Scissors Craft: Super Mini Tote/Birthday Treat Bag Tutorial

Remember the birthday shirt tutorial? The original impetus to use fabric for my daughter's birthday party was to create custom birthday treat bags. I toyed with lots of different patterns and ideas, finally deciding on a very simple mini tote. I shopped around for fabric and found something at Jo Ann's that I thought 1) the girls and my daughter would like, 2) did not completely offend my design sense and 3) would be a heavy enough twill to tote around marbles, pinecones, pennies and paperclips (all "treasures" my daughter ends up collecting).

For the record, I do not really sew. I am a "figure it out as it goes along" sort of person. So, no talent or skill needed to make this bag. Just a sewing machine and an iron. If you are only making one bag, you can do this in as little as 15 minutes. I made about 15 treat bag so I did all the steps in multiples, assembly-line style. Cut all the fabric, made all the handles, etc.

Scissors Craft: Super Easy, Super Cute Mini Tote/Birthday Treat Bag Tutorial

Step One: Cutting Your Fabric

Cut two pieces of fabric:
7.5" x 15" (body of bag)
3.5" x 15" (handle)

Note: You can scale the bag to whatever proportions you would like and follow the instructions below for construction.

Step Two: Construction of Handle

a) Take the fabric cut for your handle and put the wrong side face up. Iron the both edges over by 3/8".

b) Fold the fabric in half lengthwise and iron a nice crisp edge. Make sure the opposite edges meet up evenly.

c) Sew a straight seam along the edge, joining the two open edges.

d) Sew a straight seam down the folded edge. Set the handle aside.

Step 3: Construction of Bag

a) Take your piece of fabric for the bag and fold it in half, wrong side up. Iron the bottom fold.

b) Sew simple seams along the two sides of the bag (in about 1/4"). Do a reverse stitch at the end of the seam to anchor your stitches.

c) Fold over the top edge of the bag about 3/8". Iron fold. Fold over again as close to the fold as possible. Iron fold again.

d) Turn the bag right side out and iron flat. Use a chopstick or a knitting needle to push out corners.

Step 4: Connecting the Handle to the Bag

a) Undo the ironed folds at the top of the bag. Take your handle and place at the first ironed seam (edge of the handle meets the lowest crease line created when you ironed the edges over) and position it so that it is in the middle of the sewn seam of the body of the bag. Hold tightly in place. (I hope that makes sense!)

b) While holding the handle firmly in place, fold the second top, ironed fold of the bag back over.

c) Pin the handle in place so that you can sew your seam right over the pin. The handle is constructed like this to disguise the joining of the handle to the bag. Repeat steps a-c with the other side of the handle/bag.

d) With handle pinned in place on both sides, sew a seam around the top of the bag about 3/8" in from the edge of the bag. My sewing machine thankfully has a removable platform which makes sewing small  items like this extremely easy. Now you're done! See, pretty easy once you get the hang of it!

Step 5: Fill with Treats!

I filled the bags with all sorts of girly crafts, curly straws, homemade vegan chocolate chip cookies and healthy snacks. My husband lettered the girls names on the tags. The girls loved them and I had fun making them!


  1. Excellent craftwork and love the details... I am inspired...

  2. Thankyou! I used your tutorial to make party bags for my daughters birthday party. It was easy to follow and they looked great. I added an appliqué initial to each to make it personalised.


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