Edgestitch bias tape onto the sides and bottom of the bag,

I’m someone who needs a large bag. I don’t understand how people can carry dainty little purses! Where do they put their stuff? My ideal bag needs room for a whole lot of life’s supplies: a sweater, wallet, book, notebook, cell phone, and laptop, plus some baby toys, my current craft project and tonight’s dinner. It also needs to be sturdy, easy to carry, and good looking! The Everyday Tote fits the bill… and all of my things as well!

I’ve made many bags for the Purl Bee, but I feel like they’ve all been leading me to this Everyday Tote. Using techniques honed on my 40 Minute Tote and Inside Out Bag, I think I’ve finally created my ideal carryall! Since it’s made from Cotton Duck, this bag is strong and utilitarian but also attractive with accents of Neon Bias Tape and yarn dyed fabric.

The Everyday Tote is a blast to sew. It uses lots of different sewing techniques so it’s never boring, and the result is so refined and professional looking, no one will believe you made it yourself!  Best of all, the finished bag is totally modern and totally functional. You really are going to want to carry it everyday!

Update: New Fabric

November 27, 2015

We sewed a new version of this tote in an intriguing new fabric, Robert Kaufman’s Demin with Colored Motes. To see more photos and get the list of materials, check out our Favorite Totes in Denim with Colored Motes story!


To make one bag you’ll need …


Finished Measurements:

21 1/4 inches wide X 12 1/4 inches tall X 6 inches deep


If you have never sewn with bias tape before you might want to review our recent Inside Out Bag story, which gives more step by step instructions and helpful tips!

Machine wash and dry the fabric (but not the bias tape or webbing) before beginning.



From the Bag Fabric:

Two 22-inch by 17-inch rectangles. These are the Bag Panels.

One 7-inch square. This is the Pocket Back.

From the Accent Fabric:

Two 22-inch by 10-inch rectangles. These are the Accent Panels.

One 7-inch by 5-inch rectangle. This is the Pocket Front.

From the Webbing:

Two 24-inch lengths. These are the Handles.

Sew the Pocket

Cut a 7-inch length of bias tape and pin it over a 7-inch side of the Pocket Front. Using the Bias Tape Thread, edgestitch it on. This bias tape edge is now the top of the Pocket Front.

Place the Pocket Front on top of the Pocket Back, right sides facing up and lining up the bottom raw edges. The top of the Pocket Front will be 2 inches below the top of the Pocket Back.

Cut a 22-inch length of bias tape and pin it around the sides and bottom of the two pocket pieces. To create neat mitered corners, fold the bias tape in a 45-degree angle, as shown above.

Then fold the bias tape up the next side, maintaining the 45-degree angle and pinning the tape in place. Make sure the backside looks the same.

Using the Bias Tape Thread, edgestitch the tape on all three sides, thus sewing together the Pocket Front and Pocket Back. Make sure you catch both sides of the bias tape.

This is now the Pocket.

Sew the Bag Panels

Pin the ends of the Handles to the right side of a 22-inch edge of each Bag Panel, 7 inches from each corner. Make sure the Handles are not twisted.

Using the Bag Thread, sew the Handles in place with a 3/8-inch seam allowance.

The edges with the Handles are now the tops of the Bag Panels.

Cut two 22-inch lengths of the bias tape and pin them to the top edges of the Bag Panels thus encasing the ends of the Handles. Using the Bias Tape Thread, edgestitch the bias tape in place.

Fold and pin down the top edges of the Bag Panels 1 inch towards the wrong side so that the Handles flip up and away from the Bag Panels.

With the wrong side of one Bag Panel facing up, insert the Pocket, right side up, inside the fold between the Handle’s ends, as shown above. Pin the Pocket in place.

Using the Bag Thread, sew down the fold with two seams, the first 1/4 inch from the top folded edge and the second directly above the bias tape, thus sewing the Pocket in place.

Cut a 22-inch length of bias tape. Slice it in half lengthwise.

Gather your Accent Panels and orient them right side facing up, the 22-inch edges at the top and bottom. Align the raw edge of a bias tape half to the top 22-inch edge of an Accent Panel. Pin it in place and using the Bag Thread, sew the tape to the Accent Panel with a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Repeat with the other bias tape half and Accent Panel.

Fold this seam 1/4 inch towards the back side of Accent Panel and press the panel flat. There should be a small ridge of bias tape peeking out the top of the Accent Panel.

Lining up their bottom and side edges, pin the top edge of the Accent Panel to a Bag Panel, right sides facing up. Make sure to not pin the Pocket. Repeat with the other set of Panels.

Using the Bias Tape Thread, sew each Accent Panel into place along the top pinned edge. Sew just along the bias tape edge, being careful not to sew onto the Accent or Bag Fabric. Again, make sure to not sew the pocket.

Sew Together

Pin the Bag Panels right sides together along their three raw edges.

Using the Bag Thread, sew the Bag Panels together along the pinned sides with a 3/8-inch seam allowance.

To make the boxed bottom of the bag, pull the two Bag Panels apart so that the bottom seam and a side seam are directly on top of each other and the corner forms a 90-degree angle. Press the corner in this orientation.

Mark a line perpendicular to the two seams, 3 inches from the corner. This line will be 6 inches across. It is the Sew Line.

Mark a second line 3/8-inch above the Sew Line.

Cut off the corner of the bag along this second line.

Repeat for the other bottom corner of the bag.

When both corners are cut, open the bag and press it flat once again. It will have two notches taken out of the bottom corners, as shown above.

Using the Bias Tape Thread edgestitch bias tape onto the sides and bottom of the bag, leaving the notched sections alone. Tuck the raw ends of the bias tape inside itself at the top corners before you sew it down.

Press and pin the corners back into their boxed orientation, with the side and bottom seams matching up. Face the bias tape on the bottom in the opposite direction of the bias tape on the side, to reduce the bulk of these seams.

Using the Bag Thread, sew the pinned sides together along the Sew Line, giving you a 3/8-inch seam allowance.

Using the Bias Tape Thread, edgestitch bias tape onto the boxed corner seam, tucking the beginning and end of the tape into itself to hide the raw ends.

You’re all done sewing!

Turn the bag right side out, press it and you’re ready to go!