Ruffled Zippered Tote Tutorial!

After making my ruffled drawstring bag, I was hooked!  It was so easy, I knew I wanted to continue making ruffled bags.  Only this time I wanted something with more structure, a little less casual, and with a zipper.  So may I present to you the Ruffled Zippered Tote Bag:

Ta-Dah!  Isn’t it fabulous???  I am so so so excited about this bag!  It really wasn’t that difficult, took me about two hours to make, and cost roughly $4.00!  Like I said, fabulous!

Here’s what you need: one yard of stiff fabric (I used colored denim), a quarter yard of whatever you want to use for your ruffles, and an 18″ zipper in a color that matches your stiff fabric.

The dimensions for my bag were 20″ wide by 13″ tall.  I based these measurements off of a bag that I already owned and liked the size of.  I cut out my denim fabric on the fold, so I didn’t need to sew two pieces together.  If you cut out two pieces, sew them together at the bottom first.

The next step is to attach the zipper.  Fold down the two sides of the top of the bag 1/2″ and press them.  Then simply sew each side onto the zipper, laying the fabric on top.  You should now have a bag with a zipper at the top, a fold or seam at the bottom, and open sides.

Now it’s time for the ruffles!  I cut out 3″ strips this time, and made the width 1.5x the width of the bag.  Sew along one edge of the strip with a long stitch to create the ruffle.  My fabric was so lightweight that it actually ruffled itself perfectly as I sewed!

Unzip the bag and lay it flat, then decide how you want to space the ruffles.  Make sure you use lots of pins to secure your ruffles.  You’ll notice in the picture above that I left space at the bottom of the bag—that was on purpose.  I am going to create a boxed bottom for the bag later, so I left 2″ of empty space.  This will make more sense in a few steps.

After you’ve placed and pinned your ruffles, sew them on by simply sewing right over the stitching you did to create the ruffle.  Now turn your bag inside-out again and zip it up, it’s time to sew up the sides!

I just sewed right up each side until I reached the zipper.  Easy as that!  You now have a finished bag if you want to leave it as it is.  I wanted the boxed bottom, so that the bag got some depth and would stand up on its own.

This is one way to create the boxed bottom, and I think it’s the easiest.  Again, turn your bag inside-out and grab a marker.  I wanted the bottom of my bag to be 4″, so on each of the bottom corners I drew a 2″ square.  Make sure you measure from the seam and not the edge of the fabric like I’m doing in the above picture.

Now cut out the squares on your corners.  See why we left the two inches at the bottom of the bag?

Now you’re going to ‘squish’ your corner by pulling on the two innermost corners of your square.  The side seam and bottom seam (or crease) should now line up!  I hope these pictures help, I don’t really know how else to describe it…

Now just stitch it up, and you’ve got a beautiful box bottom!

So now the actual bag part is done!  Wasn’t that easy?  And quick???  You can simply leave your bag as it is now, but I like some straps on my tote bags.

To create the straps, cut out two 8″ by 30″ pieces of your stiff fabric.  Now fold and press them down the middle.

Then take your two sides, fold them into the middle, and press.

Then fold those two sides together, and press some more.  We want really these creases to be nice and crisp, so use a hot iron!

Then sew down each side of your strap, and turn the ends under and sew those up as well.  You’ve just made a fantastic sturdy strap!

I sewed my straps onto the outside of my bag in three places to make sure it was nice and sturdy.  I measured four inches in from either end for my strap placement.

And voila, you have just made an adorable and ruffled and zippered tote with straps!!!

I cannot tell you how thrilled I am with this bag.  I love love love how it turned out, and my mind is racing with different fabrics to use for ruffles!


4 thoughts on “Ruffled Zippered Tote Tutorial!

  1. Thank you so much for posting this.
    I have been looking for something like this for a while. I just printed it out and will try it tomorrow!

  2. found this on pinterest . I have a McCalls pattern and could NOT stand all the stupid steps ; so I cut out the pattern ( leaving out 1/2 of their pieces for other stuff ) and followed your tute minus the ruffles ! thanks !! yours is much easier to follow !

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