Giant Scrappy Zipper Tote Bag + Tutorial

I recently participated in the Scrappy Fabric Swap and decided to turn my new horde of fabric squares into a tote bag… something big enough to haul around a large knitting/crochet project. I made a similar bag a couple months back, and this is a simplified version of that, designed to show off the patchwork. This is also a stash-busting project, hence the oddly matched canvas bottom and the bright-pink zipper.

Finished dimensions: roughly 21" x 14" x 7", but you can make this smaller if desired.


Materials (approx.):

  • one 24" double zipper
  • 3 yards 1" webbing
  • 1 yard lining fabric
  • 1.5 yards heavy interfacing
  • 1.5 yards quilt batting
  • 1/2 yard fabric for pockets
  • 120 - 2.5" fabric squares
  • 1/2 yard canvas fabric
  • 3/4 yard fabric for sides/bottom of front panel
  • thread
  • sewing machine, ruler, marking pencil, pins
  1. Sort and lay out your 2.5" squares as desired, 5x12. Sew together into a panel, press flat. Repeat to create two.

  2. Add some width to your panels. Most of this will be cut away after quilting, and 4"-5" per side will be sufficient.

  3. Add fabric to the bottom of your panel - about 10". This will ultimately be hidden under the canvas.

  4. Layer interfacing, then batting, then pieced panel. Pin. Quilt as desired. I just did pebbles over the patchwork and whatever was fast over the bottom white section, since that part won’t be seen.

  5. Cut quilted panels to size. Mine is about 21" across the top, 29" across the bottom, and 18" tall.

  6. Using the quilted panels as a guide, cut the canvas to fit over the bottom white section, plus about an inch at the top to fold over.

  7. Cut 2 lining pieces the same as the quilted panels.

  8. Each of my straps was 46". Pin them to the quilted panels and stitch in place, stopping 2" below the top of the panel.

  1. Turn over the top edge, and pin canvas onto the quilted panel, covering the white section and the raw edges of the straps. Baste the sides and bottom in place, and topstitch two rows over the top edge of the canvas.

  2. Pin straps down to keep them out of the way for the rest of the construction.

  3. Create pockets for the inside of the bag. You can do this however you like. I used two large patch pockets, roughly 13" x 9", to fit the case for my knitting needles. They’re pieced and lined, but that’s not necessary. I set them about 5" above the bottom of the lining piece, roughly centered on the lining. Stitch the sides and bottom of the pocket.

  4. Add tabs to the ends of the zipper to make it the length of the top of the bag. I used 4 - 2.5" squares. Fold over an edge on each square, and sandwich each end of the zipper between two. Stitch. Trim to the width of the zipper tape and cut away any excess zipper to reduce bulk.

  5. Lay zipper face-down onto the right-side of a quilted panel. Pin. Lay one lining piece, wrong-side up onto the wrong-side of the zipper. The lining and the quilted panel are now right-sides together. Pin. Stitch, moving zippers out of the way as needed.

  6. Turn so that the lining and quilted panel are now wrong-sides together. Press fabric away from zipper. Pin. Topstitch close to seam.

  7. Repeat for the other side. It should look like this when you’re done:

  8. Pin the quilted panels, right-sides together. Pin the lining pieces, right-sides together (leave a gap in the bottom for turning). Make sure that the zipper is pushed in towards the lining (pictures). Leave zipper open for this step. Sew all the way around the quilted panels and the lining (mind the gap!).

  1. Time to box the corners! Flatten the corners of the quilted section and the lining. Line up the seams and measure about 4" in from the corner. Draw a line across and stitch. For the outer section, stitch an additional line about 1/8" out from the first. Trim away excess fabric. Repeat for the other 3 corners.

  2. Turn right-sides out, pushing out all the corners, and stitch the gap in the lining closed. Push the lining into the bag, and you’re done!


Oooh. I love a scrappy patchwork. It turned out amazing. Thanks for the tutorial too!


Sooo fantastic!! Love the tute!! :heart_eyes:

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This is beautiful! I love how all those bitty baby squares look with each other, and I kind of like the pink zipper with how you laid out the squares, it goes.
And my yankee heart loves to see a good stash-bust!

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Thanks! I love a big bag.

I can’t remember the last time I wrote a tutorial, so I apologize if I forgot anything or if something is unclear.


Beautiful tote, and an awesome tutorial!

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Thank you!

This is beautiful! I love how the circle-y quilting refers to the circle-y print on the bottom fabric!

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What a great-looking bag! Thanks for the tutorial, too. May have to try it…

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@TheMistressT , I did choose the quilting pattern and the thread color to coordinate with the bottom fabric. I had three outdoor canvas fabrics to choose from, and I didn’t really love any of them with the patchwork…the circles were just the least disliked. :person_shrugging:


This is simply gorgeous! What an amazing size and colors!!!

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Well this is fantabulous! Wow, I love it so much!

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You really make it work!

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Thank you!

Fun and cheery!

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Fantastic! I need to do something like this with my scraps!

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This turned out fantastic, and the tutorial is very clear. You’re going to use this bag all the time because of how practical it is.

Also, I love seeing all those little scrappy squares and thinking “hey, that’s one I sent!” and “hey, I also got that one!”


Thank you!

It’s nice to have a big tote bag that can close. I might make some for my kids’ snow gear.

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What a beautiful OOAK bag!


I love this bag sooo much!

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