Burlap-and-Fabric Tote Bag

By  Mary Ayres 

Carry your latest craft project or magazine in this handy and stylish tote accented with burlap. Choose from the wide selection of home décor fabrics available at most fabric and craft stores to create a look that's just right for you!

  • Fig. 1


  • Fabric: cotton decorator, 54"-wide, 1/2 yd.; coordinating-color burlap, 1 yd.
  • Flat buttons, 3/4", 12
  • Piping, 4 yds.
  • Heavy cardboard, 3-3/4"x14-3/4"


  • Sewing machine and matching thread
  • Iron and pressing surface (optional)

Basic Supplies

  • scissors, ruler, straight pins, needle
  • Size
  • 1. Size is 18-1/2"x13".
  • Tote Bag
  • 1. Cut two each of the following rectangles from cotton and burlap: 15"x20" (bag/lining); 1-3/4"x17" (handle/lining); 1-3/4"x5" (side straps/lining). For pocket, cut one 6-1/2"x9-1/2" rectangle from cotton and one from burlap.
  • 2. Beginning and ending in a corner, sew piping around pocket front, 1/4" from edge. Sew pocket front to lining, leaving 3" opening along one side for turning. Trim corners; turn right side out. Hand sew opening closed.
  • 3. Pin assembled pocket to bag front with bottom edge 5-1/2" from bag bottom edge. Machine-stitch on top of piping, along side and bottom pocket edges.
  • 4. Sew piping around two long sides and one short side of burlap strap fronts. Sew strap fronts to linings along piping stitching. Trim corners and turn straps right side out. Baste raw edges of straps to side of bag front (bottom edges of straps should be 3" from top of bag; see photo).
  • 5. Sew bag front to back along sides and bottom. Line up side and bottom seams at each corner and stitch 4" straight across fabric, 2" from corner seam (Figure 1). Trim corner 1/4" from stitching. Sew front and back of bag lining together in same way as outside of bag, leaving 4" opening in middle of one side.
  • 6. Sew piping around top of bag 1/4" from edge, beginning and ending on one side. Sew outside of bag to lining along piping stitching on top edge, matching side seams. Turn bag right side out through opening in lining. Hand sew opening closed.
  • 7. Sew piping around burlap handles 1/4" from edge, beginning and ending in a corner. Sew burlap handles to fabric handles along piping stitching, leaving 2" opening along one side for turning. Trim corners. Turn handles right side out. Hand-sew openings closed.
  • 8. Sew two buttons to end of each strap on front of bag. Sew two buttons to end of each handle, attaching them to top of bag front and back. (Note: Bottom edge of handles should be aligned horizontally with bottom edge of straps and vertically with pocket edges.)
  • 9. To make hard bottom for bag, cut two 4-1/2"x15-1/2" rectangles from burlap. Sew burlap rectangles together along two long sides and one short side. Trim corners and turn right side out. Insert cardboard rectangle. Turn under raw edges of burlap rectangles 1/4" and hand-sew along edge. Place in bottom of bag.
  • Tip
  • 1. Personalize your bag by adding an inital to the pocket using embroidered iron-on lettering.