Library Book Tote for Tots

4 01 2016

IMG_20151226_143425_322One of the gifts I gave my three year old grandson this Christmas was his very own library book tote. Although I modified the size of the bag’s body and the length of the handles, the construction method was basically the same as my “Unlimited Possibilities Tote Bag” on the Patterns page of this blog.


Nearly two years ago I purchased two fat quarters of “Spot” fabric from a bargain bin. Do you remember reading the “Spot” books to your toddlers? Lift-able flaps in the book hide animals such a bear, penguins, an alligator, a monkey, and a snake. What fun fabric for a book tote! Feeling like there was no time like the present, I dedicated an afternoon prior to Christmas to make the gift.

From each (18” x 21”) fat quarter I cut one 3 ½” strip along the 21” side; I made handles from these two strips.


To make the handles, I trimmed the two 3 ½” x 21” strips to 3 ½” x 14 ½.” I pressed 3/8″ to the wrong side along one of the 14 ½” sides, and I pressed 1” to the wrong side of the other 14 ½” side on both handles.


I slipped a 1” x 14 ½” strip of batting beneath the 1″ fold. Then I folded the 3/8″ pressed side over the raw edge of the 1″ pressed edge, overlapping at least ¼.” After pinning and stitching the overlapped folds down the center of both strips, I top-stitched the sides of the handles, 1/8” from the edges.

IMG_3757     IMG_3759

From the remainder of each fat quarter, I cut a rectangle 12 ½” x 21.” I set aside one as the tote lining.

For the outside of the bag, I placed one 12 ½” x 21” rectangle, right side up, on top of a 14 ½” x 23” piece of predominantly cotton batting. I pin basted and machine quilted the print to the batting, meandering with a gold thread that closely matched the color of “Spot.”


IMG_20151226_143442_916-1I trimmed the quilted piece to 12 ½” x 21.”  Next, I sewed the center back seam with 3/8” seam allowance and formed the box bottom of the bag as in the “Unlimited Possibilities Tote Bag” instructions.

I placed and pinned the handles 2” from the center of the bag front and 2” from the back center seam. See more complete instructions and diagrams in the “Unlimited Possibilities Tote Bag” pattern. I sewed the lining and assembled the bag.

As you can see from the photo, the bag will drag on the floor or ground if Aidan extends his arm fully. If you make a tote for a tot, you may wish to shorten the handles by several inches.

With his very own library tote bag, Aidan can proudly select and carry his own books!

You will find the link to a printer friendly version of these instructions on the Patterns page just below the “Unlimited Possibilities Tote Bag” pattern.




2 responses

4 01 2016

what a cute bag — I have some ninja turtle fabric that would make a great bag for a friends son! Thanks for sharing

5 01 2016
Jennifer Johnston

Just darling…..the tote and your grandson!!

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