I love reading books. Last year for a Christmas gift I told my sister that I wanted books. I didn’t care if it was new books, used books or books on kindle. I just wanted books. So she did. In our family siblings and spouses rotate as to who gives to who. I was lucky to that my sister Camalee had me because she has great taste in books.

My favorite books are  Sarah M. Eden’s books, Julianne Donaldson’s books, Emma and Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austin, Frozen in Time, Love Comes Softly and so many more. (No I am not paid to link these authors, just had fun doing it)

Anyways, back to the gift. Camalee did give me books and she made me a book bag. I loved it. I loved it so much I decided to make one myself. So I created my own pattern after hers and made my own tote. It was so much fun to make I made several more and gave them away.

If yo are new to sewing this is a great place to start. East straight lines, easy directions, great bag in the end.

So here we go.

The material that I like to use for the bags is what I call duck material. It is a little thicker than cotton but still quite flexible. I like to use three different colors for this project. I like to use a darker color for the bottom and the lining and strap I use the same color and the pocket I like to use the same material as the top piece of the outside. These are the measurements you will need.

Outer Top 2- 14 ½” wide 8 ¼” long

Outer Bottom  2-14 ½” wide 7 ¼” long, as you can see I have given a seam allowance of ¼ inch so once sewn together the outside will measure 14 ½” wide 15” long.

Lining  2-14 ½” wide 15” long

Straps  2-3”x 22 ½”  basically I cut 3” off of my 45” fabric. Hope that makes sense.

Pocket 2-5 ½” x 9” for this I either cut on a fold or if you are using scraps you can cut two pieces.


Now that all your pieces are cut lets sew!



The first thing we will start on is the pocket. Sew the pieces together leaving a two inch opening so that you can turn it right side out.  Make sure you snip at the corners so that the corners look sharp. Turn the pocket inside out. I usually hate ironing between steps but in this case I highly suggest ironing. Press all the way around making it nice and flat and be sure to fold in the part that was not sewn.





At this point we will attach the pocket to the lining. I place a straight pin in the middle of the pocket. Then I get out my handy dandy ruler. I want to put the pocket 2” from the top of the lining so I place the ruler along the top of the lining at the 2” mark and one side at zero and the other at the 14 ½”.



Now I can place the straight pin exactly in the middle. Pin pocket to the lining and sew the pocket on sewing the two sides and the bottom. Make sure to place the opening of the pocket at the bottom as you stitch it on you will close up the seam. I always back stitch at the top a couple of time to help secure it.

Now that the pocket is on I do one more seam down the middle. This seam does not have to be in the middle. Mine is off to one side to hold my phone securely. Place your middle seam where ever you would like.


Now that you have sewn on the pocket, take the two pieces of lining and sew around the two sides and bottom. Set aside for now.


Outer Pieces

Take the top and bottom of the outer pieces and sew them together. I press one seam to the bottom and the other seam towards the top. This way when I sew the pieces together the seams match up and lock. Sew both sides and bottom.

Outer Pieces/Lining

This is a fun little trick to help the bottom of the bag square up. You will do this to all four corners.

Pinch your corner together folding so that the seams touch.

Be sure to fold seam allowance in opposite directions so that yous seams lock. This is a little hard to explain so hopefully the pictures help.

   Check to see if the seams lock.


About 2” from corner make a straight line and sew. Again, please refer to the pictures. Cut.


Sew the straps and turn right side. My sister introduced me to this great tool for turning straps right-side out. A Loop Turner.  If you don’t have a Loop Turner a regular safety pin will do. Press straps with seams in the middle.




Now the exciting part. Turn both lining and the outer part inside out. Place the lining in the outer.

Pin seams together locking the seams. Pin the straps 2” from the seams.

Make sure the seam on the strap face the Lining.


Sew all the way around leaving  a two inch opening.

Turn the bag inside out through the opening.

Press making sure the seams at the opening are pressed down. Top stitch all the way around the top of the bag.


Job Well Done!

Great job! Wasn’t that fun? You now have a beautiful bag. I love this pattern. You can adjust the measurements to make the bag work for you. I personally keep a notebook with a lot of may patterns. This way I keep track of the measurements I like and what works for me.



Please follow and like us: