How to Sew a Market Tote: Get the Free Pattern

No more juggling multiple bags at the farmers market thanks to the roomy interior and pockets of this practical tote.

DIY market tote filled with groceries on kitchen counter

Better Homes & Gardens

This roomy tote is an essential bag for weekend trips to the farmers market, picnics, and more. An oversize interior featuring a pocket is large enough to stash fresh produce, bread, and even a couple of bottles of wine. A handy exterior strap is a perfect size for holding a fresh bouquet and allows excess water to drip outside the bag. We created this handmade bag using 100% cotton Better Homes & Gardens fabric, available at Walmart. Customize your tote with your favorite colors and patterns—it's sure to become your go-to weekend bag.

DIY market tote filled with groceries on kitchen counter

Better Homes & Gardens

How to Make a DIY Market Tote

Supplies Needed

  • ½ yard main solid fabric
  • ½ yard main print fabric
  • 1 yard solid lining fabric
  • 1 ½ yards of fusible interfacing
  • Free printable pattern
  • Fabric shears or scissors
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil or pen
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Quilter's pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • 6-inch sewing gauge

Finished Market Bag Tips

  • Bag size: 11x11 inches at the bottom, 13 inches tall, 22x22 opening at the top.
  • Quantities are for 44/45-inch-wide, 100 percent cotton fabrics.
  • Measurements include ¼-inch seam allowances.
  • Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.

Step-by-Step Directions

Transform budget-friendly cotton fabric into a chic tote perfect for taking to the farmers market. With interior pockets, a roomy interior, and a hanging loop made for a bouquet of flowers, you can tuck all your finds in this roomy DIY tote bag.

Step 1: Cut Pieces

The first thing you'll need to do is decide which fabrics you want to use. We chose 100% cotton Better Homes & Gardens fabric from Walmart. You can make this bag from all the same fabric, or opt for two coordinating fabrics for the straps and bouquet loop, pockets, and lining. Once you've chosen your fabrics, cut your pieces in the following order using fabric shears or scissors.

  • Cut 4 body pieces of the lining fabric.
  • Cut 2 body pieces of the solid main fabric
  • Cut 2 body pieces of the print main fabric.
  • Cut 8 body pieces from fusible interfacing.
  • Cut 2 handles: 24x3 inches main print fabric and 2 pieces of 24x2 inch interfacing.
  • Cut 1 inside pocket: 7x10 inch solid fabric.
  • Cut: 1 outside pocket: 12x12 inch print fabric.
  • Cut 1 flower strap: 15x3 inch print fabric and 3x3 inch print fabric for loop.

Step 2: Prep Interfacing

Fuse interfacing to the wrong side of all body and lining pieces. Fuse to the wrong side of the handles, centering down the middle of the strips.

Step 3: Assemble Straps

Form the main handles. Press strips in half lengthwise, right sides out. Open strips and press under ½-inch on each long edge. Refold and pin or clip to secure. Topstitch down both long edges of each strip. Create the flower strap. Fold in half lengthwise and press. Open and press ½-inch on both long edges and refold. Pin to secure and topstitch both long edges. Repeat with loop piece.

Step 4: Assemble Pockets

Fold in half right sides together to make a 6x12 inch piece and a 5x7 inch piece. Stitch around edges, (½-inch seam) leaving an opening to turn. Trim corners. Turn right sides out and poke out corners, press flat.

Step 5: Attach Main Straps

Attach handles to the top edge of print main bag pieces. Right sides together and raw edges even. Set them in two inches from the sides and baste ½-inch from the top edge.

Step 6: Attach Pockets

Pin the smaller inside pocket to the right side of one piece of lining, centering it 3 inches below the top edge. Stitch sides and bottom to secure. The outside pocket is centered and pinned to the lower edge of one body piece just above “v”. Stitch sides and bottom and down center of the pocket to divide.

Step 7: Assemble Bag

You will have four lining pieces with interfacing on the wrong side and four body pieces with interfacing on the wrong side. (Two solid and two patterned with handles basted to top raw edge.)

Finish the lining. Pin two pieces (one with pocket and one plain) right sides together and stitch a ½-inch seam on the left long side and pivot to continue down the angled side. Repeat with the other two lining pieces but leave a 5-inch opening to turn out the bag later.

Form the main body pieces. Lay print body pieces (with handles) on the bottom and place the solid body pieces on top, right sides together. Stitch along the right side of each pair avoiding the handles as you stitch. Pivot and continue down the angled side.

Step 8: Finish the Market Tote

Take one set of lining with pocket and align to top edges of one set of body pieces (align with handle edge) Stitch a ½-inch seam across the top edge. Repeat with the other set of lining and body pieces. Press seams. Now align lining pieces and body pieces. Pin well and stitch ½-inch all around. Pull the bag through the 5-inch opening to turn it right side out. Stitch lining opening closed and tuck lining into the main body of the bag. Press the top edge of the bag and topstitch all around ½-inch from folded edge to finish.

The flower strap is attached to one solid side of bag. Pin each end of the strap 2 ½-inches from the top edge of the bag on the side seam. Topstitch to secure. It will be wider than the width of the bag. Find the center of that panel and pin the short strap over the long flower strap and stitch to secure. The long strap should slide freely through the short strap.

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