How to sew a ruffle tote bag

My youngest daughter loves all types of “things” with handles.

Baskets. Purses. Totes.

So when her dolls and doll clothing overtook the house a couple of years ago, I realized that if I could contain them to a tote, my house would be much neater.

Sew a ruffle tote bag by and Birdsong

I’ve taught many sewists how to sew a ruffle tote bag through my “paid” tutorial in my Etsy shop for a couple of years, but decided it’s time to give it to my fabulous readers.

I’m sharing this now-free PDF downloadable tutorial so you can sew a ruffle tote bag.

If you’re a confident beginner or an intermediate sewist with a decent machine, this project will be easy for you! It uses a stiff fusible so you (and your machine) will need to be prepared for that.

how to sew a ruffle tote by

There are a couple of different styles to chose from, too! Make it with handles for your little one to carry, or sew a ruffle tote bag that can be used in a nursery to store diapers and other supplies.

Handy interior pockets will keep everything organized!

So tell me – does your little one leave a trail of dolls and doll clothes and shoes from room to room?

How do you handle the clutter?

And….if you plan to sew this ruffle tote bag, please share with me how you’ll use it! I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. SEE BELOW FOR THE WINNER. If you comment (below) about how you plan to use this tote once you sew it up, I’ll enter you in a drawing to win a copy of my other basket tutorial, the Halloween/Easter basket pattern! It’s another fun pattern that you’ll love sewing for any season. Please comment by 5 p.m. U.S. Pacific time on Monday, June 2 to be entered in the drawing.

The winner was Alissa! Congratulations!

Screenshot 2014-06-04 at 5.15.47 PM

Looking forward to hearing from you! :)

Deanna McCool writes for To make sure you don’t miss a tutorial, please follow SewMcCool by e-mail (the link is at the top of the right-hand column) or join me on BlogLovin’ – the button is just below the e-mail feed box! :)



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  1. says

    I’m considering to make this for my bathroom shelves, pantry, and laundry room open shelves. Nothing beats having your favorite colors/patterns/styles in your own home!

  2. Marina says

    It will make great storage baskets for my 2 year old room. And she loves to carry her toys around, so it will be perfect.

  3. Mary says

    I want to make one as a tote for my laptop and my Kindle. I have not been able to find a bag to carry them in that I like that they will fit into. I also need a bag to carry my current sewing project. I also love someone else’s idea of using it for baskets for storage in the bathrooms and bedrooms.

  4. S says

    I would love to make a couple of these for my granddaughters! I think they would love them for carrying all the little trinkets they always seem to have with them.

  5. Linda Steaples says

    Oh boy I have 2 granddaughters that also LOVE things with straps they are 2 & 3 next week so these would make perfect gifts for both of them…. thanks so much for sharing !!!!! Granny Linda

  6. Judi Duncan says

    I am going to make a couple of these for my sewing room…I like to segregate my buttons from elastics from my binding and piping from my zippers etc. I pick up fabric baskets from time to time at the store, but none of them coordinate so I may make a few of these! Thank you for such a cute pattern….

  7. sandra says

    This is going in my sewing room. perfect for patterns and scrap fabric. I should make several!! lol :)

  8. Barbara Bradford says

    I love the fabrics you chose. I have all little boys to sew for, so was trying to picture a change to the ruffle…. keeping the monkey fabric….

  9. Auntiepatch says

    I need to make one to carry “stuff” from one room to another. Laundry and craft supplies come to mind, along with sewing repairs.

  10. Cindy Dahlgren says

    I have so many ideas for how to use this bag! I’m most definitely making one for my granddaughters dolls and clothes at my house, maybe one for her house too. I think it would be a much more stylish way to stow my scraps until I cut them up, so I’ll need one on my cutting table. I think I need one by my husbands chair to stow his sewing and knitting stuff, and one by my chair for my counted cross stitch stuff. I’ll stop here for now.

  11. Gail says

    I would use this tote for work-in progress bag to keep my project and supplies in together and neat. Very nice!

  12. Darcy says

    I will make this for my granddaughter to carry all her goodies!!! Thank you!!
    I too, love the monkey pattern….how adorable!


  1. […] Deanna from Sew McCool and Birdsong Patterns shows how you can make a pretty ruffled tote bag.  It’s a rectangular tote with stiff sides and a full ruffle sewn around the top.  It’s a good sized bag, measuring 13″ wide x 9″ tall x 5″ deep when finished.  Pockets on the inside are a good place to hold smaller items. In addition to carrying it as a tote, she suggests using it as a storage basket around your house.  Go to Sew McCool to download the tutorial. […]

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