Magnetic pin cushion.
- Optional fusible interfacing
Fusible fleece this is what I usually use
SF-101 (thin fusible) I prefer this one for the INTERIOR lining only as its very thin.
Fusible Foam I use the fusible foam for the EXTERIOR of the bag when I'm making one of these for a knitting or crochet project bag.
It adds the ability for the bag to stand completely on it's own when empty.
Adding interfacing adds bulk when sewing. So if this is your first sewing project I may suggest that you don't use interfacing unless it's the thin one mentioned above.
- Sewing machine and something to cut your fabric with. See my shopping list at the bottom of this post for my recommendations for these items.
- Thread the color of your choice that compliments your fabrics.
I prefer to have my thread color match my fabric so it doesn't stand out as much. If you prefer to see your line of stitching, use a brighter thread that will stand out more. It's up to you.
- ⅝ yard for exterior fabric.
- ⅝ yard for interior fabric.
- ½ yard for binding. Can be a matching fabric or a coordinating fabric (if you want it to stand out).
- Fusible interfacing (for more stability-optional but preferred).
Cutting Instructions for your fabric basket (large)
- Cut (2) 18 inch by 20 inch rectangles from EXTERIOR fabric.
- Cut (2) 18 inch by 20 inch rectangles from INTERIOR fabric.
- (2) 3 inch wide by 30 inch long strips for binding. For this bag size, I attached these as you would a regular quilt binding. You can do this or cut down to size to do the other way I suggested for the larger tote basket.
Cutting Instructions for fabric basket tote (small)
- Fold fabric in half lengthwise and place your pattern piece on as indicated for the large bag.
- Repeat this step for (2) exterior pieces of fabric as well as both interior pieces of fabric.
- Then follow all the directions for the larger bag for construction.
How To Sew A Fabric Basket Tote
- Cut out your pattern piece.
- Tape an 8 ½ inch by 11 inch piece of printer paper to the bottom of the pattern piece you just cut out. (When taped together, your new pattern should measure 8 ½ inch at the widest part by 22 inches long.
Cutting your fabric
- Start by cutting (2) 25 inch by 26 inch pieces of fabric from EXTERIOR fabric.
- Then cut (2) 25 inch by 26 inch pieces of fabric from INTERIOR fabric.
- Cut (2) strips of fabric for your binding. 3 inches wide by 34 inches long. Set aside.
- Take your first EXTERIOR fabric piece and fold in half lengthwise (piece should measure 12 ½ inches wide by 26 inches high when folded.
- Place your pattern against the FOLD of the fabric making sure the bottom of the paper pattern is aligned with the fabrics bottom edge and pin in place. Fabric WILL EXTEND PAST the paper pattern on the side and top. (see picture above). This will make it so you can customize handle length later. Pin in place.
- Cut out pattern along CURVED EDGE ONLY. Extend to edge of fabric top and side (see picture of what it should look like when cut below).
- Follow steps 7 through 9 with other EXTERIOR piece as well as both INTERIOR pieces of fabric. When finished, you should have (4) pieces cut the exact same. (2) EXTERIOR and (2) INTERIOR.
- Now is the time you'll want to make a decision about how long you want your handle to be. I always leave mine long and then trim it down depending on what I intend to use it for. For this finished basket tote, I trimmed my handle pieces down to 23 inches total which is the reference for the binding strips cut at 34 inches long.
SIMPLE FABRIC TOTE BASKET
Interfacing the fabric basket pieces
- IF you choose to use fusible interfacing (gives your tote more shape and structure when finished), you’ll fuse those pieces now to the WRONG side of your fabric (the side that doesn’t look pretty). Often times when I make this tote, I’ll fuse the EXTERIOR (2) pieces to fusible foam, and the INTERIOR (2) pieces to SF-101 or fusible fleece. This will create more bulk when sewing though.
- For this tote I fused BOTH EXTERIOR and INTERIOR pieces with fusible fleece. *DO NOT add fusible to binding strips!*
If you have questions regarding fusibles, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’m happy to answer any questions to the best of my ability.
CUTTING MATERIALS FOR THE SIMPLE FABRIC TOTE BASKET
Seam Allowance For The Fabric Basket Pattern
Use ¼ inch seam allowance for all sewing unless otherwise specified.
Sewing your fabric tote basket
- Lay your (2) EXTERIOR pieces RST (right sides together).
Sew the handle together
- Sew the top edge of the handle together using a ¼ inch seam allowance. Backstitch at the beginning and end of each row of stitching.
Sewing the side seams of your basket
- Sew along the edge of the two sides as well as the bottom of the bag. All using the ¼ inch seam allowance. The only openings you should have now are along the two curved edges.
- Repeat steps with the (2) INTERIOR pieces of the tote bag. When completed, you should have an EXTERIOR and INTERIOR beginnings of a tote basket.
How to make a boxed corner
- Now its time to make the boxed corners of your tote. This will make it so its able to sit nice and flat and give your bag its shape of being a basket.
- Take your EXTERIOR bag that you’ve sewn RST (right sides together), bring the SIDE SEAM and BOTTOM SEAMS together at each bottom corner. Lay a grided ruler across the seams with an EQUAL 3 inches on either side of the CENTER seam line. Draw a line straight across marking the line you’ll sew. (see pictures below).
- Pin these corners down so they don’t shift when getting them to your machine. Carefully sew on the marked line making sure you backstitch at the beginning and end of each stitching row.
- Repeat these steps for the other side of the EXTERIOR bag and as well as the INTERIOR bag lining corners. You should have marked and sewn (4) boxed corners. (2) on the EXTERIOR and (2) on the INTERIOR.
Trimming the boxed corners
- Carefully trim away from each boxed corner stitching line.
Be careful! If you cut through the stitching you'll have to make your boxed corners even larger and sew them again.
Turning your fabric basket tote right side out
- Turn the EXTERIOR of the bag RSO (right side out-pretty side facing towards you) and leave the INTERIOR of the tote the way it is WSO (wrong side out).
Inserting the basket lining
- Take the INTERIOR of your tote and place it INTO the EXTERIOR of your tote bag.
Match up your seams
Pin your fabric basket pieces together
- Once you have the basket lining nested inside the exterior of your tote, be sure and match up the seams on the handle and pin or clip them together. This will keep them from shifting while sewing.
- Continue pinning the opening together on the bag. You can also use quick clips (my personal favorite)to avoid being stuck by pins. Either will work fine.
- Pin around the opening on BOTH sides.
You can also use the clips I mentioned (you'll see these pictured soon).
Basting your basket together
Now we're going to baste around the openings you just pinned. This will keep our pieces together while we attach our binding.
- To baste, begin by lengthening your stitch to a 5.5 or 6. Sew as close as you can to the edges around the openings on both sides.
- Repeat this step for both of the openings.
Return stitch length back to normal stitch setting
Turn your stitch length back down!
Yes, I put this in here (and in BOLD text) because I have fogotten to do this myself and finished sewing almost an entire project with a huge, loose stitch.
Turn on your iron (no steam), as the next step is going to involve some pressing
Attaching the binding to your tote
Take the (2) strips of fabric you cut earlier (3 inches wide by 34 inches long) and begin folding them in half LENGTHWISE and pressing with your iron wrong sides together.
This will make your binding much easier to attach and make the final product look really sharp and professional.
Once you have your strips pressed in half lengthwise, its time to sew them together to form a circle.
Be careful to make sure your fabric isn't twisted.
The raw edges should all be facing the same way.
Stitch using a ¼ inch seam (as shown below).
Now, if you aren't new to sewing, and you're familiar with attaching a quilt binding, attach this binding the same way you would a quilt binding.
I have done this both ways and find that for beginner sewers, sewing the strip together at the end makes it easier to attach it to your tote.
- Once you have your strips pressed in half lengthwise, its time to sew them together to form a circle. Be careful to make sure your fabric isn't twisted. The raw edges should all be facing the same way (up). Stitch using a ¼ inch seam (as shown below).
- Now, if you aren't new to sewing, and you're familiar with attaching a quilt binding, attach this binding the same way you would a quilt binding. I have done this both ways and find that for beginner sewers, sewing the strip together at the end makes it easier to attach it to your tote.
Pin the binding on your basket
- Pin all the way around the opening.
It will seem a bit tight.
You want this to fit, not be really loose. So just ease it around the opening.
When I'm working on pinning tedious things like this, I tend to over-pin. You really can't use too many pins to keep this in place.
The more pins, the less chance of it slipping out of place when sewing.
Once you have pinned all the way around and your binding is nicely held in place with the excessive amount of pins, it's time to start sewing.
Just remember to take your time and go slow!
Fold the binding towards the inside
This is the best place to use those handy clips I was telling you about.
You can also use pins if that's what you have. Either will work.
Sew on the binding
- At this point you can clip or pin the other side, or you can go sew this one side then repeat on the other.
I usually find it easier to do one side at a time. In the past when I've done them both and then went to sew, I found I got stuck by my pins more. Not really an issue now that I use clips more than pins for this part.
- Take your tote bag to your sewing machine and carefully *stitch in the ditch*.
*To stitch in the ditch, carefully sew in the seam line between the exterior print of your fabric and the binding-the seam in between the clips all the way around the entire bag*
This will catch the binding on the INTERIOR of the tote and keep it down. Repeat with the other side of your basket tote.
Completed fabric basket tote
I hope you enjoyed this sew along and will give this simple, but practical project a try. If you do make one of these, please share over on Instagram so I can see all of your lovely baskets.
Consider this pattern as a starting point for the endless creations that could come from it.
By changing the fabric you use, you can make it fun and festive for any use.
- Add some interior or exterior pockets for a cell phone.
- What about pockets on the interior for pens or makeup.
- Add a couple grommets to it and make it a very functional knitting and or crochet tote bag.
- Make it into a Bread basket.
- Take it to the market with you and use it in place of plastic bags for your produce.
- Take it to the park packed with a picnic lunch.
- Halloween trick-or-treat bag
- Easter Basket. Use a cute Easter themed fabric.
- Reusable gift basket/bag instead of a paper bag.
Shop this post
- Sewing Machine
- Sewing pins
- Magnetic Pin Cushion
- Sewing Clips
- Scissors (great pair of scissors when you are doing lots of cutting)
- Thread snips (great for snipping threads when sewing-keep these near your sewing machine at all times)
- Rotary Cutter
- Cutting Mat
- Seam ripper
- Pressing Mat
Where to buy fusible interfacing
How to apply fusible interfacing to fabric easily
This Applique Pressing Sheet is great for fusing your fusible to your fabric and keeps it from sticking to your iron.
- Lay your fabric onto of your fusible material that is facing fusible side up.
- Place the appliqué pressing sheet onto the top of the piece to be fused.
- Iron until pieces are fused together.
- Move around pressing sheet as needed.
Happy Sewing Friends! I hope you all enjoy this fun pattern.