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Simple tote bag pattern suitable for beginners.

These instructions will take you step-by-step through the process of making a simple, unlined shoulder bag.

There are many patterns on Etsy for gorgeous shoulder bags that are lined, interlined, quilted, or pleated, and which have clasps, pockets, bells and whistles. This is not such a bag, but it is a practical, functional, everyday bag, that is also very easy to make. If you are looking for a beginner sewing project, and/or you don't have the time or space to lay out your sewing equipment to tackle an extended project, then this is the pattern for you.

I keep one of these bags permanently in my handbag, for all the times I forget to take my weightier bags out with me!

I pride myself on writing in a friendly, jargon-fee manner, and the instructions are fully illustrated with line drawings. If you have any difficulties, I'm more than happy to answer questions by e-mail.

This is such a useful bag, and the instructions help you to make it so quickly, that it will pay you back time and again. The instructions are written specifically with the time-strapped and frugal in mind. Details about how to source second-hand fabric are given, but of course you can use a new fabric of your choice.

The bag is ideal made from a relatively lightweight fabric, so that it can be folded up small enough to keep in your handbag or pocket – much handier than many reusable bags on the market!

Fabric choices are detailed in the instructions to enable you to make a bag that is easy-to-sew and washable. Appropriate fabric is easy to find and cheap. These factors make this an ideal project for children and other beginner sewers.

What you will need:
- Fabric (equivalent to 60cm / 24" of 110cm / 42" wide fabric)
- Ordinary cotton or polyester sewing thread
- A sewing needle
- A few pins
- A tape measure or ruler
- Sharp scissors
- A sewing machine (this is optional - there's no reason why you can't sew this bag by hand, although it's obviously quicker by machine)

The instructions include information on how to alter the size/shape of the bag to your own preferences, plus how to customise it should you wish to.

This item is a PDF pattern available for immediate download on purchase.

If you'd like to offer this pattern to someone as a gift, I can provide it printed and presented in a smart, eco-friendly gift package. Just use the "Request a custom order" link above to contact me, with no obligation.

For a short-handled, sturdy grocery bag with a flat bottom, please see my other listing here:


Once purchased, this pattern remains the copyright of Little Conkers. You may not reproduce all or any part of this pattern. Please do not sell items made from this pattern, without express prior permission (which is usually granted) and credit.

Tote Bag Pattern / Shoulder Bag Pattern / Easy Sewing Pattern / Beginner Sewing Project / Market Bag Grocery Bag Sewing Instructions