Sew a Tote Bag (and Hostess Apron) from 1 yard of fabric! {One Yard Magic Pattern from Lecien}


A cute tote bag is the perfect go-to gift. Birthday? Baby shower? Housewarming? Valentines? Easter? Christmas? Come to think of it, can you think of an occasion when you wouldn’t like to receive a new tote bag? I can’t!

This darling tote is part of a One Yard Magic Pattern from Lecien Fabrics. I know these Japanese fabrics are kind of hard to find – but don’t let that stop you from looking! They are beautiful! I suggest searching Etsy,, and asking your local quilt shop to stock the collections you want.

The infographic/pattern above shows how to make the hostess apron and the tote bag using just one yard of a panel print for the exterior. Last week I shared a detailed tutorial for sewing the hostess apron. Today I’m sharing a detailed sewing tutorial for the tote.  Mine was made with the blue Girl’s Story fabric panel from Lecien. If you will not be sewing the apron, you would be able to cut both the bag exterior and lining from 1 yard of fabric, but I like to use separate fabrics for my bag exteriors and linings anyway.

You will also need:

  • 1 yard of fusible fleece (I used HeatnBond fusible fleece)
  • 1 magnetic snap closure
  • scraps of interfacing to stabilize the lining where the snap closure will be inserted.


From the bag exterior fabric, cut:

  • 2 rectangles 13” x 17”
  • 2 strips 2 1/2” x 15”

From the lining fabric, cut:

  • 2 rectangles 13” x 17”

From the fusible fleece, cut:

  • 2 rectangles 13” x 17”
  • 2 strips 2 1/2” x 15”
  • 2 circles about the size of a quarter


1. Press to fuse the fusible fleece to the wrong sides of the bag exterior and handle pieces.

2. Use a ruler to mark and cut 2” squares from the lower corners of the bag exterior rectangles as shown above. Repeat to cut 2” squares from the lower corners of the bag lining pieces also.

3. Fold the bag lining pieces in half to find the center. On the wrong side, make a mark in the center of each piece 2” below the top edge.

4. Apply a scrap of interfacing (about a 2” square) over the mark and then re-draw the mark over the interfacing.

5. Insert the magnetic snap as follows:

  • Place the round metal disk over the mark  and draw cutting lines on the fabric through the slots in the disk.
  • Use a seam ripper, craft knife, or small scissors to cut small slits through the lines you drew.
  • Draw lines and cut slits through the quarter-sized pieces of fusible fleece also (not shown).


  • Insert one side of the snap through the slits from the right side.
  • On the wrong side, place a fusible fleece circle over the prongs and then a metal disk.
  • Bend the prongs outward.

Insert the other side of the magnetic snap in the remaining lining piece.

Note: Now would be a great time to add an interior pocket. You could use the one I sewed for my Sweet Quilted Tote or my Welt Zipper Pocket tutorial.

Make the straps:

1. Press the long edges of the straps to the wrong side by 1/4”. Then fold the strap in half lengthwise and press.

2. Topstitch 1/8” from the edge to close the strap. Then turn it around and topstitch 1/8” away from the fold on the other side.

3. Fold one of the tote exterior pieces in half to find the center and make a crease at the top. Pin the ends of the handle 3” away from the center on either side. Stitch the ends of the handle in place 1/4” from the edge.

Repeat with the other handle and the other tote exterior piece.

Assemble the tote bag:

3/8” seam allowance allowed.

1. Place the tote exterior pieces right sides together. Pin and stitch the side and bottom edges (skip the cut-out corners). Press the seams open.

2. Flatten the corners to make a straight line (match the side seam against the bottom seam) and pin. Stitch across with a 3/8” seam allowance.

3. Repeat steps 1-2 above with the lining pieces, except leave a 6” opening in the bottom seam for turning.

4. With the bag exterior right side out and the lining inside out, place the lining  over the exterior (so they are right sides together) and pin all the way around the top edge. Match up the side seams.

5. Stitch all the way around the top of the bag with a 3/8” seam allowance.

6. Turn the bag right side out through the opening in the lining. Press the edges of the opening to the inside and hand or machine sew the opening closed.

7. Carefully press the top edge of the bag, easing the lining toward the inside. Topstitch around the top edge using the edge of your presser foot as a guide.

Done! Post pictures on Instagram and tag #sewcanshe so I can see! See all the One Yard Magic Patterns I’ve shares so far here.

Happy Sewing!

Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂