DIY: Colorblock Tote for Summer

By Claire of Fellow Fellow

Hi everyone! It’s Claire from Fellow Fellow back again with another DIY for you. Summer is all about being outdoors, enjoying the sun by the beach, or picnicking in the park. So I thought why not make a nice big tote to carry all the towels, blankets, and suntan lotion you’ll be needing! Lets get started!

Keep reading to see the full instructions and downloadable pattern!

What you’ll need:
– Baking paper, or news paper
– Ruler
– Scissors (for paper, and fabric)
– Pencil
– Fabric in two colors (heavy cotton works well)
– Lining fabric (I just used natural Calico cotton)
– Thread to match
– Pins
– Sewing machine
– Overlocker (optional)
– Dressmaker’s pencil
– Heavy cotton tape for handles
Step 1.
We’re going to make the pattern from scratch using the baking paper (or newspaper). Here are the pieces you’ll need to cut/fold from your paper:
Measure out each piece on your baking paper, cut or fold to size and tape down any excess. Make sure you label the TOP and BOTTOM pieces appropriately so they aren’t mixed up. These pattern pieces already include a 5/8” seam allowance (1.5cm).

Step 2.
Fold the fabric you want to use on the TOP in half, and pin the TOP pattern piece through both layers. Cut out. Do the same with both the BOTTOM pattern, and the LINING.
Now, here is what you should have:

Step 3.
Put one TOP piece and one BOTTOM piece with right sides together, lining up one of the long edges. Pin and sew that edge. I then overlocked the two raw edges I’d just sewen because my fabric was prone to fraying, and ironed the seams apart. Repeat Step 3 with the other TOP and BOTTOM piece.

Step 4.
Now you should have two large rectangles. Place them on top of each other, right sides together. Pin and sew the bottom seam of your bag. Overlock the edges and press apart. Now pin and sew each side seam, going from the bottom of the bag to the top. Overlock and press apart.

Step 5.
Next, we’re going to do the box corners. With one hand on the inside of your bag, and one on the outside, find one of the bottom corners of your bag. Squash it down so that the side seam, and bottom seam are in line, and pin it so it goes through both seams.

Once it’s pinned, measure approximately 3.5” from the point down the length of the seam, and mark the spot with your dressmakers pencil. I then lined up my corner point and seam along a line on a cutting mat (but it isn’t necessary). Using your ruler, find the spot you marked and line up your ruler on it perpendicular to the seam. Draw a line across your fabric. Pin along that line to hold it in place. Do this with both corners of your bag. At this point I like to turn the bag right side out to make sure I’m happy with the depth of my corners. If you aren’t, increase or decrease the size and try again. If you are happy with them, turn the bag inside out again and sew straight along the line you just drew on each corner.
Cut the corner off, approximately 1/2” from the seam, overlock.

Step 6.
Repeat Steps 4 and 5 with your lining fabric.
Step 7.
With the outer bag inside-out, and the lining right-side-out, put the outer bag inside the lining bag. Line up the top edge and side seams. Fold and pin the top edge down 1”, iron. Remove the pins and fold over again 1”.. pin and iron. Sew keeping close to the bottom edge of the hem.

Step 8.
Turn your bag right-side-out. Take the heavy cotton tape and cut two pieces at your desired handle length (mine were 28”). I sealed each cut end with some clear nail polish to stop it from fraying.

Use your ruler and dressmakers pencil to measure and mark where you want your handles to be on each side. Pin the handles in position and sew around the base of each one, keeping close to the edge. I sewed over mine twice to make them stronger.

 And you’re done! Tadaa.. one pretty tote, just waiting to be taken to the beach!


What a lovely summer bag. Also, I’m drooling over those steamed buns you posted today on your site, They look amazing! Jealous you live in Singapore! I’ve never been!

I love color blocking, great project. Cute shoes too 🙂

I love this idea! So simple and so beautiful. Heading (back) to the fabric store today!

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