Sewing Tutorial : Tote Bag Using Faux Leather and Quilting Cotton

In this post, I will be sharing a tutorial for making this tote bag. It is a deep tote which fits A4 size notebook nice and neatly. Perfect for college or the trip to the library!


Sewing Tutorial|Tote Bag | Sewing with Faux Leather and Quilting Cotton | more tutorials on the blog


For this tutorial, I use a large fat quarter of dark brown faux leather (bought here) and 2 fat quarters of cotton fabric from Nordika collection by Jeni Baker for Art Gallery Fabrics.

Tote tutorial |faux leather | Free Sewing Tutorial | How to sew bag | College bag DIY


Faux leather : Measuring at least 27″ x 18″
2 Fat quarter of cotton fabrics
1 half yard of solid cotton fabric for lining

Light weight fusible interfacing

Leather Needle (I use Klasse’s Needle)

Matching thread
Paper clips or Clover Clips

Basting Spray or Craft Glue

One 8" zip for inner pocket

Walking Foot or Roller foot

Other regular sewing needs

Template download : Free Sewing Tutorial Template – Tote Bag  from The Little Mushroom Cap


Tips on working with Faux leather on your sewing machine:

  •  Reduce the foot pressure on your sewing machine
  • Use a walking foot or roller foot or teflon foot
  •  Increase stitch length
  •  Use leather needle
  • TEST on scraps first

 I have gone through several try and error and the above works very well in the end.


Sewing Tutorial How to sew a Faux Leather Panelled Tote Bag

Cutting direction

From the faux leather,
cut 4 pieces of 4″ x 17″ rectangles for outer bodice sides
cut 4 pieces of 2″ x  14″ strips for the straps
cut 4 pieces of hexagon as in template to appliqué at the end of the straps
From one of the cotton fat quarter and the interfacing,
cut 2 pieces of 8″ x 17″ for outer bodice center
cut 2 pieces of 2″ x 5″ for center of straps
(iron on the interfacing to the back of the fabric)
From another cotton fat quarter,
cut 1 piece of 4″ x 8″ for pocket
cut 1 piece of 14″ x 8″ for pocket
From solid lining,
cut 1 piece of 8″ x 8″ for pocket
cut 2 pieces of 4″ x 17″
cut 1 piece of 14.5″ x 17″
Tote tutorial _ faux leather _ nordika _ free tutorial_cutting corners
Cut the corners of the 4″ x 17″ faux leather pieces using the template (download the template in link below)

Free Sewing Tutorial Template Tote Bag The Little Mushroom Cap

front panel pieced
Sew the front panels together, and making sure the seams are open, top stitch the seam flat.
Tote tutorial _ faux leather _ nordika _ free tutorial_sew darts

Tote tutorial _ faux leather _ nordika _ free tutorial_ front panel

Sew the darts, reversing some stitches at the corner of each dart
strap making
Make the straps by sewing the 2″ strips together. Patching the 2″ x 5″ cotton strips in the middle of the 2″ x 14″ faux leather strips. Fold in 1/4″ seams from the side of the strips and fold the whole strips in half. Use paper clips or clover clips to keep this together while you top stitch. Top stitch both sides of the straps.
strap attach
Position the strap in the center of the seam of the two panels. The raw edge ends of the strap should be about 6″ from the top edge of the front panel. Sew on top of the strap’s topstitch and make a horizontal stitch at about 2″ from the top. (I did 1″ from the top but it makes it difficult later, so I suggest to measure at about 2″ from the top and stitch as the arrow shown in the image) 
combine_Tote tutorial _ faux leather _ nordika _ free tutorial_hexies3
Cut the hexagons from the faux leather using the templates provided. Baste the hexagon in place covering the raw edge of the straps. Top stitch the hexagon close to hexagon edges. Do reverse stitches at the beginning and the end to ensure the stitches stay in place
How to sew a bag | Tote tutorial | faux leather |free sewing tutorial
Put the two outer panels together and around the edges leaving the topside seams open. Darts can be sewn nested as shown in the small inset photo.
Now we shall put the outer bag aside, and work on the lining!
combine_Tote tutorial _ faux leather _ nordika _ free tutorial_pocket
Sew the zip to the 4″ x 8″ and 8″ x 14″ pieces by folding in 1/4 seams and topstitching. Take the 8″ x 8″ square solid lining piece and topstitch as in photo 3. Stitch the side panels together to the pocket panel
Tote tutorial _ faux leather _ nordika _ free tutorial_libning panel
You should now have a half side of pocket panel and another solid lining panel measuring 14.5″ x 17″. Trim to that size if necessary.
Tote tutorial _ faux leather _ nordika _ free tutorial_lining corner
Position the corner template
to the bottom corner of the two panels and cut the darts and corner.
Tote tutorial _ faux leather _ nordika _ free tutorial_lining 3
Sew the darts and sew the sides and the base together leaving 6″ opening at the base.
Tote tutorial _ faux leather _ nordika _ free -right side facing_stitch top
Place the outer bag inside the lining bag right side facing and sew the top seam together.
Tote tutorial _ faux leather _ nordika _ free tutorial_turn and close opening
Turn the bag right side out through the 6″ opening at the base. Fold the opening seams in, and topstitch matching thread to close.
Push the lining back inside, and top stitch the top part carefully moving slowly near the straps and you are done!
Enjoy your bag!
Tutorial tote bag using faux leather and quiting cotton_ how to sew faux leather_laid
I’d love to see your version, so be sure too add some photos to littlemushroomcap flickr group or tag me on Instagram!!
Bag Sewing tutorial

The Little Mushroom Cap


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