Cross Body Tote Bag

Hello Ribbon Retreat friends! This is Amber from Crazy Little Projects happy to show off a little over at TRR today with a new tote bag tutorial. Bags are my favorite thing to make, and I desperately needed a new one and am very happy with how this turned out! It’s a Cross Body Tote Bag:

Cross Body Tote Bag - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

It’s cute and it’s easy and YOU can do it!

Cross Body Tote Tutorial:

Supplies Needed:

Pattern Pieces:

From main and inner fabrics and fusible fleece cut the following:

  • 2 pieces that are 14″ wide by 12″ tall (of each fabric and fleece)
  • 1 piece that is 4″ wide by 43″ long (of each fabric and fleece)

For the pocket cut from main and accent fabrics: (optional)

  • 1 piece from each fabric that is 10″ wide by 6.5″ tall


Iron your fusible fleece to your main pieces with the fleece on the back. You iron on the top of the fabric:

Cross Body Tote Bag - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Let’s start by sewing the strap. Grab your two long pieces (4 inches by 43). The main fabric should have the fleece ironed on already. Put right sides together and then sew along the two long sides:

Cross Body Tote Bag - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Turn that right side out and press it flat, then top stitch along the two long sides. You are done with the strap, so set it aside for now.

If you would like an inner pocket, let’s put that together now. Take your two pocket pieces and place them right sides together. Sew up the top and the bottom. I wanted my pocket a little fancy with the accent fabric showing at the top. To do this, after you have sewn the top and bottom, turn it all right side out and press it flat, BUT, do it so that the accent fabric is showing at the top a little like this:

Cross Body Tote Bag - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Get it all pressed how you want it and then turn it back inside out and sew up the two sides but leave a small opening in one spot so you can turn it right side out. Turn it and press it flat again, closing the opening with the ironing. Top stitch the top seam of the pocket to keep it all in place well (see image below).

Now, grab one of your pieces of inner fabric that is 14 by 12 and center the pocket on it and sew around the side, bottom and other side, leaving the top open. I also like to sew a line down the center of the pocket to create compartments:

Cross Body Tote Bag - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

If you want to create the ruffle, it’s time. Cut a piece of fabric that is about 5 inches wide and about 17 inches long.

Fold it so that right sides are together and stitch up the side:

Cross Body Tote Bag - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Turn it right side out and press it so that the seam is centered like this:

Cross Body Tote Bag - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

That seam will be the BACK of your ruffle.

Now, run a basting stitch up the ruffle. I did two-you can do either one or two. (If you are new to ruffling, here is a tutorial to help you.)

Leave your threads hanging at the end. Grab the top two and gently pull and slide your fabric along it to ruffle the fabric:

Cross Body Tote Bag - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Ruffle it to your desired ruffle amount (I just did a little, nothing too fancy) and then pin it in place on the outside of one of your main pieces. Sew a straight stitch right up the middle. You should have some hanging over at the top and the bottom. Just let it hang for now.

Cross Body Tote Bag - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

So pretty right?!

OK, time to assemble the bag.

Grab your two main pieces and place them together with right sides touching. Sew around the side, then the bottom and then the other side. Your ruffle will be hanging out the bottom. You can snip off the excess once you’ve sewn this step:

Cross Body Tote Bag - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Now, I added box corners to mine to make it a little roomier inside. This is how.

Take one of the corners of your bag and turn and pinch the fabric so that it ends up looking like this:

Cross Body Tote Bag - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Here’s a view of the whole bag so that you can see, a little better, what I mean:

Cross Body Tote Bag - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Then, sew a straight line along that part to form a triangle tip. Snip off the tip of the triangle:

Cross Body Tote Bag - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Cross Body Tote Bag - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

And that’s it! Do that to the other corner.

Then do all of this to your inner pieces as well. Sew them together and make the box corners.

Now, turn your INNER pieces right side out and slide them down into your main pieces (which are still inside out):

Cross Body Tote Bag - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Grab your strap and insert it between the two layers of fabric so that the ends are sticking out like this:

Cross Body Tote Bag - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

And the strap itself is nestled down inside the bag between the two layers like this:
(Make sure it is NOT twisted inside though.)

Cross Body Tote Bag - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Pin all the way around the top making sure to match up the top of the bag evenly:

Cross Body Tote Bag - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

And sew all the way around the top leaving a small (about 4-5 inches) opening in one spot (not where the straps are) to turn it. Then, reach through that opening and start to pull the inside out and turn it right side out:

Cross Body Tote Bag - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

You’ll need to do some nice pressing and straightening now to get it all to lay flat. In particular, press the top well to make sure that the fabrics line up evenly and that you get your opening closed. Then, top stitch all the way around the top. This will sew that opening closed AND make your bag look pretty.

Then, if you want to add a flower, you can use this flower tutorial.
Create your flower and then hand stitch it on and enjoy!

Cross Body Tote Bag - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Now, let me tell you what I would LOVE. I’d love it if you would join me for my Sew Crazy Monthly Challenge series that I have going this year. A monthly theme, projects to be sewn and prizes to be WON! (You could win a sewing machine or serger this month! AND $100 to The Ribbon Reatreat!) Find out all about it here:

Sew Crazy Monthly Challenge with Crazy Little Projects

Thank you Amber! I am in love with this tote bag and more in love with the flower and ruffle! I am a fan of embellishments and anything that adds a little flair! Your fabric choices are beyond FABulous, and I so excited to make one for myself. Thank you again Amber! You are amazing and so very talented.
For more sewing inspiration, recipes that will make your tummy growl and the funnest ideas to do with your kiddos, take a stroll over to Crazy Little Projects. Amber is truly a very talented, TALENTED lady!

Can you believe the brilliance behind the bags this month? I am so excited to be featuring all of these amazing bags and can’t wait to get started on sewing one of each for my own. My bag collection is sure growing rapidly…I might just have to start giving some of my older ones away to make room for all of my new ones I will be making very soon! Do you love bags too? Check out our other fun and FABulous bag tutorials.

If you are ready to make a bag of your own, stop by and pick out your favorite fabric. We now have 25% off, 35% off and 45% off sections that are full to the brim with gorgeous, bright, trendy and fun fabric perfect for a bag. We also have all of the stabalizers, thread, zippers, hardware and sewing accessories right here for you to grab before you leave. Our one stop shop makes shopping for your bag supplies quick and worry free!

Are you a bag lady? Let’s spill our guts for a second…how many do you have? I promise I won’t tell…Bag ladies UNITE!!!!

Thanks for stopping by for another incredible bag! Come back tomorrow for our next bag project. Want a hint on what it is…it will really come in handy on a long trip or an overnight stay! Give up? I will tell you all about it tomorrow! Wink, Wink!

Happy Creating & Happy Bag Ladies!
Signature - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

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  1. Posted January 22, 2014 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Super cute!! Thank you!

    • Posted January 22, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Hi Ashley! You are so welcome! Thank you so much for your comment and for stopping by! I love the cute ruffle and flower in the front of this adorable bag! Have a great day! Michelle 🙂

  2. Brenda
    Posted January 24, 2014 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    This bag is SO cute!! Thank you!
    psst…over 40 bags here. 😉

    • Posted January 27, 2014 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      Hi Brenda! Thank you so much! I agree with you and can’t wait to make one! Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful day! Michelle 🙂

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