TOMS Tote Bag

I’ve gone through quite a few pairs of TOMS shoes, so I’ve got quite a few of these canvas drawstring bags hanging out. I don’t use them for anything, but I’ve saved them with the intent on figuring out some kind of crafty use. Finally, here is my first project! A super easy lined tote with pockets.

The fusible interface is, I think, very necessary in making a durable tote. The TOMS sack on its own is very limp. The inner liner isn’t that hard to do and ultimately makes it look much nicer and last longer.

These instructions are easy to alter based on how big you want your tote, strap length, and how many pockets (if any) you want. Of course, you don’t even need a TOMS bag to make this tote. Replace it with any other fabric you want!

Let’s get started!

You Will Need
1 TOMS drawstring bag
(4) 4″x13″ pieces of fabric for the sides of tote
(1) 4″x6″ piece of fabric for the pocket
(?) any extra fabric for more pockets
(2) 4″x21″ pieces of fabric for the straps (or longer if you want)
(2) 13″ x 15″ pieces of fabric for the liner
(2) 13″ x 15″ pieces of fusible interfacing
(1) 4″x6″ piece of interfacing (optional if you want a lined big pocket)

*all seam allowances are 1/4 inch

*Here is your fusible interfacing. It has little adhesive dots on one side and is plain on the other. You can get it in the notions section of your fabric/craft store. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use it.

Outer Shell
First let’s cut up our TOMS sack. You’ll need to cut around all 4 edges of the sack to remove the grommets, fold, and draw string. The final two pieces of fabric should be about 13″ x 9.5″. Trim accordingly. The photo above shows all the edges cut off of the sack.

Place right sides of 4″x13″ fabric against right side of TOMS sack. Sew.
Press open the seams.

Fortify them with your stitch of choice. Here are some options.

Now place the right sides of these pieces together. Pin them.

Create a 1 3/4″ square on the bottom left and right.

Cut out the square. Sew the sides and bottoms up to a little over 1/4″ to the edge.

Squeeze the square together. I’ve taken a ton of pictures for you. Much easier to see than explain this part!

Press the seams open when you sew over them as seen above. This will help them to lay flat.

Magic! You’ve got a nice boxed corner now!

But wait, our bag is limp and sad. Look at how it crumples. We’d better make that liner I told you about. But first, the pockets.

Using whatever fabric you have on hand cut out some pockets. I made three pockets total. One is 6″x8″, the other two are about 5″x4″. Cut them out based on what you feel like.
For unlined pockets fold the edges in and iron. Sew the top that will be the open end.

For lined pockets, cut out a piece of interfacing that matches its size, then fuse. Cut out another 6″x8″ (or matching size) piece of fabric. Place right side of both fabrics together. Sew three edges, turn right side out. Fold in and sew the top.

Fold both raw edges of the straps in about 1/4 inch, then iron. Fold the entire strap in half, then iron.

Edge stitch.

Tote Liner
Fuse the interfacing to the two 13″ x 15″ liner pieces. I had some uneven pieces. Trim them to be the exact same size. It’s fine if the inner shell is slightly smaller than the outer.

Draw the squares on either side like you did with the outer shell.

Pin the pockets onto the two pieces of fused fabric. Sew them on. Remember not to sew the tops.

Pin the pieces together and cut the squares out.
Sew up to the square.

Squeeze together.

Sew across.

This looks much better. Less crumpled for sure.

Putting It Together
Set the liner in the outer shell. Look how nicely it stands up!

Starting on one side where the seam is, fold the liner and outer shell in slightly, and pin together. Start working your way around.

Find where you want to put your strap and set it a little less than an inch in. Turn the fabric in like you have been doing, but make sure the strap stays sandwiched in. Pin.

Keep pinning all the way around.

Looks like I have a little excess here.

Just fold the fabric in on itself. No one will notice.

Stitch all around the top, backstitching on the areas where the straps are.

Misplaced Strap?
Ah! One of my straps got twisty. Not a big deal.

Rip the seam out just on the one side where the problem strap is.

Pull it out.

Straighten it, stick it back in.

Sew. All fixed!

Finishing Touches
Trim all hanging threads, apply fray check if desired, sew any decorative buttons on if you feel like it, and enjoy!


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6 Responses to TOMS Tote Bag

  1. LifeOfBun says:

    Cool idea! Don’t know if i’d be able to get it as neat though.. lol.

  2. Pingback: Main Ingredient Monday- Toms Bags

  3. Tabitha says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I have made several of these now and given them as gifts! Everyone loves them! Your directions are impeccable and spot on! Thank you a million times!!!

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