DIY bags

tutorial: basic rectangular tote

What? Another tutorial? Yes, another tutorial because I felt rather guilty about the previous one. It lacked the typical number of photos I include in my standard craft/sewing tutorials and simply didn’t look right. So here we are. This one is for a very easy DIY bag.

(Disclaimer: I am sure you’ve read and seen tutorials like this before. There is nothing new here, to be honest. But I took photos, had the pieces for the bag ready, and felt like making a bag tutorial. For a change.)

Rectangle shape + dots =


Dotted fabric for outer part of bag (top 12″ x bottom 14″ x sides 16″), lining in checkered pattern (top 12″ x bottom 14″ x sides 16″), short dotted strip for pockets (14″ x 6″), long dotted strip for straps (3″ x 18″)

Cut two of each piece, not including the short strip. Don’t forget allowances.

You will also need zipper that will fit the opening of your bag (i.e. a little over 12″).


1. Sew your straps. Turn inside out and top stitch.


the bag that is this and that and can carry a lot

Background info: This flying off somewhere once a month business has got me converted to easy-breezy traveling. Trolleys are inherently fun because wheels are, well, fun but I want to be the epitome of traveling light. I want to be known as Meream, She Who Travels Light.

We have a carry-on bag that is perfect for this streamlined journey goals. However, it just so happened that the boyfriend went to Manila that same weekend I went away on a holiday (see last post) and he got dibs on the bag. After a bit of brain-whirring and receipt-drawing, I came up with an adequate design for a weekender bag. Too bad I didn’t have enough time to finish it before my trip.

So I returned with one goal in mind: finish that darn weekender.

The Weekender  Bag

it has enough space for my Bamboo tablet so yes, it passed the ultimate test

This bag is also known as the Mammary Bag:

alternate name needs no explanation, i suppose

But wait, it can also be called the Upside-Down Bag!

the print of the bag is upside-down because i am lame like that

Shame about the print, really, because the design is wonderfully vintage and crafty.

I console myself with the unfortunate fact that people hardly read these days. And that the size (AND WEIGHT!) of the bag is perfect.

stud and chains

Metal is darn expensive. That man Hank Rearden was obviously on to something when he built his business around it. But let’s not discuss Ayn Rand because I have become rusty, books-wise.

What I’m trying to say is I have officially made a bag with materials more expensive than what I’d usually be willing to pay for. And yes, the metal materials* were the costly parts.

For months now, I have been wanting to own a chain strap bag. I am aware that they are wildly trendy so I resolved to making my own. I don’t exactly want to have a bag that looks like any other chain and quilted Chanel knock-off girls are carrying around these days. I also did not like the idea of buying some knock-off that costs more than the value of two brand new novels**.

Little did I know that the materials of the bag I was planning to make will be expensive, as far as going DIY goes. Oh well. The important thing is I love, LOVE my bag.

In a totally related note, there is something about the way I arranged the studs that reminds me of a cat smiling. Or a, uh…person’s behind?

*Chain was originally a necklace. Hence, the not so very friendly price tag.

And one stud costs more than a peso. Who knew?

**This is how I measure if something at the mall is worth buying.