Free Pattern and Tutorial: Library Bag

library bag tutorial

Books have always been very important in our home.  The nighttime ritual included stories before bed.   Our kids spent a fair amount of time in libraries both at school and in the community, this library bag tutorial would have come in handy those days.  The daycare we used was very close to the library and one day a week during the summer break they would line the children up and walk them over.

Now our grandchildren are going to the library.  The moms or dads take the littles to story time when they are young and as they get older, they are choosing their own books.  Sometimes I have a hard time imagining how all those books ever get back.  How do you keep track of library books?  The kids have books that they own as well and they just get all jumbled together throughout the week.

As the kids get older they like to be in charge of their own books.  I have designed a library tote so that the kids can carry their own books all together in one place and maybe even keep better track of them.

Library bag tutorial

This is a sturdy tote that will fit most sized books.  It has my favorite envelope bottom, sturdy handles and a tab/button closure.

Library bag tutorial Library bag tutorial

O loves dinosaurs, so I went with the dino theme.  Gather up your supplies.library bag 12 Main, 2 Lining, and 2 Craft fleece or heavyweight sew-in interfacing:  14″ x 16″ rectangles

2 Straps:  3″ wide and 21″ long.

1 Tab:  3″ wide and 6″ long.

One button from the button box.

Matching or contrasting thread.

Scraps for lettering.  Scraps of fusible interfacing for letters and straps.   Download the template for the lettering HERE.

Use 1/2 ” seam allowance unless otherwise stated.

Cut out your letters using the template provided.  Fuse interfacing to the wrong side of each letter.  Fuse interfacing to the wrong side of each strap.  Set straps and letters aside.library bag 2Baste fleece to the wrong side of both linings. Baste at 3/8″.  Sew the bottom seam leaving 2″ open for turning later.  Press seam open.

library bag seamConstruct envelope bottom.  With RST pull your seam up 2″.  Bring the second side down so that your top edges meet.  You should now have four layers with the seam in the center.  Sew the entire side seam at 1/2″.

envelope bottom  If you would like more details see HERE.  Set your lining aside.

Decide how you want to place the lettering on the front of your bag.  Remember that you will need to place your last letter 4″ up from the bottom to allow you to sew your envelope.  I pinned mine all together first so I could be sure to get the placement correct.  Place your first letter 2″ down from the top. Once you have your letters securely pinned you will appliqué them to the front of your bag using your favorite method.  I just used a narrow zig zag.

Library bag tutorial

Fold the straps RST and sew down the long side at 3/8″ seam. Press seam open.  Turn and press.  I used flannel scraps for my straps.  The added interfacing makes them strong.  Center straps as desired pinning one strap to each main front and back.  Baste at 3/8″.

straps bastedSew bottom seam at 1/2″ seam and press open.  Construct envelope bottom as before.  Continue sewing the side seams.

Now we will sew our lining and main bag together.  You are going to put the bag main with RSO into the bag lining WSO.  Pin at the top edge and sew. Be sure your straps are enclosed between the in liningRemember the opening we left in the lining?  Now you are going to pull the bag through that opening.  Keep pulling.  It will look like a mess, but it will be fine.  Once you have the main bag pulled through topstitch the lining in your bag closed.

Push the lining into the bag and smooth all the lumps out to get the bag standing straight.  Almost finished.  Press the top of the bag and top stitch around.  We just need to attach the tab and we are ready for a trip to the library.

Press under 1/4″ on all sides of tab.  Fold in thirds and top stitch close to fold all the way around.tabPlace a button hole on one end.  Use the button you pulled from your button box for sizing.  Attach the tab to the bag by centering it between the handles on the right side of the bag.  Sew over previous stitching line and then sew an “X” through the center.  This makes the tab extra secure.

attach tabIgnore the fact that my buttonhole is not centered. You will want to center yours.  Sew your button under the buttonhole opening.

Fill up with all the library books you can find laying around your house.  OR if you don’t have any take the empty bag to your local library and fill it will exciting stories to read to your little one.

Library bag tutorial Library bag tutorial Library bag tutorial Library bag tutorial Library bag tutorial

Happy Sewing, Donna



{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Amy Mayen February 23, 2015, 1:37 pm

    What an awesome way to haul around books. I always check out way more than I can can carry:)

  • Anna February 25, 2015, 8:13 am

    Your bag looks good and strong! I love the fabric you’ve used.

  • Pam @Threading My Way March 7, 2015, 6:18 am

    I’ve never constructed a bag with an envelope bottom, Donna. Looks like it would make for a very strong bag. I can see lots of uses for this bag. It looks great and I do like the addition of the appliqued letters.

  • Emily July 2, 2015, 6:15 pm

    Is this bag reversible?

Leave a Comment