The Spring Market Tote – Tutorial

The last week of February already, can you believe it?  My daffodils are blooming, we spent the weekend outside mowing and pruning; the sunshine just has a way of lulling me outside – is it the same for you?  I have been in need of some totes to lug snacks and sweatshirts and a magazine to and from all of the places I run every day with the girls.  Today, I’m going to share a tutorial for a very basic oilcloth tote that you can sew up in a snap.  I used oilcloth for this one, primarily because I wanted something that would be easy to wipe down and would also hold up to rain while I dash in and out during the inevitable spring showers.

1 piece of oilcloth 36″ x 18″ (or alternately, two pieces 18″x18″)
1 piece of lining material 36″ x 18″ (or two, as above)
2 straps – 30″ each (you can use braided trim, leather straps, or make straps with fabric)
The basic construction of the tote is a cinch!  You’ll simply attach your straps to each end of the oilcloth piece (the short sides).  Then fold the oilcloth in half and sew up each side to form the side seams.  Repeat with the lining.  Square off the bottom corners of the bag to make a flat bottom.  Attach the lining and main bag together, then turn and topstitch.  Here’s a picture tutorial with a few more details.

And that’s it!  You’ll notice that I referenced “bottom seam” in the instructions, which would apply if you are using two pieces of fabric for the main bag and two pieces for the lining.  For a quicker bag, you would simply omit all references to that bottom seam and just use the one larger piece of fabric.  Does that make sense (so you’ll have a bottom fold not a bottom seam)?
Okay!  Now get sewing – you can have one of these puppies done in about 30 minutes.  Have fun!  


  1. Gwen's Busy Little Hands says

    Great bag! I think I’ll whip up a few of these. I’m going to shrink the bag a bit and creat a couple for my two little girls. These would be awesome for trips to the farmers market and the Whole Foods Store too. Thanks for the inspiration.


  2. KreativeEmmaKate says

    This is so cute! I’ve made tote bags before but I never thought to use oil cloth, or to square the corners. Those 2 changes really make it much more modern. This is adorable!

  3. Rustown Mom says

    Very cute and simple. We have gone to reuseable shopping bags for groceries in Austin, so i need to whip a few of these up!

  4. Stacey says

    Hi Stef, Love the bag. Just made a two totes, one with oil cloth and one with laminated cotton. I love your straps. I made my own straps, but I was wondering did you use a satin dot stitch on your straps. They are so cute- such a nice accent.

  5. Jacky says


    I purchased this same bag (3) at a craft fair for $30.00 each over 8 years ago. In Southern California effective July 2015 we will have to pay for plastic bags. I absolutely love these bags and ordered oilcloth for $5.00/yd (makes 2) plus, lined with oilcloth also. I will be making the bags for less than $5.00 each. Just made a blue with red jalapeno peppers with red/white dot fabric for lining. Using poly-webbing for handles. The bags are absolutely perfect for grocery shopping and I have gotten my money’s worth in use. However, now that I need several more and am retired — need to save the money and make them myself. Plus, it’s fun. Thank you!


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