Asymmetrical Color Block Totes Tutorial

on April 27 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 15 Comments

Marni Weaver of Haberdashery Fun showed us how to make an Easy Make-Up Clutch, Fiesta Table Runner with Pom Poms (make one for Cinco de Mayo!) and Quilted Heart Placemats. She’s back with Asymmetrical Color Block Totes for all of your favorite solids! Take a new bag on your spring adventures, or whip up several to organize summer gear (one for the market, one for the beach…).

Learn more about Marni in her introduction and find her projects and updates on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Hi, I’m Marni with Haberdashery Fun. I’m happy to be here sharing my color block tote bags. I’ve wanted to make asymmetrical, colorful totes for quite some time. With a trip to California on the horizon, I thought it was the perfect time to make a few and bring my favorite combination.

Each bag has four colors so this is a project you can have a lot of fun with! At first I was very deliberate in my color selection. By the third bag I put all my solid fabrics in a pile and went crazy choosing the colors. I love the asymmetrical feel to the handles and front of totes. The lining and back of the straps really pop!


  • Cotton fabric – 4 colors
  • Sew In Interfacing or cotton canvas
  • Light weight fusible interfacing
  • Disappearing fabric pen
  • Quilting supplies – rotary cutter, mat and ruler
  • Sewing supplies and sewing machine
  • Iron and ironing board

Cut Your Fabric:

  • Color #1 / Outside top portion of bag – Cut 1 square measuring 17″L x 17″W
  • Color #2 / Outside top portion of bag – Cut 1 square measuring 17″L x 17″W
  • Color #3 / Outside bottom of bag – Cut 1 rectangle measuring 16″L x 11″W
  • Color #4 / Lining – Cut 1 rectangle measuring 16″L x 27″W
  • Color #4 / Strap lining – Cut 1 strip measuring 2″L x 55″ (Strip will be cut in two so length depends on desired strap length.)
  • Light weight fusible interfacing – Cut 1 rectangle measuring 2 1/4″ x 55″. (Length depends on desired strap length.)
  • Cotton canvas or sew in interfacing – Cut 1 rectangle measuring 16″L x 27″W

Let’s Get Started:
1. Lay the 17″ x 17″ squares on top of each other, right sides facing. Align all edges to match. Use a ruler and disappearing fabric ink pen to draw a diagonal line from one corner to the other. Pin along each side of the line. Place into your sewing machine and stitch along each side of the line at a 1/4″ seam allowance. Cut along the pen line and open. You now have two, very large half square triangles. Press the seam allowances towards the darker color.

2. Lay the two squares back on top of each other. The diagonal lines crisscross each other. Align the edges. Use the rotary cutter/ruler and trim the top edge straight. Use your rotary cutter again and cut three strips measuring 2 1/4″ wide. These strips become the strap. Keep the fabric laying on top of each other and square the remaining pieces to measure 16″L x 9″ W each. These two pieces become the top portion of the bag.

3. Place the 16″L x 11″W rectangle onto your work surface. Pin the top portions of the bag to either end. Place into your sewing machine and stitch together with a 1/2″ seam allowance. Press the seam allowances towards the darker color. You should now have a large rectangle and this becomes the “outside” of the bag.

4. Lay the cotton canvas/interfacing piece on top of the bag, wrong sides facing. Baste stitch around the outside edge. Fold the large rectangle in half, right sides facing. Place into your sewing machine and stitch the sides together with a 1/2″ seam allowance. Be sure to match the bottom seam portion of each bag. Press the side seams. At the same time, press a crease along the bottom seam. This helps when creating the boxed corners.

5. Wiggle one side seam to lay directly on top of the bottom crease line. Use your quilting ruler and locate the 45 degree angle. Line the 45 degree angle along the diagonal part of the bag. Measure 1 1/2″ upwards from the tip. Mark a line with the disappearing fabric pen and pin. Place into your sewing machine and stitch following the pen line. Repeat for the other side. Trim off each point, leaving a 1/2″ seam allowance.

6. Sew the lining together following Steps 4-5. Place lining and exterior of bag aside.

Sew the Strap:
1. Piece the six strap pieces together as you would a quilt binding. Create a strip 55″ long. Have fun with this step and make the strap as asymmetrical as you want. Trim off the seam allowances to 1/4″. Press towards the darker color.

Sew the Strap Together + Finish Bag:
1. Place the pieced strip/outside and the lining strip right sides together. Sew along one long edge with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Place the other long sides together. The strips are not the same width, so the larger fabric will gather/roll along the center. This is OK. Pin if needed to help hold the fabric in place. Stitch the other side together with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Press. Pull the strap though itself. Press again. Topstitch along both sides. Cut to desired strap length; for this tutorial the straps are each 26″ each. Turn and fold each strap end under 1/4″ and press.

2. Keep the exterior bag right side facing out. Turn lining bag right side facing in. Place the exterior bag into the lining bag. Pin along top edge and place into sewing machine. Sew together with a 1/2″ seam allowance. Leave a 3″ – 4″ opening near one of the side seams and press.

3. Turn bag right side out by pulling it though the opening. Wiggle all corners into place. Press along top edge. Pin the opening closed. Stitch two rows of topstitching around the top edge.

4. Lay the bag flat onto your work surface. Finger press the wrinkles out. Measure inwards 3″ from each side seam and 2″ down from the top seam. Pin each strap end in place, making sure to keep the folded end under. Stitch in place with an “X”. Repeat for the other three straps.

That’s it! What do you think? My husband loves the blue/green combo while I love the coral/grey. What color combos would you use?

If you would like to see more of my projects come on over and follow me on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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15 Responses to Asymmetrical Color Block Totes Tutorial

  1. Peggy says:

    Hi – I made this out of cream, tan & brown pleather and I have gotten a zillion compliments on it. SO easy to make and so super cute. Thank you!

  2. Jane on Whidbey says:

    I love how you made the handles! Also, the diagonals. I am thinking of adding a touch of sashiko to the triangle for the indigo I have on order, when I get around to this in the fall. These are so striking, and the tute makes them so easy. Thanks so much! This is my first time here, but it won’t be the last.

  3. SarahZ says:

    These are great!! I really like the coral/gray too! With a niece moving to LA soon, I may just have to send one of these with her!! Thanks for a super (and super cute!) tutorial!!

  4. kathyh says:

    This was a very quick sew with clear directions. I love the tote. It turned out very well. I’m offering it up as my giveaway day prize.

  5. Sol says:

    Awesome, lovely. I like so much all of them!!

  6. Linda says:

    Great tutorial Marni! Thanks for sharing! The bags are very stylish! Love the design!

  7. Sally says:

    i love this!! Would you be interested in selling one to me? Email me if so with prices!

  8. Silvana says:

    Such a great DIY!

  9. Wanda Dotson says:

    I like how the handles were made. It adds some interest to the entire bag.

  10. Sue says:

    This is great. Just what I want to make next. Thank you VERY MUCH for the tutorial.

  11. Nancy says:

    I’m a messy girl, so I can see me swapping out that white. This is a wonderful pattern! Thank you!

  12. Shannon says:

    These are awesome! Thank you for the tutorial. I love all your color combos but I love the surprise of the pale yellow lining of the purple/blue one.

  13. Gillian says:

    Great tutorial. The best series of photos that include every step. A beginner would definately have success with this tutorial. Thank you.

  14. Sondra says:

    love this, thanks!

  15. Nancy says:

    Those are absolutely stunning. I love the asymmetrical look. Very stylish.

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