Origami Tote

Created By:

Nicole Blum

Skill Level: Beginner

"I have a teenage daughter who doesn’t use her locker at school. No, I’m not entirely sure why. Her backpack weighs 492 pounds and it needs to contain her lunch so she doesn’t have to carry another bag around all day. She has this excellent little stainless steel bento box that is quite self-contained with 2 levels and an interior box for keeping stuff separate. But, sometimes things don’t fit – like a piece of fruit and utensils – so a bag to hold it all seems like a wise idea. Of course, it needs to be able to fit. You see the ever so minor dilemma. Well, easily solved – though it took me 2 years to solve it. Here is my fix:
The perfect little origami lunch tote! It can be made with scraps of yardage, upcycled material – anything!
Once you make one of these, you will see that it is truly the simplest thing to make and can be whipped up in about 10 minutes. I am origami impaired, so the first time I made one seemed complicated." - Nicole Blum, author Improv Sewing

Janome Supplies Required
  • Any Janome Sewing Machine - Nicole uses a Sewist 500
Fabric and Notions Required
  • a strip of fabric that is 3X longer than it is wide. I used a 10” x 30” piece of fabric for this one. This is scalable, so if you want a bigger bag for market, increase your measurements to that 1:3 ratio.
  • thread
  • pins


  1. Hem all of the raw edges. I chose to simply zig zag around the entire perimeter for simplicity’s sake and because I like how it looks.
  2. With the right side of your strip of fabric on the work surface, fold it like this:

    then fold the center square in half where I have pressed a crease and rotate the fabric so that folded edge is facing you.

  3. Open that left side fold

    and bring that corner I am holding up to where the other part of the fabric that is folded meets the top edge. Pin the two edges together and flip the fabric over and repeat.

  4. Sew these two seams up with a ¼” seam, backstitching at both ends for strength. This can be done by hand too, of course. It is a short run and wouldn’t take much time at all.

  5. Fold right side out and you are done!

    And, if you live in Southern California, you can go to the farmer’s market and fill it with citrus and avocados right now. If you live where it is 0 degrees, like me, you can go to Trader Joes and skip the plastic.

Everyone is Talking about Origami Tote

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Around the Table Dresden Placemats
Saturday, December 17, 2016

I like the concept, but the directions are "sloppy." Nowhere in the supply list does it mention the felt or the batting (how much?). Also, I would never use a high loft batting in a placemat, or a table runner, as I think that it would be too unstable for a glass. The next time I make these, I will cut out the batting (I use flannel) and spray baste it to the wrong side of the Dresden plate before I put the Dresden plate on the felt to cut out. I have not yet washed the finished placemat, and am hoping that the single layer of felt does not curl up, or become distorted after washing/drying.
Fun Great Gift!
Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Teatime Quilted Tablecloth
Friday, February 24, 2017

I made this today but your cutting directions need to be changed. You only need 4 of color 1 and color 3 4.5 squares for the triangles. Also the inner border, you only need 2 cuts as WOF is long enough to cut each in half to fit the sides.
Great Machine
Wednesday, August 30, 2017

I've had this machine for only a week now. I bought it used from a lady who makes her own clothes, but she no longer needed the machine. During the purchase, she noted that she is almost sad that it's better to give it away because of how well the machine performed. (I also bought it along side a computerized machine of another brand.} She demoed the machine for us, showing it worked and gave us everything (including the box it came in!) She took amazing care of this machine. I have used it a few times now, and the directions for threading were easy to follow (albeit my hands are quite large so the lower looper was a pain, but that is no fault to the machine or brand.) And I recommend this machine to anyone who wants to learn to serge and wants a machine that can grow with them. I will happily use this machine time and time again.
S9 Review
Sunday, February 25, 2018

I love, love, love my S9! It's sews and embroiders beautifully and it's simplicity of use amazes me. I would recommend this machine for both a beginner and an experienced seamstress. If I would ask anything of Janome it would be to upgrade the programming to run a larger hoop size. I understand that it can't get much wider but there is most definitely room for it to go longer. That is the only limitation of this machine.
Monday, February 26, 2018

I purchased a Memorycraft 15000 a few years ago and it was the best purchase I ever made! This machine can do just about anything you would would ever want! I love the capability of using the Acuedit app to set up my embroidery pattern on my Ipad and then download it to the machine! I love how my embroidery looks upon completion and I love all the good lighting it has to light up your workspace. That way you don’t need to worry about where to set up your machine. It also has plenty of room to do machine embroidery on any size quilts! There are many decorative stitches from which to choose that are outstanding! It’s hard to choose which one to use! There are so many great features it is hard to decide what I love the most. If you want to buy only one machine to last a lifetime, I would recommend this one!
S9 Review
Sunday, February 24, 2019

The S9 is amazing. I learned to sew by hand when I was just 5 and in my grandmothers way as she was quilting. I took seeing classes in high school until they would no longer let me sign up. The S9 makes me appreciate my current skills as well as motivate me to want to learn more. This machine is awesome.
Horizon Memory Craft 15000
Thursday, November 19, 2020

My Janome Horizon Memory Craft 15000 is fantastic! I love, love, love this machine! When I came across the Eye for and Eye embroidery design today, I wanted to make it. However, the embroidery file is missing. Nothing downloads when I select the download button. Please help!
Treat Bag fun!
Monday, August 16, 2021

I made the Halloween treat bag for my new granddaughter and I’m sure it will last for years. No embroidery machine so I appliquéd the lettering. Need a little more skirt fabric for a better gathered look, and I used thin double-bias tape for the skirt hem, over edge stitch on skirt sides. I’m pleased with my results!
Very helpful tutorial
Wednesday, October 25, 2023

I want to say thank you for teaching me this method of applique. I was able to do it with a small letters. This method is the best so far from all of those I've seen and tried.
So useful
Thursday, November 30, 2023

I'd like to express my gratitude for teaching me this appliqué method. I successfully applied it with small letters, and, so far, it's the most effective among all the methods I've seen and tried.

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