Classic Color-Block Tote

Created By:

Lauren Dahl of Baste + Gather

Skill Level: Beginner

Lauren Dahl used the Memory Craft 8900QCP machine to create a wonderful color-block tote that can be used for a variety of different daily tasks. In the preview image, Lauren uses her brightly-colored canvas tote for her daily trip to the market. It is the perfect accessory to fit fresh produce and a loaf of bread, fresh out of the oven. 

Now you can make Lauren's Color-Block Tote using the tutorial she provided below.

Janome Supplies Required
  • Any Janome sewing machine
  • Denim/jeans needle
Fabric and Notions Required
  • 1 yard of main fabric (suggested: medium-weight canvas, target, etc.)
  • ½ yard of contrast fabric (suggested: medium-weight canvas, target, etc.)
  • 1 yard of Pellon 808 Craft Fuse
  • 1 yard of lining (suggested: quilting cotton or similar)
  • Double-sided basting tape (
  • Quick Turn tube turners (
  • Matching or contrasting thread (topstitching thread may be used if desired)

Cut pieces as follows (½” seam allowance included):

I recommend cutting from the measurements below and then using this Placement Guide only.

  • Pockets, 5 ½” x 8” (2 main, 2 interfacing)
  • Short straps (for holding in hand, not wearing over shoulder) 3 ½” x 34” (2 contrast)


  • Long straps (for wearing over the shoulder) 3 ½” x 50” (2 contrast)
  • Bottom, 20” x 10” (1 contrast)
  • Bag, 31” x 20” (1 main, 1 interfacing)
  • Interior facing, 4.5”x20” (2 main, 2 interfacing)
  • Interior lining, 27”x20” (1 lining)

Sewing Instructions

  1. Fuse interfacing pieces to to corresponding main pieces as instructed by manufacturer. Click here for the illustrated file.
  2. Fold one short edge of each pocket piece down ¼” toward the wrong side and press. Fold down another ¼” toward the wrong side, and press again. Sew hem in place and set aside. Click here for the illustrated file. 
  3. Fold both long edges of the bottom contrast piece down ¼” toward the wrong side and press. Fold down another ¼” toward the wrong side, and press again. DO NOT SEW hem at this time. Set aside. Click here for the illustrated file. 
  4. Fold each strap in half lengthwise and sew two edges with a ¼” seam allowance. (Leave one of the short edges open for turning.) Clip the corners, turn out, press and set aside. Quick Turn tube turners are helpful for turning heavier-weight fabrics right-side-out. Click here for the illustrated file. 
  5. Using double-sided basting tape (or pin and stitch with a wide stitch, if desired) and referring to the PDF pattern for placement, stick the pockets in place on the main section of the bag. Click here for the illustrated file. 
  6. Align the two narrow edges of each strap with the bottom of each pocket, and attach with basting tape. Be sure to overlap the edges of the pockets so they will be secured when the handles are sewn to the bag. Click here for the illustrated file.
  7. Starting where one of the handles meets with the top of the bag (and 1” away from top edge to allow for seaming the facing to the main portion of the bag), sew the strap to the bag. Finish with a barn-door configuration to reinforce the stitching. Continue securing the other side of the first strap and both sides of the second strap. Click here for the illustrated file. 
  8. Apply contrast bottom to the bag using basting tape (or pin and stitch using a wide stitch). Sew in place at the top edges, making sure to overlap the bottom of the pocket and straps ends. Stitch baste to bag main along side seams. Click here for the illustrated file. 
  9. Fold bag in half with right sides together, and sew side seams with a ½” seam allowance. Press seams open. Click here for the illustrated file. 
  10. Pinch off a triangle on each bottom corner of the bag to give it a three-dimensional, boxy shape. Sew the triangle in place on each side. Trim away the excess fabric. Turn bag right-side-out and set aside. Click here for the illustrated file.
  11. With right-sides together, sew each bag facing to the short edges of the bag lining. Press facing up away from lining and seams open. Click here for the illustrated file.
  12. Fold bag lining/facing combo in half, right sides together, so the short edges come together. Sew side seams. Press seams open. Click here for the illustrated file.
  13. Pinch off triangles at bottom corners of lining as you did for the main bag. Sew and trim.
  14. Place main bag, right-side-out, inside of lining, right-side-in (so the two right sides are facing each other). Match up side seams and top edges. Pin together and sew, leaving a 3” opening for turning. Backstitch at beginning and end of stitching so stitches don’t rip during turning. Click here for the illustrated file.
  15. Carefully turn bag right-side-out and press.
  16. Top-stitch along top edge, making sure to close the turning hole.
  17. Give bag one final press, and voila! You’re done!




Everyone is Talking about Classic Color-Block 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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