The Art Tote Tutorial

on February 20 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 10 Comments

Hayley from Welcome to the Mouse House is back with another great project! Today’s art tote features laminated cotton to make it both durable and easy to clean. We can’t wait to sew one up for the playroom, and we think it would also be a sweet Easter basket. Hayley has done lots of really popular tutorials here at Sew Mama Sew including the Sydney Pinafore and Kipper Capri Pants.

Hayley is also developing a great line of new patterns, available in her Etsy and Craftsy shops. Hayley’s latest Ladies Caroline Dress and Peplum Pattern is a classic, versatile design! Learn more at Welcome to the Mouse House and on Hayley’s Facebook page.

I was sent 1.5 yards of super awesome laminated cottons from Laminates and was told to create anything I want. I mulled over all of the amazing options in my head. Just recently, I had created two projects with laminated cottons that I loved, The Busy Blanket and The Rainy Day Umbrella.

I finally decided on an art tote that my kids could carry from place to place and fill up with all of their markers, pens, scissors, glue and creative goodies. I wanted it big enough to store it all but not cumbersome for them, and I came up with the perfect dimensions.

I am thinking this would also make a fantastic Easter basket or gift bag! Can you just imagine this filled with toys?

For this project, I used 1 yard of the polka dot fabric (with a bit to spare for maybe a Playdoh mat?) and 1/2 yard of the red chevron. How yummy are those colors?

Cutting Guide:
(Plus medium to heavy weight interfacing for all pieces.)

  • 2 Circles: diameter of 10 3/8 inches (read more below)
  • 2 Bag Sides: 10 inches high by 33 inches wide
  • 2 Pockets: 5 inches high by 33 wide
  • 1 Bag Handle: 6 inches high by 22 wide
  • 2 Side Accent Pieces: 1 inch high by 2 inches wide
  • Bias Tape: 33 inches long

The trickiest part of this tutorial is figuring out your circle and your side pieces because it is all math related but it’s easy, I promise.

I simply took a plate and traced the circle. My diameter was 10 3/8 inches (10.375 inches).

You can create the exact same circle size as me OR you can trace your own plate or circular object. In order to figure out how long your side pieces needs to be, you need to find the circumference of your circle because that is how long your side pieces will measure. To figure out the circumference of a circle, you simply use this equation: Diameter x 3.14.

My circumference: 10.375 x 3.14 = 32.5775
Add 1/2 inch seam allowance = 33.0775 (33 inches)

Still with me?
I hope so!

Now, let’s move on to the actual tutorial.

Let’s create the pocket that goes around the entire tote.

Here is a tip! Use paper clips instead of pins to avoid puncturing the laminate.

Keep in mind that I couldn’t find my walking foot… If I had used that, this project would have been even easier!

Sew the lining pieces in the same manner, with right sides together, but leave as is and don’t turn right side out. You will then end up with two cylindrical-shaped items.

You are finished with your tote!

Fill with lots and lots of goodies.


This post is sponsored by Laminates, your source for laminated cotton fabric with over 200 prints in stock! Learn more on the Laminates Facebook page and find laminated sewing tips on the Laminates blog.

FINAL NOTE: Deborah of says, “Oilcloth is NOT CPSIA compliant and should never be used for children’s products (bibs! no), and laminated cotton fabric should note: ‘CPSIA approved.’ There are some laminated cottons out there that have not been tested and should not be used for children’s products (I don’t carry any in my store that have not been tested).”

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10 Responses to The Art Tote Tutorial

  1. Maureen says:

    Wow! This is super cute. I’m going to make it for my niece and nephew for Christmas. Pinned!

  2. cindy o says:

    Or if you are NOT a math wiz but a hands on person like me you can walk your tape measure around the edge of your plate. lol. Cindy

  3. Melissa says:

    Awesome. Bought some laminated fabric from laminates for bibs and before I could make one my daughter refused to wear them. Now I’ve got something else I can do with the fabric. Thank you!

  4. Deborah says:

    Thank you Hayley for the super cute project using my laminated cotton fabric. Just to note – true oilcloth is not CPSIA compliant for children’s projects so I’m glad you used the laminated cotton.

  5. PT says:

    You said to sew the lining with wrong sides together, but I think you meant sew it right sides together but do not turn it right side out before stitching it to the outside piece. That is what your photo shows.

  6. says:

    You said to sew the lining with wrong sides together, but I think you meant sew it right sides together but do not turn it right side out before stitching it to the outside piece. That was a mouthful 🙂

  7. sandi says:

    Great tutorial! I also wanted to say that I’ve from Laminates and they were great! Fast service, sent clear instructions and a piece to try out so I didn’t have to cut into my precious right away.

  8. I sewed with oilcloth the other day! Paper clips is genius!! Thanks so much for sharing!!!
    Love this project too!! Pinning x

  9. Jessie from NM says:

    Another great tutorial! And I agree it would make a great Easter basket. “Can you just imagine this filled with toys?” I can see it filled with sketch pads and paints and awesome art supplies. Oh wait, did you mean an Easter basket for me or the kids? 😉 Either way it would be great in this house.

  10. megdalena says:

    What sort of needle do you use to sew laminated fabric?

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