Vintage Market Tote

By  Rebekah Meier 

Stitch and switch - from plastic to fabric to help save the planet! Stylish and environmentally friendly, this sturdy vintage-style tote works great to hold your purchases for a quick trip to the market in place of the cheap plastic bags from the store.

  • Closeup View
  • Vintage Market Tote
  • Fig. 1


  • Vintage bark cloth, 1 yd.
  • Coordinating cotton fabric, 1/2 yd.
  • Canvas duck cloth (lining), 1 yd.


  • Pellon Shirt Tailor Fusible Interfacing
  • Sewing machine and matching thread
  • Button thread (to coordinate with lining)
  • Iron and pressing board

Basic Supplies

  • scissors, ruler, straight pins, needle
  • Size
  • 1. Size is 16"x16".
  • Note
  • 1. Note: Use 1/2" seam allowance throughout, pinning and pressing as needed.
  • Tote
  • 1. Cut fabrics and interfacing as follows: bark cloth, two 17"x12" rectangles and two 4-1/2"x20" strips; canvas duck cloth (lining), two 17"x17" squares; cotton, two 6"x17" rectangles; interfacing, two 17"x17" squares and two 4-1/2"x20" strips.
  • 2. With right sides facing, machine sew 17"x6" cotton strip to 17"x12" bark cloth rectangle for one panel. Repeat with remaining strips, pressing seams open.
  • 3. Follow manufacturer's instructions to fuse interfacing onto wrong side of each panel.
  • 4. With right sides facing, machine sew panels together, leaving top open. Cotton fabric should be at top of tote. For bottom corners, see Figure 1 to make gussets. To make gusset, measure 2-1/2" down from top of corner and stitch straight across. Trim away excess fabric.

    Figure 1
  • 5. Repeat Step 4 using lining fabric. Leave 3" opening along side of lining for turning.
  • 6. For straps, fuse interfacing onto wrong side of each 4-1/2"x20" strip. With wrong sides facing, fold each strip in half so it measures 2-1/4" width; press. Fold in each raw edge of strap so it measures 1-1/8" width; press. Topstitch 1/4" from strap edges.
  • 7. With right sides facing and using photo as guide, pin one set of straps at center on each side of tote, leaving 4" between each strap.
  • 8. With right sides facing, insert lining inside bark cloth tote. Machine sew around top of tote. Turn tote inside out through opening. Use button thread to hand sew opening closed.
  • 9. Topstitch 1/4" from top edge of tote.