Three-Way Tote Bag – Free Sewing Tutorial

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This bag can be enjoyed in three ways: as a tote bag with the top open, as a drawstring bag with a closed top, or in a backpack style carried over-the-shoulder. The fabric used for this bag is the [ladder] design from the “MUDDY WORKS by Tomotake”. The pattern, which is a combination of a border and a ladder, is simple, yet has designer Tomotake’s playful spirit sprinkled throughout. The material is 100% organic cotton, which is friendly to both to your touch and to the environment. It is a unique organic oxford material you can use with a peace of mind.

Design & Work:Mioko Sugino

Fabric shown for this sample:EKX-138-1C


  • Fabric: 110cm wide x 90cm

Size: 30cm (l) 38cm (w-opening side) 28cm (bottom) 10cm (gusset)

We interviewed Mioko about her creation:
Kokka Fabric (KF): What did you think of the fabric you used for this project?It is stylish with a ladder in a cool border pattern, which also looks cute. This versatile design fabric caters to everyone, so I made it into a tote bag that can be used in a variety of ways.

KF: Can you tell us any special elements or ideas that you incorporated into this creation?
You only need one meter of fabric to complete this project with only straight cutting, folding and sewing. A tote like a drawstring bag which also can be carried like a backpack.

KF: What are some tips for making this bag?
Since the position of the ladder determines the pattern direction, I used two pieces for the outer fabrics by sewing them together at the bottom. But actually, the pattern looks fine from the opposite direction, so I only used a single piece for the lining. If that bothers you, then sew two lining pieces together like the outer fabric. If you do not mind the pattern orientation, you can use a single piece for both outer and lining fabrics.
If using only 1 meter of fabric, sew together two 75 cm pieces to make one long strip. If you are using long enough fabric, you can of course make the strip in one piece, or you can use a rope or other material instead.

KF: How should we incorporate this bag into one’s styling?
Please enjoy it in various silhouettes, such as an open tote, a drawstring bag with a tied top, or in a backpack style carried over-the-shoulder, depending on your styling. Of course, your child can enjoy it as a kid’s backpack.

KF: Thank you very much, Mioko! Here are sewing instructions along with step by step photos from her. Enjoy crafting!



Cut the fabrics according to the measurement.


Fold the end of the opening fabric in three and sew to secure. With the front sides facing outside, fold in half and baste.


Fold the handle and tab in four respectively and sew.


With the front sides facing each other, piece together the strip fabrics. Press the seam open. Fold both ends for 1cm first, then fold in four and sew.


With the front sides facing each other, sew together the outer fabrics at the bottom.

Sew both sides with the tab (fold in half) in-between, placed at 7cm from the bottom.


Make the 10cm gusset and sew. Cut off the excess fabric and apply zigzag stitches.


With the front sides facing each other, fold the lining fabric in half. Sew both sides, leaving an opening for turning on one side. Make the gusset as in Step 6.


With the front sides facing each other, layer the outer bag and lining bag. Place the handle in-between on the outer bag side and opening fabric on the lining bag side and sew all the way around.


Turn the bag inside out using the opening for turning. Close the opening and place the lining bag inside.


Insert the drawstring strip from both sides to make a loop. Put one end through the tab and sew the end to secure.



◎Sewing Tutorial

◎Sewing Tutorial(PDF format / A4 size)

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