30 Minute Book Bag

School is back in session, and if you need a cute book bag or tote, you can whip one up in less than 30 minutes with whatever fabric you want! You can customize it with paint afterwards, as well… so many options once you know how to stitch up your own book bag tote! You don’t need any fancy closures or supplies… all you need is fabric, something to cut it with, and your sewing machine!

30 Minute Book Bag

Start by cutting your fabric:

cut fabricI put my fabric with the selvedge on the left and the fold on the right. The top left piece is 15″ tall by 13″ wide. The bottom strip is 5″ tall by the entire width of the fabric. The top right piece is a scrap. You can trim it down and use it to add a pocket to your tote if you want.

press flat

Fold the long strip in half with the right sides together to make a long and very skinny strip. Stitch down the side using a 1/4″ seam. Turn the tube right side out and press flat.

Fold the top (short) end of one of the large rectangles over 1/2 inch, then again. Press flat. Repeat with the second rectangle. Stitch down.

On the handle, stitch in 1/4″ from each side to add decorative topstitching.


Put the two rectangles right sides together and stitch all the way  around the other three sides.

mark down cornersFold open one of the corners so that the seam is up. Draw a line 2″ from the corner and pin to secure. Repeat with the other side. Stitch on each line. You can trim off the excess fabric on these corners, or just leave it.

pin on handlesCut the long strip in half, and pin in place. Trim as needed to shorten the handles, then re-pin. You can eyeball the placement or measure 2″ in from each side.

Finished StitchingStitch the handles down, then turn the bag right side out, and you’re all set!



  1. Can you tell me the width of your fabric please. I’d like to try & make this.

  2. I didn’t get the strap part, did you cut the long strap in half to get the two shorter straps? Since there is a strap on each side of the bag.

  3. TIna Foster says

    I am a little late to the party, but cute bag. Could you tell me how much fabric you started with, one yard? Thanks.

  4. Carolina I just discovered this pattern and will attempt to make it. I am a beginner at sewing. Could you tell me how much fabric is pictured above? Is it half a yard?

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