DIY: Easy Cotton Book Tote

Sometimes when you get discouraged by failed projects and difficulties you tend to put off trying it again - that's what happened to me the first time I made a bag. Granted, it was a bit complicated and certainly not in my skill level, but I was still disappointed. I put off sewing anything complicated for a while - I've been sewing just pouches for a long time - no, never a tote. But I came across this really simple tutorial and decided to make it (sans the bow).

I've wanted to make a cotton tote for the longest time - all the ones you can buy at craft stores have too short handles and are too.. squat. Add to the fact that they're canvas fabric (which I don't really have an issue against, but I love the feel of cotton more). 

So why don't you try your hand at making it? You can find the tutorial from Elm Street Life here. The only things I changed from is that I added an inch of strap length (making mine to a total of 24") and also made it a bit narrower. I really love how it turned out - so much so that I think I'm into sewing again. Maybe. I feel like making a few more totes!

The only thing left to do is decorate it - there's so many ways to do that! You can apply HTV, or a printable iron-on, paint it, dye it, screenprint it - so many options I'm not even kidding. I've thought long and hard what I want to put on it - since it's my first tote in a very long time that turned out neat-looking. I eventually decided on this quote you see above since I do love that quote. I was thinking either that, or 'Will Work For Bacon'.... but I've got so many funny pouches I decided against the bacon phrase.

It's easy to design and make your own quote layout - just play around with the words! If not, there are a lot of ready-made quotes online that you can download or purchase. 

Here's another photo because I'm in-love with my new tote. so love Heat Transfer Vinyl. It makes everything I make look professional even though I am not. Anyhow, this would be a perfect gift for a teacher, or a bookaholic like myself. 

What are your favorite quotes/phrases to put on a tote? Hit me with your answers - I would love to know! 


  1. As a book lover I love this diy :)

    1. Thank you! I love books so much as well, though I don't get to read as often as I want these days.


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