For this tote bag with gusset I have created the gusset through folding rather than by sewing an extra panel into the bag. It is quick and easy to make and the gusset is perfectly adequate for making the bottom of the bag that bit flatter, so that a bottle would stand upright more easily in it.
Cutting requirements for the tote bag with gusset
Outer bag: two 18″ squares. I have used two different fabrics for this
Bag lining: two 18″ squares. Again, I have used two different fabrics here
Straps: two 2.1/2″ strips cut across the width of fabric. I have used one strip each of the two outer bag fabrics
Facing: one 2.1/2″ strip. This shows at the top of the bag so it needs to be in a co ordinating fabric.
Making the outer bag
With right sides together, sew the two squares together on three sides – these will be the sides and the bottom of the tote bag.
On one side seam, mark a line 1″ from the bottom seam and extending 1″ from the side seam. Do this to both sides of the bag. Note that the two squares are still right sides together at this stage.
Pull the two squares apart from each other at the bottom corner. You need to form a triangle with the marked line running along the base of the triangle and the seam line running up the middle of the triangle. The corner of the bag will be the top of the triangle. One half of the triangle will be the back fabric of the bag (black in the photo) and the other half will be the front (hot air balloon fabric). Sew a seam along the base of the triangle.
Fold the triangle down so that the triangle runs along the bottom seam of the bag. Slipstitch the top of the triangle to the seam allowance. This is only to hold it in place – it doesn’t need to be strong. Do this to both bottom corners of the tote bag.
Now you can turn the outer bag right side out.
Making the bag lining
This is basically the same as making the outer bag. Once again I have used two different fabrics in the hope that the photos will be more clear. Sew the two squares together on three sides, mark a line for the gusset, sew along the line and slipstitch the top of the triangle in place. The lining fabrics are still right sides together at this stage.
Making the tote bag straps
With right sides together, sew the two 2.1/2″ strips together on each side to form a tube. Cut the tube in half so that you have two tubes about 20″ long. Fold the top of the strap back along the strap so that you can turn it right side out. Press and then sew a seam 1/4″ from either side to hold the fabrics in place.
Assembling the tote bag with gusset
Now you just have to put it all together!
Turn the outer bag so that it’s right side out. Leave the lining so that it’s right sides together. Tuck the lining into the outer bag and line up the two fabrics around the top of the bag.
Pin one strap to the front of the bag and one to the back of the bag, making sure that you only catch the two layers of fabric with each strap. Sew all round the top of the bag to secure the outer bag, lining and straps in place.
Add the facing to the bag
Measure the length around the top of the bag. In my case it was 35″. Take the facing strip and cut a length 1/2″ longer (35.1/2″ for my bag). Sew the two ends together to make a loop.
Place this loop around the top of the bag (on the outside) so that the top edge is in line with the top of the bag. Sew in place.
Finally, flip the facing inside towards the lining. Turn under a small hem and slipstitch in place just inside the seam line. This means that you have enclosed all the seam allowance and have a neat finish to the top of the tote bag with gusset.
It takes slightly longer to make a bag this way, but it does give a very professional looking bag – and it will help your bottles to stand upright more easily.
Here’s the video: