Friday, 12 October 2012

Simple Panda Tote Bag - DIY Tutorial

I've always had a love of pandas and penguins, so I knew that the next tote bag I made had to be panda or penguin related; panda seemed easier as there are only 2 colours, so that's what I opted for

Calico/white fabric:
2 x Main body parts. 50cm x 34cm
1 x Strap. 10cm x 115cm (which would be cut in half).
2 x Liner for top of bag. 34cm x 12cm (can be anything over 12m)
2 x U-shaped for ears (slightly smaller than black jersey version)

Black jersey
4 x U-shaped for ears.
2 x Eyes shape

White jersey
2 x inner eyes shape

Sewing machine
Pinking Shears (optional)
Iron/ironing board

Put 2 of the U-shaped black jersey cutouts together. Sew around the U-edge, about 0.5cm from the edge. Turn inside out, then you have one ear.

Repeat for 2nd ear

Take one of the main body parts. Measure 14cm to the right of top left corner, and 22cm down from the top left corner. Cut this triangle out. Do the same for the right side of the fabric (it'll be symmetrical)
From the top of the main body, measure 17cm down the hypotenuse (the line you just cut). This should be where the top of your ears sit.

Place your ears (right side by right side) in the position as described, and then sew all three bits together. (Main body, ears, and the triangle you just cut out).
Repeat for other side.

For this, I used a blanket stitch for the black jersey, and then I used the sewing machine to sew on the white eyes. You can use either method, but the blanket stitch will give the eyes a fuzzy look (and I thought the sewing machine would have less control, but if you go slow enough it should be fine).

For the mouth, i just drew it on with pencil and then ran over it with the sewing machine

Fold the strap piece in half (width wise). (ie it goes from 10cmx115cm to 5cmx115cm).
Open up, and fold into quarters. (Pressing with the iron after each fold would make it easier).
You'll now have no mucky edges, so you can do a straight stitch a few mm away from the side down both sides (length ways). Then you can cut it in half, and you'll have 2 straps. (2.5cx57.5cm)

This bit is optional, but I think it makes the inside of the bag less messy. You can skip this if you wish, and sew handles directly onto the main body of the bag.
Take the liners, and tidy the long edges by folding it down by 0.5cm and 1.5cm, and then straight stitch a few mm by the side.

Attach the straps 7cm from the edge, and sew the strap on with a square and a cross in the middle (extra strength to hold stuff in your bag properly). Remember to keep the mucky sides together, as the point of the liner is to make it more pretty.

Repeat for other liner.

Pin the liner to the main body (wrong side to wrong side). Straight stitch across the top, making sure the handles come out at the right place and is perpendicular to the bag
Repeat for other side.

Pin both main body pieces together, right to right side. I found at this point it was useful to pin the ears away from the edge of the main body piece, for piece of mind.
I used pinking shears when cutting the fabric, so I didn't finish the edge properly (as I don't have an overlocker). If you don't have pinking shears, you can use a zig zag stitch.
Then simply sew around the edge, and flip over.

This is my first tutorial, so please comment and let me know how I'm doing. I can verify any bits that didn't make sense.


  1. I haven't visited you in ages - how are you?
    Liska x

    1. Hiya. my blogging started off with a little boop, and now its just flatlined. lol. I've been good; 34 weeks pregnant now. Just find myself on babycenter and netmums more :D

  2. This is so cute! I'm gonna link it to my teenage sis, I reckon she'd love to have a go :)