Freebie Friday! The Tiny Totoro Tote

It’s Miyazaki again! I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself >w< I started out with this fun dotted print and thought it would look adorable with some white contrast bits. I was particularly excited about the idea of corner patch pockets on the tote, and while I was doing white contrasts, the idea to incorporate the chibi Totoro came to mind. While I love big Totoro like crazy, the Susuwatari and chibi Totoro are my favorite characters from My Neighbor Totoro I think x3 I actually have a plush of a chibi Totoro myself that I keep on my desk. So I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to put them on something. I think the finished tote is just the perfect size for a trip to the library or to the yarn store ^-^


The appliqué might not be for a complete beginner, but aside from that there’s nothing too surprising here
Makes one bag that is about 11” wide, 11” tall, and 3” deep.

Materials & Tools:
• ½ yd. of 60” wide or ⅔ yd. of 45” wide medium to heavy weight fabric (denim or canvas would be perfect – I used a home décor canvas)
• ¼ yd. of medium to heavyweight contrast fabric for corners (denim or canvas would be perfect – I used home décor faux suede)
• ½ 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)
Appliqué Supplies
• 10” x 10” scrap of white appliqué fabric (cotton or felt) for bodies & eyes
• 2” x 2” scrap of black appliqué fabric (cotton or felt) for pupils
• 5” x 5” 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. The first step is making the corner patches for your bag 🙂 Layer one of your corner patches with a corresponding lining piece, then sew them together along the curved edge. Trim the seam allowances so your curve turns more cleanly, then turn the corner right side out and press it firmly. Repeat this with the other three corner pieces.

2. To achieve the patch look on your bag, align your corner patch against the corner of your bag front. You should be able to match them up against the angled shape at the corner. Then sew the patch in place by edge stitching along the curved edge where you just made the previous seam. Repeat this with the other three corner patches and the other bottom corners of your bag for both the front and the back.

3. Now onto the appliqué! You have the choice of applying heavy duty fusible web to your appliqué fabrics, then ironing the pieces on. Or you can apply lightweight fusible web and sew the pieces on. Use the pattern guideline for placement help, and apply the pieces on the side that you want to be the front. I personally sewed my pieces on with a zigzag stitch.

4. Once the appliqué is done, you can start to see your bag come together! Layer your bag front over the bag back with right sides facing, then sew them together along the sides and bottom edges. Skip over the corners as we’ll be sewing those next.

5. Fold the corners at an angle to make the bottom and side seams match up. You’ll be left with a nice straight raw edge. Sew down that edge to create some depth for your bag. Repeat this with the other corner and your bag is really starting to take shape! At this time you’ll want to go back and repeat steps 4 & 5 with your lining pieces as well. Be sure during step 4 to skip over the opening indicated by the pattern guideline for turning the bag right side out.

6. Before we can finish things up, we need to make the straps. Take your strap pieces and fold under the long edges by ⅝” each. Iron the folds in place. Then fold the entire strap in half lengthwise so the folded edges meet and iron that in place as well. Finish the strap by sewing these folded edges together with an edge stitch.

7. To attach the straps to your bag you’ll need to baste them in place first. Take one raw end of your strap and line it up against the top edge of your bag, centering it within the pattern guidelines. Baste it in place by sewing it within the seam allowances. Take the other end of the same strap and line it up on the other set of pattern guidelines from the same side of the bag. Baste that end in place as well in the same manner, being sure that the strap isn’t twisted when you do so. Repeat this with the back of your bag in the same way and your straps are now neatly in place!

8. To add your lining to the bag, nestle your main bag into the lining piece with right sides facing each other. Line up the top edge, making sure the straps are sticking down into the bag. Sew around the perimeter of this top edge.

9. Turn the bag right side out from the opening in the lining, then press the top seam nice and crisp. For a nice professional look, edge stitch close to that finished seam, about ⅛” away from the edge. Also sew the opening closed in your lining either with a hand-sewn ladder stitch or a machine-sewn edge stitch. Now go try on your bag because YOU’RE DONE!

Okay, so I promise to take it easy on the Miyazaki motifs for a while 😀 I can’t promise it will be for very long, but I’ll try.
But other than that, what do you think? Let me know in the comments!
I hope you enjoy making this project!

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

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.