I am hopeful that travel will open up soon. With that in mind I decided to make a large travel tote bag to get ready for a trip to Ireland that I have planned but am not sure will actually happen. This tote bag is a large size and perfect for sliding on the handle of your suitcase. It is a pretty simple tote bag to make though it has a zipper. I decided to use a #5 zipper by the yard because that is what I had on hand that matched my fabric. This is a great bag making project to really increase your bag making skills. I don’t think it is a difficult project but I would put it in the intermediate range but if you are in the strong beginner category I urge you to give this one a try.
I used standard cotton fabrics for my large travel tote bag that I purchased at JOANN Fabric & Craft Stores. You could head to Hobby Lobby, Fabric.com, or Onlinefabricstore.net to get exactly the fabric you want for your large tote bag. I decided to match my suitcase so I chose red. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on them and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
What you will Need: How to Make a Large Travel Tote Bag
- 1 yd main fabric
- 1/2 yd contrasting fabric
- 1 1/2 yds lining fabric ( I used the same as my contrasting fabric)
- 1 1/2 yds Pellon 809 interfacing
- 1/4 yd Pellon SF 101 Interfacing
- 2 Kam Snaps
- 22″ zipper
- 94 1/2″ of 1 1/4″ cotton webbing for handles
Step 1: Cut Your Fabrics
- Outer Fabric cut 2 pieces that measure 23 5/8″ x 13″
- Contrasting fabric cut 2 pieces that measure 23 5/8″ x 7 7/8″
- front pocket cut 1 that measures 9″ x 13″ and 1 that measures 9 x 16 1/2″
- 2 zipper tabs that measures 4 3/4″ x 3 1/8″
- 2 tabs that measure 3 1/8″ x 2 1/3″
- Lining Fabric cut two that measures 23 5/8″ x 20″
- 1 inner pocket that measures 16 1/2″ x 10 1/4″
- 2 Pellon 809 interfacing pieces that measure 22 7/8″ x 19 1/4″
- 1 Pellon SF 101 interfacing piece that measures 8 1/4″ x 7″.
- 1 Pellon SF 101 interfacing piece that measures 8 1/4″ x 7 7/8″
Step 2: Cut and fuse the Pellon 809 Interfacing
Measure 3 1/2″ squares on the bottom corners of each piece of interfacing and cut them out. Measure up 7″ from the bottom and draw a line. Cut along that line so that you have two large pieces and two smaller pieces of interfacing. Fuse the interfacing to the outer fabric pieces and the contrasting fabric pieces in the center following the manufacturer’s instructions. There will be seam allowance around the interfacing. The contrasting piece should be the one with the squares cut out. Cut out the fabric from the squares leaving the seam allowance.
Step 3: Fuse the Pellon SF101 Interfacing
Take the 9″ x 13″ outer pocket piece and fold it in half right sides together. Fuse the 8 1/4″ x 7″ piece of SF 101 to one of the folded side following the manufacturer’s instructions. Take the 9″ x 16 1/2″ outer pocket piece and fold it in half the same way. Fuse the SF 101 that measures 8 1/4″ x 7 7/8″ and fuse it to one side of the folded sides.
Step 4: Stitch the Outer Pocket Pieces
Turn the 9″ x 13″ pocket piece right sides out and topstitch along the fold. Leave the other piece wrong sides out and topstitch along the bottom raw edge. Turn right sides out and topstitch along the top and bottom edges.
Step 5: Attach the Outer Pockets to the Tote
Find the center of both pocket pieces and mark. Find the center of both larger outer pieces and mark. Place the smaller of the two pocket pieces on the bottom of one of the main outer pieces so that it is centered and matching the raw edges. Stitch along the sides and bottom to secure. Add the second pocket piece to the other large outer piece. Measure up from the bottom of the main outer piece 5/8″ and place the bottom of the larger pocket piece on the 5/8″ line and centered. Stitch along the sides only.
Step 6: Attach the Handles tot he Tote
Cut the webbing in half. Place the handles along the centers of the edges of the pocket pieces on both sides so that the raw edges are on the bottom. Stitch along both sides of the webbing 9″ from the bottom and across the top.
Step 7: Add the Contrasting Fabric to the Tote
Place the Contrasting fabric right sides together with the bottom of the larger outer fabric and stitch along the long straight edge using a 3/8″ seam allowance. Topstitch along the seam on the contrasting fabric side.
Step 8: Create the Lining
Take the two lining pieces and cut out 3 1/2″ squares from the bottom corners as you did on the contrasting fabric. Fold the inner pocket piece in half right sides together. Stitch along the sides and bottom using a 3/8″ seam allowance but leaving an opening in one of the sides for turning. Clip the corners. Turn the pocket right sides out and press. Top stitch along the side to enclose the opening. Find the Center of one of the lining pieces. Place the pocket piece in the center of the lining piece and stitch along the sides and bottom.
Step 9: Add The Zipper
Place the outer bag right sides up on your work surface. Place the zipper wrong side down onto the outer piece so that it is centered. Lay one of the lining pieces wrong sides down on top of the zipper creating a zipper sandwich. Using your zipper foot stitch the zipper in place through all layers. Repeat for the other side of the zipper using the remaining outer piece and lining piece. Topstitch along both sides of the zipper.
Step 10: Stitch the Bag
Open the bag so that the outer bag pieces are right sides together and the lining pieces are right sides together with the zipper in the center. Open the zipper half way. Stitch along the sides and the bottoms but leave an opening in the bottom of th lining for turning. Use a 3/8″ seam allowance.
Step 11: Box the Corners
To box the corners pinch the side seam of the corner to the bottom seam closing the hole. This creates a line. Stitch along the line using a 3/8″ seam allowance. Do this for all four corners. Turn the bag right sides out stitch the opening closed in the lining. Stuff the lining into the bag.
Step 12: Create the Zipper Taps
These are not typical zipper tabs as the zipper has already been sewn into the bag. They are going to be placed at the ends of the zippers any way. Take the zipper tab pieces and fold the long edges to the center and press. Fold the short edges in by 3/8″ and press. Fold in half. Place the short edges on the ends of the zipper and clip. Stitch all the way around the tab securing it to the zipper ends.
Step 13: Create the Remaining Tabs
Take the remaining tab pieces and fold the long edges into the center and press. Topstitch along both sides of each tab. Turn the short edges under by 3/8″ and clip.
Step 14: Add the Kam Snaps
Attach half the Kam Snap to each of the zipper Tabs. If you are unfamiliar with how to attach Kam snaps check out my video. Add the other half of the Kam Snaps to the other tab pieces.
Step 15: Attach the Tab Piece
Measure up 4 1/3″ from the contrasting fabric on the side of the bag and make a mark. Place the tab piece on the mark and stitch along the short ends. Snap the zipper ends to the Tab pieces and you have finished your large travel tote bag.
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