One-Hour Tote: The Weekend Bag (Free Sewing Pattern)

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Nothing beats a weekend away — it’s time to relax and recharge. This over-sized satchel is large enough to stow a few extras just in case you decide to stay an extra day or two.
Here's what you need to sew this pattern yourself:
- 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 yards (1 1/4 – 1 3/4 m)
- Heavyweight canvas or upholstery fabric
- 36-in (90 cm) metal zipper
- 2 x 28-in (71-cm) leather straps
- Thread to match fabric
- 4 yards (4 m) bias tape (optional)
Equipment needed:
- Fabric scissors or pinking shears
- Dinner plate
Take a free sewing class at Craftsy!
Also See:
Our Favorite Summer Sewing Projects

Make a Tote Bag for Fall (VIDEO)

Super Sewing Hacks for Travelers

Step 1

Preparation: Seam allowances for this project are 1/2 inches (1.25 cm) unless otherwise stated. If you are finishing the interior with bias tape, apply it to the seams as you are assembling the pieces. If you do not wish to bind your seams with bias tape, consider cutting out your pieces with pinking shears to prevent excessive fraying.

Step 2

Measure and cut the following pieces from your fabric:
- 2 zipper panels 36 inches x 7 inches (90 cm x 18 cm),
- 1 bottom panel 13 inches x 38 inches (33 cm x 95 cm), two side panels 16 in x 21 in (40.5 cm x 55 cm).
- Use the edge of a dinner plate to mark a curved edge on
the upper left and right corners of the side panels. Trim away corners.
- Cut one outer pocket panel (optional) 10 inches x 21 inches (25 cm x 55 cm).

Step 3

If you are adding the outer pocket, apply bias tape to the top edge, then baste it into place along the sides and bottom edge of one of the side panels.

Step 4

Begin by installing zipper centered along the 36-inches (90-cm) edge of the zipper panels. If installing a zipper is new to you, check out the this tutorial on how to install a conventional zipper.

Step 5

Once your zipper is installed, press panel flat to smooth folded edge and create crisp edge along zipper opening. Place the zippered panel face down on the bottom panel (13 inches x 38 inches/33 cm x 95 cm) so that right sides are facing and shorter edges are matched. Pin along one of the shorter edges and stitch together.

Step 6

Next, with right sides facing, center and pin the zippered panel along the top curved edge of the first of the side panels. Continue pinning the panel into place all along the outer edge of side panel until the short edges meet on the other side (see figure).

Step 7

Stitch this seam and repeat process on the other side with second side panel. Once the sides are installed, pin remaining opening and stitch seam closed.

Step 8

Turn bag right side out. Remove any basting stitches that may be
showing at the seams. Center and attach leather-strap handles on either side of the bag (see figure).

Step 9

This tote bag pattern is excerpted with permission from "30 Minute Sewing: What Can You Sew In Half an Hour or Less?" by Heather M. Love and published by Barron's Educational Series.

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  • by mayshenten
    User profile

    OK Hi everyone. I. from Canada, new here. looking for a chance from other social media sites.
    Says one hour. Going to have to see about this.

  • by angela mhlope
    User profile
    angela mhlope

    How do I download the pattern

  • by lindsay.brewer41
    User profile

    Can you tell me where exactly you got the handles and what brand they are? I bought some on ebay and the metal piece broke at first use. Such a bummer :(

  • by vonice1
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    What is the size of the finished bag?

  • by beajay
    User profile

    Was really hoping to start this but am totally unable to find either the36 inch metal zip or the 28 inch leather handles. Have searched the internet and bag-making sites to no avail. Can anyone help?

    • by auntchrissy
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      auntchrissy Rate this comment 0 0 | Report

      Ebay sells both items you are looking for. =)

    • by auntdodo3
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      auntdodo3 Rate this comment 0 0 | Report

      All you need to do is purchase an upholstery zipper. :)

    • by
      Rate this comment 0 0 | Report

      Planning to give this a try this weekend! I do my best to reuse and upcycle as much as possible to keep on a budget, or use less expensive alternatives. I plan to add a lining to this bag because the fabric I have is not as heavy as upholstery fabric. I don't have metal zippers so I'll be using a nylon one, and I'm planning on making straps from fabric or using cotton webbing as opposed to leather handles. I'm also going to add interfacing to stiffen it up a little. you can always get creative if there's something you don't have or cant find :)