If you’ve read more than about 3 posts on this blog, you can tell that I have a thing about cats. Specifically, black cats. So it makes sense that if I were to make myself a new bag, it would have a black cat on it.
This cat tote has a cat face on the front, a cat tail on the back, and – best of all – four kitty paws hanging from the bottom. Squee!! Those paws are killin’ me!
I’ve been carrying this bag around for the past week or so and I’ve gotten compliments everywhere I go! People especially like the kitty paws, I think because they’re unexpected and a fun detail.
I’m calling this my Paws And All Cat Tote and I’ve got a free pattern and tutorial for you below.
The bag is made from a canvas so it’s good and sturdy. The boxed bottom makes it roomy and also lets those fabulous kitty paws stand out. Finished dimensions are approximately 14” tall x 15” wide x 3” deep. It’s big enough to carry my laptop, so that’s perfect for me.
The inside is lined with a quilting weight cotton. I didn’t add a pocket, but you could easily do that if you like. The straps are easily attached with large plastic grommets, like you find in the drapery section of the fabric store. This was my first time using those grommets, and they’re so easy to install I’m wondering why I waited so long.
Fabric & Supplies
3/4 yard fabric for the main bag pieces. Use canvas, home dec weight fabric, or interfaced quilting weight cotton.
1/2 yard quilting weight cotton for the lining
1/2 yard fabric for the cat face. For a cleaner finish use a fabric that won’t fray, such as knit, vinyl, or high quality felt.
1 yard fusible webbing
4 1” drapery grommets
Glue stick (optional)
Cut the pieces
From the main bag fabric, cut the following:
2 pieces 16” x 16” (bag body)
1 piece 16” x 4” (bag bottom)
2 pieces 39” x 4” (bag straps)
From the lining, cut the following:
2 pieces 16” x 18”
From the cat applique fabric, cut the following:
1 piece 16” x 4”
Cat paws (8)
Iron fusible webbing to the back of all cat applique pieces except the paws.
For the cat face, cut the following from fabric scraps with fusible webbing ironed to the back:
Cat nose (pink fabric)
Cat eyes (yellow, green, gray, or white)
Cat pupils (black)
All seam allowances are ½” unless otherwise noted.
Make the cat paws
Sew 2 paw pieces wrong sides together around the sides and top using a contrasting thread. Trim seam allowance to ¼”. Repeat for the remaining paw pieces, to create 4 cat paws.
On each cat paw, stitch lines from the bottom to create their itty witty cat fingers. (You may want to mark the stitch lines with an erasable pencil first.)
Make the outer bag
Fuse the 4” x 16” knit piece to the 4” x 16” canvas piece. This will be the bag bottom.
Fuse the cat front piece to one of the 16” x 16” canvas pieces. Fuse the cat back piece to the other 16” x 16” canvas piece.
Top stitch the cat front and back pieces with a contrasting thread.
Arrange the cat eyes, pupils, and nose on the cat face. Fuse in place and top stitch to secure.
Using notches as a guide, pin cat paws to bottom of bag front and back pieces, raw edges aligned. Baste in place ¼” from the edge.
Sew one long side of the bag bottom to the bottom of the bag front, right sides together. Press the seam allowance open.
Sew the other long side of the bag bottom to the bottom of the bag back, right sides together. Press the seam allowance open.
Fold whole thing in half and sew down both sides.
Finally, box the corners to give it a 3” bottom.
A couple of tips for this step:
You may want to pin the paw pieces to bag body to keep them from getting caught in your boxing seam.
The seam where you attached the bag bottom will fall near or on where you need to sew across the box the corner. Try to adjust the boxing seam to avoid sewing directly on that seam. Reinforce with another line of stitching 1/8” away, and don’t trim the corners off.
If you haven’t boxed corners before, here’s a good tutorial showing how.
Make and insert the lining
Sew lining pieces right sides together at sides and bottom.
Box the corners to give it a 3” bottom. (The boxing seam will be 1.5” from the tip of the flattened corner.) Trim the corners off.
Place the lining inside the bag, wrong sides together.
Baste the lining and bag together around the top, ¼” from the edge.
Turn ¼” down to the inside of the bag, and press. Then, turn another ¾” down toward the inside and press, creating a double fold hem. Use a glue stick to glue baste. Iron to make sure the glue is dry.
Top stitch the hem in place 5/8” from the edge.
Make and attach the straps
Mark grommet centers 3” from the bag sides and 1.75” from the bag top.
Follow manufacturer’s instructions to install the grommets.
Fold the short ends of the strap pieces under ½”. Press.
Press strap pieces in half lengthwise, then open up and fold long edges to the center and press again.
Top stitch close to the edge down sides of the strap.
For each strap, thread the strap through the grommets being careful not to twist the strap, overlapping 1.5” toward the back. Clip or pin in place.
Sew across the ends of the strap. You’ll be sewing through quite a few layers, so sew slowly and hand crank the stitches as needed. I reinforced the seam by sewing a box, ¾”’ tall and with an X-stitched across.
You’re done. Now go show everyone your new Paws And All Cat Tote! I bet they’ll squeal over those kitty paws.