Cote d’Azur Tote Bag


A one-size tote for all your carry-all needs.  Supported by stiff interfacing and fully lined, with circular bias-bound handles and angled upper edge.  Features large snaps on each side to expand.  Boxed bottom that stands alone.  Optional inner pocket.  Simple to sew, suitable for beginners!

This pattern was originally offered as part of my Everyday Handbags e-course in 2010.  Completely re-designed and re-formatted, it now features fully illustrated step-by-step instructions and an easy printing guide.  THIS IS A PRINTABLE PDF SEWING PATTERN.  Prints to 8.5″ x 11″ or A4 paper: instructions are 10 pages; pattern pieces are four pages; fourteen printed pages total.

This pattern is also TABLET FRIENDLY!  Print just the four pages of pattern pieces, and view the rest of the pattern on your iPad, Kindle Fire, laptop or mobile device.  All images and graphics are fully scalable, allowing you to zoom in on a single step and view details up close.

Finished tote size: 13″ tall x 15″ wide x 6.5″ deep

Suggested fabrics: cotton/linen blends; linen; heavyweight cotton; home dec fabrics; denim; mid- to heavy-weight twills.  Lining in quilt-weight cottons.

Supplies: 1 to 1.25 yards for the outer bag; 1 to 1.25 yards for the lining.  Interfacing: 1.5 yards of 20″ ultra-heavyweight interfacing, such as Pellon Peltex; Annie’s Soft and Stable is also suitable.  Interfacing for lining: 1.5 yards of 20″ midweight fusible interfacing, such as Pellon 941.  Bias tape: 3 yds of 1/2″ double fold.  Matching thread (works best if thread matches bias tape closely).


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Product Description

Introducing: The perfect large tote for summer, fall, and all your on-the-go and around-town needs.

This bag is big enough to accommodate a trip to the beach or pool or just the right size for catting about town in style.  I love the pass-through handles and the firmness of the construction, giving this bag shape and structure enough to stand up on its own.  Fully lined and with an interior pocket for your phone, it is a simple project to stitch and really satisfying to carry.

Named for the famed beaches of the French Riviera, this tote was inspired by my ongoing passion for the water–but is proving itself a great addition to my repertoire for sewing retreats, mothering & kids (with their endless supplies), brunches on the weekends, quick trips to the grocery, and working afternoons at the coffee shop when I want my planner, notebook, laptop & notepads for ideas with me.  I wanted a tote with real presence and substance; this one uses a nice, stiff interfacing to give it some shape and allow it to stand up on its own.  There isn’t even stuffing in it in these photos, just the body of the bag!  It’s fully lined, and has an optional interior pocket for your phone and keys.

I wanted to be sure that there was room for the bag to expand so it could hold as much or as little as I felt like carrying.  My on-going realization as Someone Who Sews is that I like things reeeeeally tiny or reeeeally HUGE, and in the case of handbags, I tend toward GIANT.  I designed this tote to be both a poolside-throw-everything-in-it bag and also a carry-around-town bag, similar to some high-end raffia bags I’ve seen in summers past.

The corners are anchored with giant snaps, allowing you to expand the bag as necessary, and also giving it a really fun profile.

All the edges on the bag are finished with–shocking!–bias tape, which I adore.  Very easy finish to this bag, and gives the option of a lot of design possibilities.  Plus, it makes the rounded handle opening possible–and that might be my favorite feature!  I wanted to create a bag that looks professional and handmade but not home-sewn, and something about the way the handles are open with just the bias binding to finish them off feels special to me.

This pattern is a simple one to stitch, with just one pattern piece and four pattern pages to assemble.  Once your supplies are all prepared, you can complete the sewing in a single afternoon, and use your bag that evening!  I hope you’ll find a zillion uses for this design and make up a bunch–for myself, I’ve got one in the works in babywale cord that I plan to carry all autumn long.  What will YOU sew first?


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