Ruffle Tote Bag Tutorial

I started out to make this bag thinking it would be cute but not something I would carry around myself. I was really just doing it as a project option for Week 5 of the Learn to Sew series. But now that it’s done I am in love and I think I just might keep it for myself. If you have a daughter I think it would be fantastic as a little dance bag or you could use it yourself for a library bag. Anyway, I’m pretty excited to show you this ruffle tote bag tutorial.

Ruffle Tote Bag Tutorial

Three layers of ruffles on a cute little tote bag.

Ruffle Tote Bag

And it’s got hot pink in it. And that makes me happy. But you can do any colors that you want!

Girls Dance Bag

And guess what? It’s really not too hard to make at all. Bet you’ll wow people with this one when you are out on the town.

Ruffle Tote Bag

OK, so enough talk. Let’s make this thing!

Ruffle Tote Bag Tutorial:

Supplies Needed:

3 coordinating fabrics. You’ll just need about 1/4 yard of each.

Coordinating ribbon-1-2 yards

1 tote bag (you get them at any craft store and they come in other colors too if you prefer)




1. Cut your fabric pieces so that they are 7″ by 44-45.”


2. Hem each fabric by folding under the long side (the raw edge) about 1/2 inch and then again about 1/2 inch and pressing it. Then straight stitch it in place. Do this on both of the long sides of all 3 pieces.


3. Now you are going to ruffle it. To do this, run a baste stitch along one of the hems you made then gently pull on the top thread and slide the fabric along it and gather it into a ruffle. (More about how to do this in Learn to Sew Lesson 5-coming next week). Gather it until it is twice the width of your tote bag or about 1 inch more.


4. Fold your ruffle in half with right sides together and sew the short end so that the fabric forms a loop now.


5. Slide your fabric onto your tote bag. For the bottom layer try to have it line up so that the bottom of the ruffle is at about the same level as the bottom of you bag. Pin it in place and then sew around the top of the ruffle.


6. Then slide your next layer on and do the same thing lining it up so that it overlaps the bottom layer but leaves several inches showing. Finally do the same with the top layer.


7. Then, pin your ribbon right over the top of your top ruffle (so that you hide the top edge of it). Sew that in place with a straight stitch at the top of the ribbon and at the bottom.


And that’s it! You could add a little bow for embellishment if you want. Pretty great isn’t it?


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Hey there! I'm Amber, mom of 4 crazy boys, wife of 1 and non-stop, always busy, crazy project doer. (There's a reason why we call it *Crazy* Little Projects.) I love chocolate, reading, sewing and being with people!
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    • Amber says

      You know, I have had several people ask me this and I haven’t known what to say. So, I’ve thought about it (hence the delay in responding) and this is what I think. I am fine with you selling things I have tutorials for (I don’t plan to do much selling of things so no worries there) but I would like some credit. So, if you could please put a link back to Crazy Little Projects (just the main page is fine) in your product listing I would really appreciate it! :)

      • says

        !! Thank you so much! You have some great ideas and projects! I’m already making them as gifts. Nice to know I can list them on our Etsy shop also. :)


  1. Tammy W says

    This is really cute but I have no need for another bag so I will make this with one of the bags I already have. I have bags with logos on them that I can use because you won’t see the logo once the ruffles are sewn on :)

    I love the fabric you used, ubber cute!!

  2. Christy S. Lube says

    That is SO cute!! I am confused on how to get the bag situated where you can sew the ruffle on it, though.

  3. Katka F says

    I was also wondering how you would position the bag so that you don’t sew the bag closed while sewing the 3 tiers of ruffles on it.

    • April says

      I had a similar issue and found that I had to set my stitch length to a longer length. Only set the longer stitch length for the part that is for forming the ruffle. I think I set it to 4 from 2.5. I was able to create my ruffle without breaking the thread. I hope this helps.

  4. says

    This is so cute Amber! I totally want to do your sewing series when I have a little more time. I have a nice lonely sewing machine sitting in my craft room! :)

  5. Lisa says

    My DD took one look at this and wants to make one. I think that we will sew our own tote bag to attach the ruffles to. It will be easier to attach the ruffles before sewing the bag together. Thanks for the cute idea!

  6. Tiffany says

    This would be a super cute halloween candy bag for my 2 yr old. When you fold the ruffle to form the loop how much do you fold under? Just enough to sew the two ends together?

  7. figureskater11 says

    Made this in under a hour! So excited about it, I got frustrated with the ruffles so I just sewed with shirring elastic thread for 2 rows and it did the job. I also did 4 ruffles instead of 3. Thank you so much for these patterns! ;)

  8. Ale Zavala says

    This is just fabulous! I can’t wait to make a couple of these for my girls.

    Question, is there some sort of measure for the length of the ruffle strips? I’m also thinking on making some as favor bags for my 2 year old’s birthday party but I was thinking on using the little canvas bags, I’m sure its easy to figure out but being a newby at sewing I rather ask

  9. Corina says

    When you say hem, do you want the straight stitch on the bottom? Also, for the 2 baste stitches, do you do one on top of your hem stitch and one below? Or where exactly do you put your 2 baste stitches in accordance to your hem stitch.

  10. sharon says

    Thanks bunches for all the time that you’ve put into your site for all of us!
    Making this for my daughter. Super excited~

  11. Nancy of IN says

    Love the tote for my grands. The only problem I see for the new sewer is how to sew on the ruffle. I know that you sew in the round with only the only layer under the needle but the pictures look like you are sewing flat. I can see my self sewing the tote closed.
    I hope to get one made for each of IN grands

  12. Bren says

    I just made one! It turned out so cute. I made it for my seven year old. I’m making mine tomorrow. I’ll probably have to make one for my 5 year old too. Thanks for the easy and fun project.

  13. jordan says

    So it has been a really really long time since I’ve done any sewing, but I want to start making some of my own dresses and stuff and was just looking for a place to reteach me the basics quickly without too much detail so that I can just skim through, refresh myself, and apply my knowledge again. I know I am late to this blog and this series but it is really awesome. This is the first of your projects I’m going to do because I never did much ruffling and it is super cute. I am making a couple of these this evening and am super excited about it.

    I just really wanted to say good job on the blog.

  14. April says

    Hi Amber,

    I made the ruffle bag with your step by step instructions and it was so easy to do. I had a ton of fun with it. I gave it away as a gift for my mom and am making two more for myself. Thank you so much for sharing your pattern and instructions.

  15. Lela Petty says

    I have a little rectangular purse that I like but don’t like the material. I’m going to alter your pattern and cover it. Thanks

  16. LESLIE F. says

    are you splitting open the tote bag to sew on the ruffles as I have found so many tutorials and they all show the tote bag intact and wondering how you are sewing on the ruffles without opening the side seams on the totes?

    • says

      No, just wrap the bag around the machine so that you are sewing through only one layer of the bag at a time and can go all the way around it.

  17. Marie B says

    Just saw the answer to the question I had about sewing the bag together when putting on ruffles! Yay! Now I can get to work…..thank, thank you, thank you! I love your projects…..all of them! I just feel bad because you don’t have a little girl to sew for….:(. Oh well. You have proven you can sew for boys, too!

    God bless, Amber!

  18. amie kelley says

    Hi amber, I am trying to sew a slightly ruffles strip onto the front of a dress and my machine keeps pulling it straight. Any advice

  19. Karen says

    Can this be done without an sewing machine? I can sew pretty good but must say am IN LOVE with this tote. Thank you so very much. Karen Carroll Clark.

  20. Paula says

    For the people wo do not have a portable sewing machine with the free arm for sewing inside a tube, this is the old fashioned way. It works just fine. First, I would pin on the bottom ruffle. Turn your bag inside out. Now you will put the bag with the opening toward the presser foot. Slide the bottom of the opening under the foot. Put the presser foot on the top of the ruffle and stitch. Be sure you are stitching only 1 layer. Do the same steps for the other rows of ruffle

  21. Jennifer says

    im trying to embellishing an existing bag. It is 24″ around and 5″ long. Can you help me adjust the amount of fabric? I’m new to sewing. Thanks.

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