I’m so excited to have Melanie from the Crafty Cupboard here today! We’re doing a little swap, and so when you’re done with her fabulous Teacher Tote, you can head on over to her site for my tutorial on Friendship Cuffs! Two great tutorials in one!


School has been a big topic in our house for a few weeks now in preparation for my oldest child to start 1st grade and my husband to return for his final year in Graduate School. Both of those events are something to celebrate, right??
When I think of going back to school, I think about all the great things we can learn, starting with the basics: Numbers, Letters, and Words! And of course, since there are such great text prints out there nowadays, I had to make a snazzy little tote worthy for any teacher or other lover of learning out there.
Teacher Tote Materials

To make the Teacher Tote, you’ll need:

1. Exterior text print fabrics

  • 4 cuts at 6”x10” Fabric A
  • 4 cuts at 4”x15” Fabric B
  • 2 cuts at 6”x15” Fabric C

2. Piping, at least 13”, purchased or self-made
3. Lining fabric, 2 cuts at 12.5”x15”
4. Heavy Interfacing (or canvas), 2 cuts at 12.5”x15”
5. Handle fabric, 2 cuts at 3”x24” (with optional interfacing, 2 cuts 3”x24”)
(This tutorial uses a 1/4” seam allowance)

Teacher Tote Piped Pockets
1. To begin, take two pieces of Fabric A and sandwich your piping between the two pieces, Right sides together. Use a piping foot or zipper foot to sew as close to the piping as you can. Repeat with the remaining two pieces, and turn the fabric so the wrong sides are together. These are your pockets.
Teacher Tote Pocket Sandwich

2. Lay Fabric C right side up, then the pocket piece down with bottom edges lining up. Next, place Fabric B Right side down with edges aligned to Fabric C. Pin along the long edge.

Teacher Tote Exterior Finished

3. Sew along the side, and repeat on the other side.  This is makes an exterior side, so repeat steps 1-3 again for the second exterior side.

Teacher Tote Handle Constructions

4. If desired, attach your interfacing to your handle pieces. Fold your handle pieces in half and sew along the 24” side to make a tube.

Teacher Tote Handles Finished

5. Turn your tube inside out, iron and top-stitch to stability.

Teacher Tote Handles on Exterior

6. Pin the handles so they are centered on the seams on the exterior fabric pieces. Baste in place.
7. Create Box corners:

Teacher Tote Boxed Corners Lining with opening

8. Attach lining (or canvas) to the wrong side of the lining, and repeat the above steps to create box corners in the lining, except leave a 6” opening along the bottom for turning.
Teacher Tote Pin Lining to Exterior

9. Slide the lining bag into the exterior bag so right sides are facing each other. Pin around the entire top, matching side seams.

Teacher Tote Turn Right SIde out

10. Stitch around the top and then turn the bag inside out through the opening in the lining.

Teacher Tote Pin Opening

11. Pin the opening shut,

Teacher Tote Opening Sewn Shut

12. Top-stitch the opening closed.

Teacher Tote

13. Iron the bag, and top-stitch around the top of the bag. You are done with your Teacher Tote!

Teacher Tote for Favorite Reads

This tote bag makes a great gift for the avid learner or teacher, so fill it with great books in their favorite topic, slide a gift card or note in one of the pockets, and wrap it up!

The Teacher Tote with Outer Pockets

Or, you can use it for yourself so you can work on your favorite projects while sitting in the parent-pick-up lane :) Heaven knows that can take a while! Hey, switch up the fabrics, and this tote is appropriate for any recipient or occasion!

(Fabrics used in this project: Mama Said Sew by Sweetwater for Moda, Just My Type prints by Patty Young for Michael Miller Fabrics, and a Michael Miller Ta Dot)

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7 years ago

This is great. I especially like the piping detail in the front pocket.

Dilsa Johnson
Dilsa Johnson
4 years ago

Love the pattern. It’s a great school bag for teachers. I’ve made one for myself and one one for my friend in Dr. Seuss fabric as she’s an elementary teacher.