Foldover Tote Sewing Tutorial

The Foldover Tote is the perfect bag for the Mom who wants to carry it all, or not! With its ability to change from a foldover purse, into a large tote, this bag has so many possibilities. And what’s more…it’s EASY to make! Palak from the Sewing Rabbit Team is here today with a fabulous tote sewing tutorial teaching how to sew this convertible bag.

The Foldover Tote Sewing Tutorial

Foldover Tote #Sewing Tutorial   ||

When a newly pregnant woman asks me what the most important baby gear is- I tell them  ”You need a car seat!” The second? A stroller. But coming in a very, very, close third, is a good bag.

As my kids get older, the stroller has gone by the wayside, and having the right bag for the right kind of trip is even more important than ever. Right now, I have a 3 bag system that’s almost perfect (I wont bore you with the details) but fails me miserably each and every time we go to the library. I either end up carrying a back pack and a tote bag while I chase my kids around the library (and still not have enough room for all the books), or I bring a bag that’s too small, and end up having to beg my children to help carry the books back to the car after a long trip.

Watching my daughter drop the same book in the parking lot at least 12 times was the last straw. I needed a large, very large tote that could hold at least 25 picture books from the library to the car. But I also wanted something that would be compact enough that it wouldn’t get in the way during story time, puppet shows and the busy library play area.

Enter the Foldover Tote. This bag has been tested at 2 story times and a trip to the park and earns the official Palak Stamp Of Approval. We go to the library twice a week, and being able to use both hands to corral my kids safely in and out of the library is life changing.

Since it’s unlined, this back is a quick sew, especially if you’ve made a simple tote before. I have to warn you– the bag is huge! It’s perfect for those of us who have to carry a lot, but you can easily adjust the bag by starting with a smaller rectangle if you want a smaller tote. The Foldover tote sewing tutorial…

  • 2 large swivel hooks
  • 2 large d-rings
  • 2 rectangles 24″x21″ (body of the tote)
  • 2 rectangles 4 inches by 26″ (shoulder handles)
  • 1 4″x45 inch strip (cross body strap)
  • 2 4″ x 3″ inch rectangles (d-ring tabs)

First take your two large rectangles and cut 2 inch squares from the bottom to give the bag some depth. Then sew the sides and bottom of the bag.

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 Now sew up those corners by matching the side and bottom seam.

Foldover Tote #Sewing Tutorial   ||

 Turn your bag out and press. Mark how far you want the bag to fold over. I liked about 10 inches from the top. Notice how the folded over portion looks a little to wide? We are going to fix that next.

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 Using your D-rings, create 2 tabs as shown.

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 Now we are going to shape the top of the bag. Starting at the marked point, use your ruler to cut a wedge from the marked point as shown. This time, make sure to sew in your D-ring tabs into the seam as close to the marked point as possible. Press well.

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The bag is all done, it’s just a matter of making the handles!

Fold each rectangle piece in half (hot dog style), and then fold the raw edges in to meet at the center line. Fold in half and press well as shown. Topstitch the short handles to the inside of the tote. Thread the long handles through the large swivel clips. Try the cross body handle on for size and trim if necessary. Stitch as shown after folding the raw edges under.

Foldover Tote #Sewing Tutorial   ||

Now your bag is good to go anywhere you might need to carry a heavy load- the library, school play, soccer game or fabric shop!

Foldover Tote #Sewing Tutorial   ||

I love this bag so much, I’m considering making a fully lined and pocketed version! If you want to see more about making this bag, DIY tutorials, or just want to chat, I’d love to see you over at Make It Handmade!

Thanks so much for stopping by, and until next time…

Happy Sewing!

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Jess Abbott the Sewing Rabbit is the founder and creative director behind the me sew crazy blog, as well as, 5 & 10 Designs, GNO Events, and co-editor of STYLO. She resides in Virginia Beach with her husband and 3 children.
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  1. says

    Oh! Love it! and you can never have too many big bags!!! I’ll definitely have to give this one a try. I’ve never sewed a bag for myself before!

    • says

      I’m so glad I found someone who feels the same way! I always carry the same one everywhere, so it has to be awesome. When you make one, I’d love to see it.

  2. Mie @ Sewing Like Mad says

    I LOVE this bag Palak! And I am always impressed with those who can make simple look not boring at all. This looks well made and expensive! Great job!!!

    • says

      Thanks Mie– It’s actually made from a repurposed ikea curtain that I found in the as-is department… so super cheap and I still have tons of curtain left.

  3. Patti says

    Awesome bag Palak! I’ll be digging through my stash first thing in the morning to put together this bag! Thanks!

  4. says

    I was JUST thinking about making a bag like this, even dyed some canvas for it. I’m so glad I don’t have to reinvent the wheel and can just follow your pattern! Great tip about tapering the top. Any suggestions on where to get the hardware? I like the way yours looks.

  5. Karen says

    I wonder if you could put another set of D rings near the top and hook the handles onto those when it is full? Not swivel hooks just D-rings. Would it work? Then you wouldn’t need the shorter handles.
    Love the bag. Funny how the simple fabric makes it look expensive. Less IS more.

  6. says

    I always used to read piece of writing in news papers but now as I am a user of web therefore from now I am using net for articles, thanks
    to web.

  7. says

    Great! It looks simple enough for me who is just a beginner with no formal knowledge of sewing ;) Think I’m gonna start with a small one for my 7-year-old who loves to bring the entire house (if she could) everywhere she goes. Thanks for the tutorial!

  8. Barb says

    I have just completed my 3rd bag. Love it! I lined all of my bags, added an inside pocket for my Ipad and a clip on the inside for my keys. I also added some bling to the front flap to make it my own. Great design, easy to make with your easy to follow tutorial. Thank you so much for sharing.

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