How to Make Felt Tote Bags

Written by beth celli
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How to Make Felt Tote Bags
You may want to reinforce the tote by sewing each seam twice. (sewing machine image by Peter Baxter from Fotolia.com)

A felt tote bag is a practical accessory that can easily be stitched together in your choice of colours. Simple to customise, felt totes can be made in a wide variety of sizes, from a tiny tote to carry your wallet and keys to a large reusable grocery tote. With some felt, thread, a sewing machine and some basic skills, you can create your own tote quickly and easily.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Heavyweight felt
  • Ruler
  • Ribbon
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Determine the size tote you wish to make. A 12-inch by 18-inch bag is a good size to start with.

  2. 2

    Choose your felt. Felt may be purchased in various-size sheets or by the yard. Mix and match colours if you like, or make the tote one shade. Be sure to use a thick, sturdy felt so the tote does not stretch out of shape when you use it.

  3. 3

    Measure and cut the front and back pieces. Cut two pieces that are 12 inches wide by 18 inches tall, or use felt sheets that are already that size.

  4. 4

    Cut the felt for the tote's side panels. For a simple pattern, use half the width of the front and back panel and cut two pieces that are 6 inches wide by 18 inches tall.

  5. 5

    Cut a 6-inch by 12-inch piece of felt to use as the bottom of the tote.

  6. 6

    Fashion handles from ribbon or felt. If using ribbon, use a strong grosgrain or other durable type. A 1-inch-wide strip works well. Make the handles as long as you wish.

  7. 7

    Hold the handles in place on the front and back of the tote using straight pins.

  8. 8

    Using the sewing machine, stitch the handles in place first. Use a strong thread in a coordinating colour in your machine.

  9. 9

    Stitch the bottom panel to the front and back pieces. Use straight pins to hold the pattern pieces in place if necessary. Take care to line each piece up carefully before sewing to ensure an even bag.

  10. 10

    Attach each side to the bag, being sure to line all pieces up evenly before stitching.

  11. 11

    Add a pocket with a leftover piece of felt or decorate the tote with fabric paint, embroidery, buttons or other embellishments.

Tips and warnings

  • Experiment with different sizes of felt pieces to make bags in different sizes. If you have felt sheets that are 11 inches by 17 inches, use them for a larger tote.
  • Use felt in various colours to make eye-catching totes that are fun to carry.
  • Be sure to stitch the tote securely. You may want to reinforce your tote by stitching the seams twice for added strength.

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