Pleated Tote Tutorial

Should I call this a Make it Monday post? Anyone who has read this blog for a long time might remember that I posted tutorials regularly on Mondays. How did I have time to do that? Anyway, here’s the tutorial for the simple pleated tote that I posted about a couple of weeks ago. Just click on the .pdf file below to print the instructions.

Note that the instructions guide you to sew two rows of topstitching on the bag, which I did the first time around, but not on the bags pictured here. So I’ll leave the topstitching decision up to you. Also, the instructions don’t include any pockets or snaps, but feel free to add whatever you’d like. Here I made the bags with my Stamped collection in the pastel on charcoal cheater print and the purple ginkgo leaves. See my previous post for fabric availability.

89 comments to Pleated Tote Tutorial

  • Thank you so much for sharing! I just found your tutorial on Pinterest!

  • Thank you for sharing this tutorial. I think it is a great pattern, so have linked to it on my blog –

  • Thanks for the great pattern! I am working on making it now!! Loving it πŸ™‚

  • Fantastic ideas!!! Tks

  • Susan

    I just made this bag last night, it was a great pattern. I love how it turned out. Thank you!

  • Carole B

    I love this look! I’m hoping I can find some of your fabric, which I just discovered. Thank you for sharing!

  • Jean

    I Love this bag, I`m going to make it. please add me to your web site . I would love to get mail back from you, Thanks

  • Thanks so much! The instructions are very good and clear. I’m not an experienced sewist, but it was quite easy to follow and I’m pleased with the result
    Here is my tote. Thanks again

  • Julie

    This is just what I was looking for! I found a junior sized tunic in a lovely houndstooth print that I wanted to upcycle into a tote. Can’t wait to get started.

  • cindy

    Thank you so very much for the pattern. you are the best. I will be making this as soon as I get home from camping. love this bag.

  • Thank u so much for sharing I can’t wait to try this!

  • Sandi

    I can’t wait to make this!, thank you for the pattern.

  • This bag is wonderful! I made one this weekend and am starting another one next week. I posted a pic on my blog and a link back to your awesome tutorial. Thank you for sharing! Here’s the link…

  • Martha

    I love this bag! The instructions are very clear and it turns out perfect. I have made 7 so far–adding and changing to make them unique. I’ve been asked if I sell them and couldn’t find anywhere that said not to. Still, I would like to know if that is ok?

  • Abby

    I love this bag. I made myself one and everyone loved it so I made them for my mum and sister earlier this year. When it came time to make a secret Santa gift for my embroidery group I knew your bag would be great. I did a black work design on the band (to acomadate the rule that you must incorporate one of our workshops in the Santa gift) and was so happy with the way it turned out.
    As the youngest in our group including very accomplished fibre artists and embroiderers who have mostly been doing needle work longer than I’ve been alive or even twice as long, it was so nice to have them fawn over my bag. They all asked for the pattern so I dutifully forwarded your blog post to them and we may even make your bag at one of our workshops next year.
    Thank you for making me look good.

  • I’ve already made this once and am making another one. THANK YOU for this. It’s fantastic.

  • kathy

    what are the finished dimensions of this tote? Thanks!

  • Joanna

    This is a fabulous bag and an easy pattern to follow. I have made one. I will defintiely be making more.
    Is there an embargo in selling these? If you were credited, would that be okay?
    Thank you,

  • Lucinda

    Thanks so much for sharing! I’m anxious to give it a whirl!

  • Linda Froggie

    What a cute bag! I am addicted to making bags.

  • Theresa

    Thank you, it turned out beautifully πŸ™‚

  • Teya

    I love the bags and the fabrics! So pretty! I’m dying to make one…except I can’t for the life of me figure out how to sew the strap on. It’s not the tutorial, it’s me! I’m not a very experienced crafter and English is not my first language. I know I should be able to figure this out, but I can’t!

    Would someone please please be so kind as to explain Step 8 to me like I was a dummy – because I am.

    Again, the tutorial is great. I’m the problem here πŸ™‚

  • Shubha

    Great tutorial….Can we add zip and pockets …?

  • Lisa

    Thanks for the tutorial! Just finished my bag yesterday. It turned out simply lovely! I added two pockets, one with zipper to the lining.

  • Thanks for the detailed instructions! I am teaching myself how to sew again after 30+ years! I thought you might like to know that I pinned your blog post. You also might like to know about a vintage fabric giveaway I’m hosting on my blog:

  • Becky Headrick

    I made this and LOVE it!! Thanks for the pattern and easy to follow instructions!!

  • Lian


    Great pattern but the instructions to make the handles I found a little bit confusing can you please explain this part in a bit more detail?

  • Susan

    Hi, I am so excited to making one! One problem, I’m stuck with step #2 because I read is confusing and I have a trouble understand.

    After fold the long raw edges 1/2, then I’m confused about fold the entire strap piece in half lengthwise, what’s that mean? It doesn’t say how much fold on?

    Then fuse the fleece piece to the inside of folded piece and tucked under a fold…I’m lost! Can you help and give me a clarify? Thanks!

  • Dee Dee Driver - Tangent, Oregon USA

    Thank you for the pleated purse tutorial. Love the look of the finished purse.

  • why do you use fusible Fleece in the bag….?? Will any fusible work?

  • Joan Hogan

    I loved making this bag.

    Quick way to make handles

    When I make my handles I sew down the long side and across the bottom then turn it inside out and cut of the seam at the bottom then thread the wadding up through with a pin (like with elastic)

  • Omoyeni

    Your instructions were very precise and simple to understand.
    Will sure give it a try and post you a pix …

    Thank you.

  • Joanne

    Sorry. I can’t read instructions they are printed too small. What can I do? I have old eyes.

  • Joanne, did you click on it? If you click on it it’ll open up the pdf file larger so you can see it better.

  • Heather

    Hi! I just wanted to thank you for this great tutorial. I made two really nice bags with it. As a beginner-level sewer, I just wanted to offer two things that would make the tutorial just a titch clearer – first, if you showed a drawing of how to attach the straps to the bag (step 8) that would be really helpful, and then if you could specifically say to tuck the straps IN BETWEEN the outer bag and the lining in step 9, that is helpful too. I had to ask for help on these points as I wasn’t sure I was doing them correctly. I am not writing this to criticize your lovely and very generous tutorial but rather to share what things were confusing to this beginner in case it would be of help in future pattern writing. Thanks again!!

  • Hello, thank you for this tutorial.
    Here’s the result:

    Kisses from Paris, France πŸ™‚

  • Cherri

    adorable bag, thanks for the pattern. I added pockets inside

  • Jenny Bird

    Adored making this bag – it was my first ever sewing project and I’m really pleased with how it turned out πŸ™‚

  • I just cut out this cute Pleated Tote pattern However it is soooo much smaller than the picture shown. Any body have any answers

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