How to Make a Tote Bag With a Zipper

A tote bag with a zipper is a stylish and functional accessory that you can use for carrying your daily essentials, groceries, or even as a travel bag. It is a versatile and practical item that can be easily made at home with the right materials and tools. In this article, we will guide you through the steps to make a tote bag with a zipper, from preparing the fabric to adding the final touches.


To make a tote bag with a zipper, you will need the following materials:

  • Fabric – choose a sturdy and durable fabric such as canvas or cotton
  • Zipper – select a zipper that is slightly longer than the width of the fabric
  • Thread – match the color of the thread to the fabric
  • Sewing machine – a sewing machine will make the process faster and easier
  • Scissors – sharp scissors for cutting the fabric
  • Pins – to hold the fabric in place while sewing
  • Ruler – for measuring and marking the fabric accurately

Steps to Make a Tote Bag with a Zipper

Preparing the Fabric

  1. Cutting the fabric to size – Measure and cut the fabric to the desired size for your tote bag. The standard size is 16 inches wide and 14 inches tall. However, you can adjust the dimensions according to your preference.
  2. Ironing the fabric – Iron the fabric to remove any wrinkles and ensure it lays flat and smooth.

Attaching the Zipper

  1. Measuring and marking the placement of the zipper: Using the ruler, mark the center of the top edge of the fabric. Place the zipper on top of the fabric, with the teeth facing down and the zipper pulling facing the fabric’s right side. Align the zipper so that the edges of the zipper tape are flush with the edges of the fabric. Mark the placement of the zipper with pins.
  2. Sewing the zipper onto the fabric: Using a zipper foot on your sewing machine, sew along the edge of the zipper tape, attaching it to the fabric. Repeat on the zipper’s other side, ensuring the fabric remains flat and smooth.

Sewing the Bag

  1. Sewing the sides and bottom of the bag: Fold the fabric in half, right sides facing each other, and pin the sides and bottom of the bag together. Sew along the edges, leaving a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Turn the bag right side out and press the seams flat.
  2. Hemming the top of the bag: Fold the top edge of the bag over by 1/4 inch and press with an iron. Fold it over again by 1 inch and press again. Pin the hem in place and sew along the edge. Only leave a small opening for the zipper pull to pass through.

Adding the Handles

  1. Cutting and preparing the handles – Cut two pieces of fabric to the desired length and width for the handles. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise, right sides facing each other, and sew along the long edge. Turn the fabric right side out and press flat.
  2. Sewing the handles onto the bag – Pin the handles to the top edge of the bag, ensuring that they are evenly spaced and the ends are aligned with the edges of the bag. Sew the handles securely in place, reinforcing the stitches at the ends for added durability.

Finishing Touches

  1. Reinforcing the seams: To reinforce the seams and prevent fraying, sew along the edges of the bag with a zigzag stitch or overlock stitch.
  2. Ironing the bag: Finally, press the bag with an iron to smooth out any wrinkles and give it a polished look.

ALSO READ: How to Make a Tote Bag With Plastic Bags

Pro Tip for Personalizing the Tote Bag 

Image Credit: Amazon

You can customize your tote bag by choosing different fabrics, colors, and patterns that match your personal style. You can also add pockets, appliques, or embroidery to make your tote bag unique.


The idea to make a tote bag with a zipper is a fun and rewarding one. The good news is that you can complete it in just a few hours. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can create a high-quality tote bag that is both functional and stylish. 

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced sewist, making a tote bag with a zipper is a great way to practice your skills and create a useful item you can be proud of.