Mini Tote Assembly Tutorial

Today I will be bringing you a picture tutorial on how to put your Mini Tote pattern together. Please make sure you read through all the instructions before you put your bag together to ensure that you are doing it correctly and don’t make the same mistake I made which I will point out in the tutorial.

For this tutorial you will need:

  1. Mini tote bag pattern
  2. Fabric for main part of the bag
  3. Lining fabric
  4. Contrasting fabric, leather, faux leather or vinyl 
  5. Acrylic metal or wooden macrame Handbag rings mine were 8” in diameter. A smaller size may be easier to handle around the throat space of a home sewing machine.
  6. Sewing Machine and Thread
  7. Medium weight fusible (or sew in, I use fusible in this tutorial) interfacing

To start, cut out your fabric using the guidelines on the pattern pieces. Do not worry about cutting the interfacing just yet.

First, Line up the long edges of your bag main pieces to the long edges of the bag contrast pieces with right sides facing each other. 

STITCH along the edges at a  ⅝’’ seam allowance 

TRIM your seam allowances and press towards the bag contrast. Make sure you use a pressing cloth to avoid burning your contrast. 

This step is optional, you can top stitch the seams down on both sides of the bag or you can do just one side as I did OR you can choose not to top stitch at all. It is totally up to you! You can also use embroidery, or upholstery thread to make this top stitch as well.

ONCE you have all three pieces attached you are going to want to lay it flat on your interfacing and fuse it using a pressing cloth. Once it is fused cut it out of the interfacing. THE PICTURE BELOW SHOWS ME FUSING THE LINING, DO NOT DO THIS AS IT WILL MAKE THIS PROJECT HARDER THAN IT NEEDS TO BE. 

STITCH your lining pieces together in the same manner that you did the bag main and contrast pieces. 

STITCH the side seams of your bag together and trim the seam allowances.

BEFORE stitching the lining in this manner, make sure that you measure the rings to leave an opening big enough to flip them inside out. THEN stitch leaving this opening on one side and completely closing the other side. 

NEXT we are going to be working on the HANDLE TABS. Feel free to do these however you please but here are the instructions for how I did mine. NOTE I did reduce my tabs by about half an inch width wise to fit a key ring.

  1. Take each tab and Fold it in half lengthwise. PRESS it into place.
  2. Open the tab back up and fold each side in to meet the center line and PRESS again.
  3. STITCH very close to the edge of the folds on both sides
  4. TRIM the excess seam allowance.

Once you have your tabs made, fold the tabs in half so that the raw edges and notches meet inserting the ring as well. THEN match them up to the notch you made at the center of your bag main piece. BASTE them in place. NOTE- at this point your YOUR BAG MAIN SHOULD BE INTERFACED, remember that I made a mistake in interfacing the lining instead of the BAG MAIN.

NEXT place your INTERFACED BAG MAIN into your UNINTERFACED LINING with right sides facing and handle tabs and rings down INSIDE the lining. MATCH the seams and notches of your bag main to your lining pieces and pin in place at the top opening. 

STITCH into place and TRIM seam allowances. Make sure you DO NOT use the Arm of your sewing machine to stitch this as the rings will NOT fit under the machine.

Next pull the bag right side out through the opening in your lining and push out all corners. Your rings should fit right through the opening. 

STITCH the lining hole closed with a slip stitch by hand OR you can TOP STITCH it if it’s just for yourself. Also, press the opening of your bag making sure that the lining is not rolling to the outside. You CAN pin it into place once you press it to help it stay in place when you TOP STITCH the opening. 

While top stitching the opening, I stitched as far as I could past the rings, took the bag out and then continued on the other side of the ring. Make sure to Back stitch all of your stitching at the beginning and the end of your stitch to secure it in place. 

Once you have closed your lining and top stitched the opening, you have COMPLETED your mini tote. Now you have your own unique one of a kind bag! Feel free to hang pom poms from the tabs or even some cute charms or tassels (I usually attach as many as I can to make it my own).

Please make sure to comment below and let me know if you have used this tutorial or plan on using it. I also ask you to subscribe to my blog when posting a comment by checking the box next to “notify me of new posts by email”. Also, if you DO use this tutorial tag me in your posts on INSTAGRAM @andreanaturally, I would LOVE to see your versions! Thanks for reading!

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