Saturday, 19 January 2013

Tutorial: foldaway market tote

This handy reusable tote folds away into it's own pocket. Perfect for storing in your purse for spontaneous shopping sprees. I have made mine from upcycled vintage fabric, but feel free to use any lightweight cotton. The following is a sewing tutorial for making this lovely tote. You will find full instructions and free pattern to download and print.

Foldaway market tote tutorial
You will need:
Pattern paper (squared)
Sewing machine

You will need a piece of material 84 x 71cm. Cut out the 4 main pieces plus a piece for the pocket 18 x 36cm. All seams are 1cm. You can find the pattern template for this tutorial below. It is not to scale and is for guidance only. You will need to make a template on pattern paper, I would recommend using squared paper so that you can achieve true straight edges.

I have also included the full two-page tutorial at the end of this blog post, you are welcome to print that out and work from those instructions.

Step 1. Fold the pocket piece with right sides {RS} together and stitch around the edge leaving a small gap.Trim the corners and turn right side out.

Step 2. Place the pocket with the fold at the top, centrally on the right side of one main bag piece. Stitch around 3 sides.

Step 3. Join the main pieces {RS} to {RS} at the tops of the handles. Neaten the raw edges by pinking or zig-zag machine stitch.

Step 4. Neaten all round the inside raw edge between the handles by pinking or zig-zag machine stitch.Then turn under and sew all around the edge making a curve at the corners.You may need to clip the corners slightly.

Step 5. Sew the bottom of the bag {RS} to {RS} and neaten the raw edges as before.

Step 6. Pin the side pieces {RS} to {RS} by lining the top edge to the mark on the main bag piece (about 7 inches from the top) and the bottom edge centrally to the bottom seam of the bag.

Step 7. Sew all around the seam leaving 10mm at the top. In each corner pivot your work keeping the needle down in the material. Neaten raw edges as before.

Step 8. Pink or zig-zag stitch around the side edge of the bag opening. Turn under and sew all around the edge. Turn bag right side out.

And there you have it, a strong, yet lightweight foldaway tote, handy for a multitude of uses.

You are welcome to print the following two instruction pages out and work from there.

I would love to hear any comments or see any photos of your finished foldaway market totes!

Copyright: This tutorial is intended for personal use only. Please don't make these market totes to sell. You are more than welcome to share this tutorial. but if you do, please could you link back to

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I also sell a range of handmade goodies, including vintage fabric cushion covers, lavender filled rabbits and owls and a gorgeous range of vintage trims see my work here


fabriquefantastique said...

I like to call those fold away bags an 'opportunity g. You never know when you are going to need it.

Sarah Bunney Beadscrumptious said...

Fantastic! I may have a go making one of these myself ... when I can find some funky fabric!

Sarah xx

Sarah Bunney Beadscrumptious said...

Fantastic! I may have a go at making one of these myself....when I can find some funky fabric!

Sarah xx

Julian Levi said...

Great job... thanks for sharing the tutorial... I like this.
flight bags


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