Sew Cute Camping Themed Tote

I love a good, sturdy tote bag.  A practical tote should have a nice shape with a well-defined bottom and ample handles.  A pocket or two and lining take it to the next level.  The bag I made has all of these features.  Making your own tote bag isn't difficult and allows you to have all of the features and functions you need.  And, I whipped up this bag in less than 2 hours.

When we are camping, tote bags are used to transport clothes and towels to the bathhouse.  I also use totes to coral knitting supplies and small toys.  They provide a practical way to organize all of the little things. There are never too many totes for us.   One of our bags always seems to be in the rotation wherever we go.

To make your own tote, you will need the following supplies:
  • stiff fusible interfacing
  • 1 yard of main fabric
  • 1/2 yard of coordinating fabric
  • coordinating thread
  • measuring tape
  • scissors
  • tracing paper or newspaper if you are making your own pattern that you can reuse
Look for Timeless Treasures camping novelties at your local quilt shop or favorite online retailer!  I found these on
Timeless Treasures makes lots of novelty prints from everything to pugs, cats, avocados and more!  Novelty prints are what makes this project unique and personal.

I have created a pattern sheet that you can print and use.  It is not scaled, so you will only be using the measurements to create your own pattern.  If you want a pattern to use more than once, measure and draw onto tracing paper or newspaper.  You can download my Tote Pattern from my Google Drive.  
Start by cutting three pieces of the main body.  Cut one of the main fabric.  You will need a second piece of the coordinating fabric for the lining and a third of the fusible interfacing.

Cut all of your other pieces and set aside.  There are 2 shoulder straps, 1 bottom piece, and 1 pocket.  Because of the notched sides of the bag body, make sure that you are exact so that everything will line up properly.  For this reason, a paper pattern will help you with this task.

Take your fusible interfacing and iron it to the main fabric.  The interfacing will have directions on how to do this.  Follow them explicitly.  You will be ironing the shiny side of the interfacing to the wrong side of your main fabric.  The interfacing will give your bag a nice body.  Do not skip this step.

While you have your iron out, prepare your shoulder straps.  Fold your strap down the long side in half with the wrong sides facing.  Iron down and open up.  Fold one side to the middle so that your wrong sides are facing.  Press down.  Fold the other side to the middle and press down.  Then, fold in half with the open edges to the inside and press down.  See the image below of how this is done.

Sew a narrow stitch down each side of the strap to ensure that it is fully closed.  

Now you are ready to begin putting your bag together.  Hem the top edge of the pocket piece with a double folded hem.  Line up the pocket with your shoulder strap and position on the bag so that the straps hide the open sides of the pocket.  The bag bottom piece that you will attach later will hide the bottom of the pocket and the straps.

Pin everything down.  Position the straps on both sides of the bag.  Carefully stitch to the bag on each side of the strap with a close stitch on each side of the strap. Leave approximately 1/4 inch at the top of each strap open.  This will all be closed with the lining.

Take the bottom bag piece and line it up with the right sides facing.  Pin and turn down to check to see if your notches line up.  Readjust as needed.  Once positioned correctly, sew a straight stitch closely along the edge of the bottom of the bag.  Turn down and press.

With the raw edge of the bottom bag piece, turn down to create a hemmed edge and pin into place.  You can also iron the edge you are turning down.  Stitch into place with a straight close stitch.

Sew up the side of the main body of the bag on each side.  Next, form a "T" with the notches at the bottom of the bag.  Piintoto place and sew down.  Follow the same steps for the bag lining.  

With the right sides together, insert the lining into the main body of the bag.  Pin into place.  Be sure to leave an opening to turn the bag once you are done.  Be sure that your straps are also placed on the inside of the bag when you complete this step. 

Sew all the way around the top of the bag with a straight stitch.  When you are done, turn the bag right side out.

With the bag turned, pin all the way around the top of the bag.  For the open edge, pin closed with the edges turned inward.  Stitch all the way around the top of the bag.  And you are done.  Clip any stray thread.

This bag is just the right size for lots of different tasks.  You could also make this bag for teacher gifts, babysitters or fellow camper friends.  For teachers, make the bag in school colors.  Depending on your color selection and print, this personalized gift is easy, fun and unique.  I'll definitely be making up some of these for gifts this next year!

In the meantime, I'll be using our new bag at the campground.  We enjoyed using this toting towels and clean clothes to the bathhouse last week while camping!

Be sure to share this post or pin it to your Pinterest board.  If you make this bag, be sure to share and tag me on social media.  You can tag me @southernglamper on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.  Or, use the hashtag #southernglamper.  I can't wait to see your finished projects!

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