Behind the Seams


We’re all about sustainable local craft and the pleasure of creating.
Ark Senior Pattern Maker Kinga has designed a beautiful tote bag to make yourself…
download the pattern and follow our steps.


Fabric piece 100cm wide x 70cm long
Choose a sturdy textile that will keep its shape...
linen, cotton, denim or your favourite recycled fabric.
Lightly iron if creased.

Ark Tote Bag pattern
You can download our pattern here…
Print at full size or create your own pattern using the dimensions provided.

Pins, dressmaking scissors, cutting surface,
sewing machine, large safety pin.
Optional: large sheets of paper, overlocker or zig-zag stitch for sewing machine.




If using large sheets of paper, lay down on cutting surface. Lay fabric on top of paper if using or on your flat cutting surface…pin the pattern onto fabric and line up with the thread direction/selvedge lengthways.

Cut out pattern pieces and notches where marked on the pattern…these notches show you where to attach the straps and also act as a guide to ensure that your fabric doesn’t shift when sewing. Remove all pins.



Fold bag piece in half so reverse side of fabric is showing...inside out. Do the same with bag straps lengthways… iron all seams flat.

Stitch the two side seams of the bag piece and each strap 1cm in. Optional: overlock.

Turn the bag straps inside out so the right side of the fabric is showing…use a large safety pin as a frame to pull the fabric through. This requires some patience!


Iron seams on bag and straps…topstitch straps 3mm in on both edges.

Keep the bag inside out. Measure 3.5cm out from each bottom corner at right angles and sew a straight stitch between the 3.5cm points to create two little triangles. The straight stitch should measure 6cm in length…make sure the two sides are equal. Turn the bag outside in…iron flat.


Pin the straps to the bag opening in line with notches, then overlock bag opening with straps in place (straight sew these on if you don’t have an overlocker).

Fold down to create a 1.5cm seam and iron. At this stage, the bag looks close to finished. Note: be sure to not twist your straps when positioning them onto the top of your bag!


Finishing touches

Fold the bag opening down on the inside to create a 2.5cm hem, and iron…you will need to hold the straps in place while you do this (for ease, you can also pin the straps in place). Topstich the hem 3mm in on both edges with the straps facing up so that straps are also topstitched to the hem. Pull the fabric gently as you stitch so that it doesn’t gather.

Create a stitch feature on the top of each strap…this will look like an X to reinforce the straps.

Congratulations! Your beautiful bag is ready... We’d love to see your tote bag so share your photos at #arkcreative


If you run into trouble, we’ll help you sort it out!

If you have any questions or queries please email