Library Tote Tutorial from Elle Belle Creative

Please enjoy this Library Tote tutorial from Stacey over at Elle Bell Creative.


Perusing book shelves, whispering to each other, and hunting down favorite reads, has become Elle and my favorite way to spend a Tuesday afternoon. We usually head home with a tote bag so laden with books, audio books, and DVDs, that it’s too heavy for Elle to carry. Good thing we carry a sturdy (and adorable too) tote like this one made by the very talented Red Marionette! One of Elle’s friends happens to enjoy the library as much as we do, so a tote of her own made a special birthday gift. It’s an easy project, a good excuse to use some of your favorite fabric, and makes a thoughtful gift when paired with a good book or two.
So here you go, a simple tote that’s just the right size for the smarty pants in your life:

1)Measure. I measured one of Elle’s largest books and added 2 inches to each side to come up with the measurement for my tote. Mine was 12” x 15” but you can make it in whatever size you like.

2)Cut two of the outside print and two of the lining (I ironed a fusible stabilizer to the lining pieces before I cut them… you can skip this step if you’d like. It makes it a bit sturdier though, so I prefer it) the size of your measurement from #1. Cut two strips of your outside fabric 8” wide x however long you would like the straps to be

3)Press the strips into double fold bias tape (press it in half, open it up and press each edge into the middle, fold it in half again, encasing the raw edges)

4)Sew body of the bag. With right sides facing each other, sew 3 sides of the two pieces of the outside fabric together. Leave one of the short sides un-sewn. Repeat with the lining fabric, leaving a 3” opening in sewn short side.
5)Sew straps. Sew along the edges of each long side of the straps

6)Bottom of the bag – With right sides still facing, open the body of the bag up and squeeze the bottom corner together so that the side seam and the bottom seam are touching each other. Sew perpendicular to the seams about 1.5” from the corner (the blue line in the picture above). Cut off the top of the triangle to lessen the bulk. Repeat for both bottom corners of outside fabric and lining.

7)Pin. Flip the outside fabric right sides out and place it inside the lining pieces so that the lining and the outside fabric is right sides together. Place the handles between the outside and lining pieces and pin them on both sides of the bag with the ends about 2.5” from the side seam. Pin the rest of the top raw edges together.
8)Sew around the top of the bag.

9)Pull the outside of the bag through the opening in the lining. Sew the opening in the bottom of the lining shut. Push the lining into the bottom of the bag.
10)Top Stitch around the top of the bag (You don’t have to do this step, but it gives the tote a finished look and rounds out these instructions to 10)

Thanks Stacey!!! šŸ™‚

Sweet JeanettePhotobucket

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  1. This is lovely – what is that amazing fabric you’ve used??

  2. This is a great little gift – I am with Wendy, above, I need to know where I can get that peacock fabric, I have been looking for the perfect peacock fabric for a project and haven’t found one nearly as nice as that one.

  3. FancieStrands says:

    This is great and I love the fabric. So bright and cheery.

  4. How adorable! Great motivation to visit the library too.

  5. ooohhh… i’m going to work on this project this weekend!

  6. Cranberry Morning says:

    That is darling! I’ve got to make a few of those. I’m always looking for a bag for my books, my knitting, and whatnot! Thanks for the great tutorial.

  7. Thanks for posting my library tote tutorial! I almost never buy a fabric unless I have something specifically in mind for it, but I made an exception for this great peacock fabric! It’s Dena Designs Monaco Peacocks in white.

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