Choly Knight

Sew Desu Ne?

Freebie Friday: The Susuwatari Tote


Yes, I’m bringing back more Miyazaki x3 As much as I would have liked to do another character, the colors in this print that I had so much of just couldn’t stop reminding me of a Miyazaki color scheme – very earthy yet bright but not overly saturated. This dark brown faux suede that I thought matched perfectly made me think of what soot sprites would look like in a different color. So this is the result!
It’s a very huge tote bag that’s perfect for carrying around loads of groceries or other shopping, and the handles have an adorable shape to them that I thought was fun to come up with.


This is super simple to put together. The handles are a bit tricky, but that’s easily the hardest part you’ll face.
Makes one bag that is about 17” wide, 17” tall, and 4” wide

Materials & Tools:
• ½ yd. of medium to heavyweight fabric for main bag (denim or canvas would be great – I used a home décor canvas)
• ½ yd. of medium to heavyweight contrast fabric for bottom section and handles (denim or canvas would be perfect – I used an interfaced faux suede)
• ⅔ yd. of lightweight fabric for lining (I used quilting cotton)
• Matching sewing thread
• Basic sewing tools (sewing machine, scissors, iron, needles, pins, fabric marker, seam ripper)
• Either various fabric paints for painting your image or:
Appliqué Supplies
• 10” x 10” scrap of appliqué fabric for sprites (cotton or felt)
• 5” x 5” scrap of white appliqué fabric (cotton or felt)
• 2” x 2” scrap of black appliqué fabric (cotton or felt)
• 10” x 10” piece of light or heavy duty fusible web

Before you begin:
1. Print out the project pattern here
2. Assemble the pattern pieces, see the page here for more help
3. Lay out the pattern pieces on your fabric and cut them out
4. Mark the fabric pieces with the markings from the pattern

1. Start by applying your soot sprites to the front of the bag. This involves a lot of sewing, so you may want use the pattern as a freezer paper template and paint the sprites on with fabric paint, or simply iron them on with heavy duty fusible web. Either way, use the guidelines from the pattern to get the right placement. I chose to go the hard route and ironed them on with light fusible web, then did a zigzag stitch around each sprite.

2. With your appliqué finished, next you can apply the bottom contrast section to your bag. Line up the long straight edge of your contrast section to the bottom edge of your bag, then sew the two in place. Open out the seam allowance and press it flat. Repeat this with your bag back piece and the other contrast section.

3. Next we’ll sew the sides and bottom of the tote. Layer your bag front and back with right sides together, and sew along the side and bottom edges, skipping over the corners (we’ll sew those next).

4. Fold the corners of the tote bag at an angle so the side seams and bottom seams match up. The raw edges should line up nicely, and you can now sew along this edge to give some depth to your bag. Now you’ll want to go back and repeat steps 2-4 for your lining pieces, except remember to leave an opening in the bottom of the lining for turning it right side out. After this is all done you should have two tote-bag shaped pieces.

5. Next we’ll sew together those pieces. Nestle the tote bag into your lining with right sides together and match up the raw edges along the top. The side seams should match up for the best look. Sew all the way around the perimeter.

6. Turn the tote right side out from the opening in the lining, then press the top seam you just made nice and crisp. Edge stitch along this seam to keep your lining from peeking out of the bag. The main body of your tote bag is now complete! Next are the straps.

7. For your straps, you’ll want to take one of your strap pieces and fold it in half along the fold line indicated. Sew along the perimeter of the shape, being sure to skip over the opening in the side for turning the strap right side out. Trim the seam allowances in the curved parts to make turning easier, and be sure to clip very closely into the corner of the handle to achieve a really crisp look. Then turn the strap right side out with a chopstick or similar tool, tuck under the seam allowances in the opening, then press the whole strap firmly so the result is crisp.

8. To get a real professional look, we’re going to edge stitch around the perimeter of the straps, about ⅛” or less inside the edge. This will also close up the opening you left from the previous step.

9. Line up the ends of your strap to the front of your bag, using the pattern guidelines for proper placement. Then edge stitch the ends of the strap again to hold it in place. Stitch both ends of one strap on the front, then both ends of the other strap on the back, but be sure you don’t twist the strap along the way. Now fill your tote with awesome stuff because YOU’RE DONE!

I just love the way the colors came together on this one! But what do you think? I’d love to hear your opinions in the comments!
I hope you enjoy making this project! If you do, I’d love to see it, and I’ll give you more free patterns to boot!

For questions and terms of use information, please see the FAQ.

6 thoughts on “Freebie Friday: The Susuwatari Tote

  1. I just came across your site recently and immediately fell in love with all of your patterns. I’m making this for my friend who’s coming home for a visit this week after living in Japan. We’re long-time Miyazaki fans and I’m sure she’ll love it! The pattern and instructions are so simple, too. I just wanted to thank you for posting this!

  2. I absolutely love this bag and fabric. Is it something I could still find?

    • Sadly no :/ The fabric was a Jo-ann’s exclusive home decor print from about 5 years ago I think. So sadly it’s no longer in production 😦 I’m glad you like the bag though!

  3. Thank you for the beautyful patterns. I can do upcycling of elder fleece-jackets and pullovers as well as elder throws. So cute and so beautyful embroidery patterns. So I sew the fennek out of a jacket of my father who died in 2012. This will keep good memories in mind 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.