Mini Market Tote :: a tutorial

A few weeks ago, I mentioned the possibility of a tutorial for my market tote, a bit late :p but I finally managed to put it together – my first tutorial in 2010 – an adorable mini market tote^0^

Front & Side View


  • Fabrics:
    • Outer fabric I (I used a bicycle fabric, cotton & linen blend)
    • Outer fabric II (I used red, purple and cream coloured stripes)
    • Lining fabric (I used sky blue and white checks)
  • Sew-in interfacing (I used bamboo batting)- you can use iron-on interfacing if you prefer
  • Twill tape, 2 strips, 15″ each
  • 2 small buttons

Fabric cutting instructions:

Take note when using directional prints – all measurements read height x width

  • Outer fabric I:
    • Cut 2 pieces 9″ x 10 3/4″ (Piece A & B in the photo below) for body
  • Outer fabric II:
    • Cut 1 piece 8.5″ x 10 3/4″ (Piece C) for body
    • Cut 2 strips 15″ x 1 1/4″ for straps (Strip F & G)
    • Cut 1 piece 8 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ (Piece D) for pocket
  • Lining fabric:
    • Cut 1 piece 25 1/2″ x 10 3/4″ for lining
  • Sew-in interfacing:
    • Cut 1 piece 4″ x 5″ (Piece H) for pocket
    • Cut 1 piece 25″ x 10 1/4″ (Piece I) for body


Seam allowance: 1/4″

Step 1: Strap

Fold the fabric strips (F & G) like the picture below.
Make Strap - 1

Pin each fabric strip on to a piece of twill tape of the same length.
Make Strap - 2

Top stitch.
Make Strap - 3

Step 2: Pocket

Place interfacing (Piece H) over pocket fabric (Piece D) wrong side up, like the picture below.
Make Pocket - 1

Stitch along the top, middle and bottom of interfacing as shown in the picture, you can baste the interfacing onto the fabric first. And if preferred, you can use iron-on interfacing instead.
Make Pocket - 2

Fold pocket fabric, right side together and pin.
Make Pocket - 3

Sew around the 3 edges, leaving an opening to turn over.
Make Pocket - 4

Turn the right side out and close the gap using ladder (blind) stitch.
Make Pocket - 5

Step 3: Outer fabrics

Pin fabric piece A and C right side together and stitch the width edge (shown by the brown line). Do the same with fabric B and the other edge of fabric C. If you are using directional prints, note that C is the bottom of the tote.
Sew outer fabrics together- 1

Press seam open. Now you should have a piece of fabric same size as the lining (Piece E), now refer to as the outer fabric.
Sew outer fabrics together - 2

Step 4: Lining

Pin and baste interfacing (Piece I) onto lining (Piece E) using a contrasting thread. Do 3 straight stitches running the length of lining, equal distance apart.
Sew interfacing on lining - 1

Use a seam ripper to remove basting. Do another 3 straight stitches running the length of the lining as the picture below. Again, it is perfectly fine if you wish to use iron-on interfacing.
Sew interfacing on lining - 2

Pin and stitch (shown by the black line in the picture below) pocket onto the right side of lining – 3 3/4″ below the shorter edge.
Sew pocket on lining

Step 5: Putting things together

Pin lining and outer fabric right side together (don’t forget the straps* – see next picture), stitch the two shorter edges (shown by the brown line – sorry I couldn’t fit both ends into the picture).
Pin body fabrics together

*When pinning strap in place, the two ends should be 3 3/4″ apart. Also note that the the right side of the strap is to face the right side of the outer fabric. Please leave about 3/4″ of the strap extruding like the picture below.
Pin strap in place

Press seam open and place it like the picture below. Stitch the side edges(shown by the brown lines) leaving a 4″ opening to turn out.
Body - 1

Pinch the corner out (only the lining fabric) – much like origami!!^0^
Draw a line 2″ from the corner and stitch! Do the same for the other corner.
Body - 2

Trim off the corner.
Body - 3

Turn the bag right side out and close the opening using ladder (blind) stitch.
Body - 4

Similar to the lining, pinch the corner out, fold up and pin in place. Sew the corner “point” with a cute button – see the small picture below.

Lastly, we need to strengthen the bag handle. Draw a mark like the one in the picture.
Strengthen Strap - 1

Strengthen Strap - 2

Step 6: DONE!!!

Side Gusset

Inside & Outside View

Quite a long post! I hope these instructions are clear!
And I hope you like this tutorial!! ^_^

Thank you very much for reading!!!

:: FAQ ::

Where do you get that beautiful linen/cotton bicycle fabric?
I got mine from Pink Chalk Fabrics, but looks like they ran out! However you can also get it from Cotton Blue on Etsy.

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