Gusseted Tote Bag tutorial…part 5

Your bag is almost complete! And it looks fantastic, doesn’t it? There are only a couple of things that we can add to finish it: a hard bottom and a closure. Neither of which you are required to do… you can take your bag now and call it done!

flower bag

Step 25: Give your gusseted bag form with a hard bottom.

Measure the depth and length of your bottom seams.

Hard bottom
Hard bottom

Step 26: Find a source of cardboard. Cut out two rectangles using the dimensions from Step 25.

Hard bottom
Hard bottom

Step 27: Paste the two pieces together.

Hard bottom

Step 28: Cut out two pieces of fabric to cover the cardboard piece. Sew these two pieces, right sides together. Leave one side open. Turn this sleeve right side out. Slip your cardboard bottom piece into the sleeve. Close the open end.

sew rectangle
bottom sleeve
(This is an example of the ever useful pillowcase method!)

Step 29: Glue the bottom piece into the bottom of the lining. I usually use hot glue.

hard bottom
There are other ways to attach the bottom piece to the lining. I have sewn a tube into the bottom seam and then slipped the cardboard into the tube. I have velcroed it to the bottom. I’m sure there are other ways to do it that I haven’t explored yet. Also, you don’t have to use cardboard, you can use heavy cardstock, plastic, wood, metal, or plexiglass… use whatever you have on hand that you can get into the required shape and dimensions. You can even buy premade hard bottom pieces.

Step 30: Closure…

Most of my bags have a button and loop closure. You sew a button onto the shell on one side of the bag, and a matching loop on the other side of the bag.

stripes out
stripes in

I have sewed them on many different ways but I almost always sew them on last… which means that you will see the knots inside the bag. I like to think it gives the bag a little more character… I am also lazy. You can make it look cleaner by sewing the button and loop onto the shell before you sew on the top seam. If you want magnetic closures, sew them onto the lining before you sew the top seam.

Closure indeed! That’s it for the Gusseted Bag Tutorial Series. I hope it has been helpful!


Mel B. left a great comment on Part 4 about another method she has learned… “You leave an opening at the bottom of the liner. Place the lining and shell together like you have, but before you put the the lining in, you place the handles inside the shell and pin the ends at the top of the bag (some excess overhangs)–then put the lining over them (into the shell)…top stitch around the top…then pull the shell and handles through.”

Yes, this is another great method. I forgot to mention in Part 4 that before you sew the shell to the lining, you can insert the handles between the two layers, with the handles going down toward the bottom of the bag and the ends at the top seam, and sew them on as you sew the top seam. You can do this whether you leave the hole in the bottom of the lining or leave it in the top seam. This is another very good pillowcase method, and the pillowcase method is generally awesome. You should definitely learn how to do this method because it is useful in so many applications.

Please let me know if you have any questions!


7 thoughts on “Gusseted Tote Bag tutorial…part 5

  1. hey, i know i’m a wuss, but what can i say, the thing gives me the begeebees. i am gonna give it a go, now that i’ve read your tutorial, but no guarantees…

  2. I have been sewing purses for awhile, but I never put a hard bottom in one. Thanks for sharing this awesome idea! I am working on a tote bag now and this will be perfect~I am so excited to try it! I use the pillowcase method, as you put it, to construct my purses….it is wonderful, I have to agree.

    I’m not sure how I came across your blog, but I have enjoyed it, and just subscribed through bloglines. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Bag Tutorial - alternate top seam method « Knitting Caboodle

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