How To Make a Square Bottom Bag

As promised, the very first WhatTheCraft video tutorial is here!


Check it out for step by step instructions for making a square bottom bag.

And while you’re at it, go subscribe to my YouTube channel!Β  There are lots more tutorials to come (including applique, inserting snaps, and t-shirt collars)!


This tutorial was filmed using a Creative Labs Vado HD Digital Video Camera, a Canon Rebel (for still shots), and edited in Sony Vegas Movie Studio.

Lots of people ask about making different sized bags. Here are a few sizes to use as guides, but you can of course make a bag of any size with this tutorial.
(Click for larger image.)

bagsizesRemember, these are guides only! If you want to try a different size, I’d suggest making a paper pattern first. That way, you can fold up the gusset and get a better feeling for what the bag size will be like when it’s completed.

37 thoughts on “How To Make a Square Bottom Bag

  1. Glad to see that you don’t practice what you preach. Yes indeed, irons make for crisp sewing and flat seams. A little hot heavy metal is always a good idea, no? Thanks for the toots!

  2. You are awesome and are single-handedly teaching me to sew. I am trying to convince my husband that groceries are just silly and I’d rather have one of your awesome coats! I was wondering, though, if I were to attempt to put a zipper on that there square bottomed bag, when would be the best time to do that?

  3. Thanks so much! I completely lost my zipper nerve this time and just went with a button. My button hole left much to be desired but, I swear, next time I WILL use a zipper. πŸ™‚

  4. I love your tutorials. They are so easy to follow and even though Im still a beginner, everything I make by following your tutorials I can actually wear or use afterwards. I may be totally getting ahead of myself here, but when might you be putting up some new tutorials for winter clothes?

    1. Thanks, Chris! While I hope to have some up soon (I’ve got a big list of ideas and tons of tutorials already filmed, just not edited together), but I’ll be moving over the next month, so it might be a while before there’s a lot of new tutorials… πŸ˜›

  5. Oh ok, good luck with your move and I’ll just keep checking back. I haven’t had alot of luck with other tutorials. Usually the ending product turns out crooked or the seems don’t match up or something. I might just try some of the other ones to practice until you get everything straight. Until then….

    1. If you want the whole bag to be bigger, you don’t really need to adjust the gusset unless you want a deeper bag. Just add 1.5″ to the sides and bottom of your bag and cut the gusset the same as in the tutorial.

      But if you want the gusset to be 3 inches deeper, add 1.5 inches to each side and the bottom, and cut the square notches for the gusset 1.5 inches wider. (So instead of 2″ x 2″ notches, they would be 3.5″ x 3.5″).

  6. hi, this tutorial was amazing. i have sewed bags before but the bottoms always came out weird, so thank you for the help. and as a child of the 80’s i do know what Popples are. lol πŸ™‚

  7. Glad to see that you don’t practice what you preach. Yes indeed, irons make for crisp sewing and flat seams. A little hot heavy metal is always a good idea, no? Thanks for the toots!

  8. Awesome! I wish I had seen this tut about 2 weeks ago when I was sewing a bag…. No square bottom on that bag but my next one will! Thank you and hoping to see MANY more in the future!

  9. Superior instructions to many of the tutorials I’ve seen! With the exception of “what’s a gusset?” it’s nice that you don’t assume a higher level of sewing knowledge and explain each step and process in clear understandable english very well. You also anticipate your students questions & concerns. I love your sewing machine too. Thanks for making sewing look achievable for everyone.

    1. Thanks, Judy! It’s funny that you mentioned “what’s a gusset?”, because I’d intended to try to explain it! I finally gave up, not being able to come up with a practical explanation. πŸ˜€

  10. I made a lovely double wine tote for a wedding gift for my friend. Your tutorial was so helpful. I watched the different steps over again as I made the bag. Your instructions were so clear and helpful. The video was very well done. I added a fabric wrapped piece of cardbord for the bottom of my tote. I also added their initals and a heart as appliques from your other tutorial. It turned out really nice. Wish I could post a picture. Thank you!!

      1. You are a wonderful teacher! The video is well done and I especially love the fast motion,going slow only when a technique is important. Wait until you see how I applied this pattern into a sewing caddie!(if it turns out?)

  11. Just watched this video and wanted to thank you for your straightforward, on point, and clear instructions. I’m making a bag (from a commercial pattern) and I was stuck because the pattern instructions are confusing and unclear. I watched your video, and you explained in under 15 minutes what has taken me hours to try to figure out. Now it makes sense. Thank you for making/sharing this tutorial! Question: have you made a similar bag with a flap, and, if so, is there a tutorial for it?

  12. Lex,
    You are one smart cookie. I’m 65 yrs. old and this one tut has taught me a lot. Who says you can’t teach an old gal new tricks! I wish I could send you a pic of the tote I made. It turned out gorgeous. I’ll try on gmail. Thanks for sharing your skills. You’re a very good teacher.
    Keep up the good work!

  13. This was awesome, thankyou!, I’m a bit of a novice sewer, but I’ve made about 5 of these as gifts for little girls! I even adapted a flap to them all, and added kam snaps as the fasteners. Was so easy!!

  14. Great teacher! Awesome video,clear, and especially loved the fast forward when warranted. I will look for all your tutorials since wonderful teachers are rare. I am using your pattern to create a sewing caddy. Hope it works out? Thank you!

  15. Thanks for the tutorial. I just finished my first hand and turned out great. Next time, I will make it a little bigger but I did learn a lot. Again, thanks.

  16. HI! I was just wondering…….do you ever put a piece of heavy cardboard or something in the bottom of the bag to keep the bottom
    in shape?
    Thank you,
    Loved the tutorial and am going to try it.

    1. I haven’t tried cardboard, because I’m too much of a slob. I need to be able to wash my bags, and the cardboard wouldn’t hold up.
      But there is fabric stabilizer called Peltex that will give you the stiffness and washability. You can sew it in or insert on its own. They should have it on a big roll with the interfacing at most fabric stores.

  17. Hi I have another question: I looked at your tutorial of the bag with the zippers. I noticed you didn’t use the iron on interfacing. Could it be used with the zippered bag or would that make it too thick?
    Thanks so much,
    Loved that video too,

    1. I actually did interface the zippered bag, but I left it out of the video in an effort to save time/omit redundancy. But everyone asks, so now I realize I should have at least mentioned it in the video. Lesson learned! It will depend on the fabric and interfacing weight, but generally, a quilting weight cotton and light-to-medium weight interfacing shouldn’t be too bulky.

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