Making a simple tote bag is probably one of the best introductory sewing projects, but where do you go after that? How do you advance your sewing skills but still make a project that won't overwhelm, or be too complicated? Well, I think that adding a lining to your bag is a fantastic way to learn a skill that can be applied to so many different sewing projects.
The amazing, simple, way of lining a tote that I'm about to show you can be applied to the simplest, and the most complicated purses and bags. This tutorial assumes you have already pieced together your tote interior, exterior, and handles.
Haven't started a tote yet? Read this tutorial on how to construct the basic pieces for your bag!
Alternatively, here's a list of 60+ Free Tote Bag Patterns that you can choose from. I'm sure you'll find something you'll like!
*Note, if you'd like to apply pockets to the interior or exterior of your bag, do so before you attach the lining.
Start Lining Your Bag!
Let's get started! The floral print in this example is the exterior of my bag, and the solid orange is the lining. Begin with your exterior right side out and your lining wrong side out.
Stuff the exterior of your bag into the lining. They'll be right sides together.
Tuck your straps down into the bag, and pin them in place. The raw edges of your straps should be flush to the top raw edge of your bag. You should be able to look down into your bag and see the wrong side of the exterior.
Pin around the top of the bag, through all layers.
Leave yourself a 3-5″ opening, and place a pin parallel to the top of the bag there.
Beginning at the end of the pin you placed parallel, sew a 5/8″ seam around the top of the bag and stop at the beginning of the pin.
You'll now have a small opening.
Trim your seam allowance to 1/4″, leaving the seam allowance intact at the opening. Watch out for pins! You'll have a few pins holding your strap or handles in place.
Reach into the opening of the bag and grab the lining.
Pull the lining through the opening, and keep pulling until you also pull the exterior through the opening.
Keep pulling until you've pulled all the fabric through the opening and have something that resembles a long tube, with your lining on one side and the exterior of your bag on the other side.
Now, tuck the lining of the bag down into the exterior of your bag so that you have something that resembles a normal tote!
Press the opening that you pulled your bag through, closed and pin it.
Press around the entire top of the bag. Next, topstitch around the top of your bag, through the lining and the exterior a scant 1/4 inch from the edge.
Trim your threads, gently poke out the corners of your bag, and you're done!
This technique is such a great, and easy, way to make a more professional looking tote. Lining your purse, bag or tote also helps add strength to the bag, and means you can add pockets to the inside, without visible seams from the outside!
If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below. Thank you for reading!