I think I am finally getting the hang of actually writing handbag patterns! I don’t think it comes to me easily, but this one did and I am so excited to share it with you!!  I have a ton more pattern ideas in my head, so hopefully over time I can share a few more here on the blog. The others I’ll sell in my shop HERE.   Today though, I’d like to share with you my new tutorial!

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Tie-Block Tote

I hope you enjoy the free tutorial! Click name above to download PDF file! *Updated*

Recipe: *Updated*

Use a 1/2 SA unless otherwise stated. *You will have leftover fabric*


1 1/2 yd solid fabric (home decor, linen or quilting cotton is fine)

—–>   (Cut 2)  3″W x 29″L  —– (Cut 2) 5″W x 10″L

1 yard print

—–>   (Cut 4) 4″W x 10″L   —– (Cut 1) 11″W x 10″L —– (Cut 2) 4W” x 29″L  * 2 Straps*


1 1/2 yd fabric of choice

—–> (Cut 1)  15″W x 39″ L  —–  (Cut 4) 4″W x 18″L (Ties)


1 yd fabric of choice

*I used the exterior print on one side and interior solid on the other* But you can use a secondary print if you want.

Secondary Fabric *For 2 remaining straps*:

1/2 yd fabric of choice —–  (Cut 2) 4″W x 29″L


2 1/2 yards – SF101

1  yard – Fusible Fleece

** The downloadable PDF file has the measurements in a convenient chart **



  1. Using your choice of pattern paper or make your pattern pieces.
  2. Cut out all exterior, interior, tie and handle pieces using the measurements shown above.

Fusing Fabrics

Interface your SF101 to:

  1. All exterior Pieces
  2. The 2 front handles only
  3. 2 sides to ties only

Interface your Fusible Fleece:

  1.  Interior fabric
  2. 2 Pocket pieces (optional)
  3. If you would like more stable straps, a thin piece of FF may be applied to one side of each strap.  I used linen for my straps, so SF101 made them plenty sturdy!

Part I :  Assemble Exterior Block


1. After cutting and fusing your interfacing to all pattern pieces, I found it easier to lay out my  exterior pieces on a cutting mat like you see above.

2. Once you have your pattern set up, let’s start assembling the block!

3. See Below: Take your left A print and pin it down over solid B. (right sides together). Pin, then stitch 1/2” along left long edge, backstitching to secure at end. Open and press seam towards center.

4. Repeat for the other A print. It should now look like you see here:


5. Take remaining A & B block fabrics and complete steps 3 and 4 again.  Press.

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6. Let’s attach the center to complete our block!  Take your center piece “C” and place right side A/B block over it **Right sides together!**  Stitch together along right long end, backstitching at ends. Turn over and press both seams towards the A/B block.

Repeat this step for the other piece.  Once you have stitched all three blocks together, turn over and press one more time to set stitches.

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Optional (But it looks super cute!!), topstitch 1/8” inside the solid areas like you see here. I used a contrasting color so it shows better. You may also want to change your stitch length to a 4 or 5 to show the stitch more as an accent.  Repeat this for the other side. Clip threads.

Almost Done with Exterior!!

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7. Moving your center panel to the vertical position, you will take each long panel D and E and with right sides together, pin them on top of the long ends of your main center panel (See above).

8. Stitch down the far right side. Repeat on the other far left side.

9. Remove pins,  then press seams to the outside.

10. Using the same technique as you did in no.6, you can topstitch 1/8” on the solid fabric for an accent.

11. When done, press to set seams and topstitching. Set aside and get out your 4 tie strips and 4 handle strips.

Make the Handles & Ties!

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  1. Take out your four strap pieces. You should have 2 different colors here (although that’s up to you!!) Take 2 pieces and with right sides together, stitch 1/2” on both long sides ONLY.
  2. Repeat for other strap.
  3. Turn both strips right side out and press well.
  4. Topstitch 1/8” on each side to finish. ( I like to double stitch on each side – looks really polished!)

*NOTE*  There are so many ways to construct straps and ties.  This is the method I used for this tutorial.  Feel free to use the technique you prefer, just make sure finished width is 3” for both straps and ties.

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  1. Take 2 tie strips out and on the bottom of them, fold and mark the center with marking chalk, connect each top corner with the center bottom with a chalk line.
  2. If you want it a bit curvier, round out the bottom half a bit until you get the look you desire.
  3. Pin right (unmarked) sides together and stitch along your curved long side, stopping 1/4” from end. Lift presser foot and pivot fabric so you can stitch down the other end. Backstitch at end.  Clip curves and turn right side out. Press and topstitch. Set Aside.

Assemble the Interior

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  1. With other materials set side, get out your long interior interfaced piece.  If you want to add pockets or labels into your bag do so now. (not in tutorial).
  2. Fold your interior piece in half, right sides together. Press well, then pin each long side. Stitch both long sides, making sure you backstitch at each end.
  3. **  Leave a 5” opening on one side to turn out. **
  4. Press seams open. You may have to clip a small piece of the bottom corner to open the seam. Now you should have an exterior finished piece and an interior one finished like you see above.

 Box Your Corners


  1. Open bag up a bit to match the side seam with the bottom (pressed) seam to create a point. Pin together.  It will be 3” x 3” like you see above.
  2. You should see the stitch mark from your exterior bag when boxing your exterior section. (If sewn correctly, your bag bottom will only show bottom fabric while your side fabric will only be shown on the side!)
  3. Repeat Step 1 for both interior and exterior bags. I like to reinforce the stitching here, so stitch 2 or three times if you’d prefer. Cut off leftover fabric, leaving 3/8” remaining.
  4. Turn both bags right side out.

Attach Ties & Handles

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  1. Take one tie and place it in the middle front of each exterior side. It should match close to perfect with the exterior middle panel piece. If it’s a bit off, no worries! Just center it with the center exterior piece. Pin in place, leaving 1/2” of tie top hanging over edge. Repeat for other side..
  2. Take handles (contrasting color side) facing right side of exterior bag. These should match up with the fabric panels on bag exterior. Pin in place, leaving 1/2” hanging over edge. Repeat for other side of bag.
  3. Once handles and ties are pinned to both sides of bag, you will want to do a basting stitch about 1/8” from the edge to secure everything in place. Remove pins and check to make sure ties and handles are straight.

Assemble Bag


  1. Turn Interior bag wrong side out, while you leave the exterior bag right side out. Place exterior bag INSIDE of interior bag as seen above.
  2. Pin in place, making sure side seams, ties and handles match up. Stitch around whole bag top. If you find this area too bulky after you’ve sewn it together, trim down some of the fusible fleece. Be careful not to trim to close to seam, just enough to reduce some bulk if you want.
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  4.  Turn the bag right side out using the 5” opening you left on the side of one of the interior bag.
  5. When you are finished, make sure top edges, ties and handles are matched up and that boxed corners are pushed out.
  6. Press to set seams and remove any wrinkles. I use a little Best Press for this step. 

 Close Your Seam


  1. To close your inside opening, I strongly suggest a nice blindstitch in coordinating thread.
  2.  NOTE: In my demo bag, I had my turning hole between handles on the bag top. I used a fusible hemming tape and topstitching to close.

Styling Your Handles

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With 3” handles on your bag right now you have a decision to make:  Leave them as-is, or narrow them to suit your comfort level.  Here’s how to style them:

Measure handles

  1. With a measuring tape, measure handle end-to-end. Mark center with chalk/disappearing pen. Repeat with other handle.
  2. Use middle point to decide how far down the strap you want to fold. ( I measured 6” on each side of the mark)
  3. Mark again where your stopping point will be on both sides. Clip in place. ( I use small Office Max clips!)

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Sew folds

  1. Very carefully, Start your stitching OVER the already existing stitching on one long side. Then pivot, stitching down the next side.  Repeat this until your folded strap is secured all on four sides.
  2. I repeat this step again 1/8” INSIDE the box I just created. It looks really nice and makes it a bit secure.
  3. Complete step 1 and 2 with other handle.
  4. Now, give your new bag a good press and starch and you’re good to go!

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Copyright © Raspberry Sunshine 2013

Congrats!!!   You now have a cute new tote to carry around town!

Have any questions? Please feel free to e-mail me:  [email protected]

Have you finished your bag? Want to share it with the blogosphere? Upload it to the Raspberry Sunshine Flickr group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/raspberrysunshine  I’d love to see your finished bag and suggestions!

This free tutorial created by Raspberry Sunshine is for personal use only. Please feel free to share this tutorial, but make sure you link back to this tutorial page.



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  1. Hi Cindy, I can’t see any of the picture in the is post. I’m not sure what the heck is going on, but i came back after a couple of day to see if it hand changed and I still can’t see them 🙁 Can anyone else see them or is it just me?

  2. I can’t see any pictures either, but I love the pattern, I am in a secret tote swap right now, and I said I love yours if they don’t make it for me I will make one for myself, so cute. Thanks for the free pattern.

    1. Hey Mara 🙂 Were you able to download the PDF file? It seems to be something with WordPress, so I’m working on it right now. I have the main picture up and the file, so if you have a chance could you let me know if either work. Thanks! Cindy

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