Rope Handle Tote Bag

Warmly welcome to Quilt For Lovers!! These rope bag become the favorites of all those who make them, they are very perfect!! They are not huge, about 10 cm high and 16 cm wide, even though they have a lot of things and on top of that they are beautiful!

This bag fits any occasion, it could be your new bag (stop to think, what an amazing thing… to use a magnificent bag, to receive compliments and to be able to say: “Did you like it? I did it!!), gym bag, diaper bag, whatever you need. You can also gift someone, because for sure the person will be very happy and make good use or even make to sell!

Materials needed for a rope bag:

  • 1/2 yard cotton canvas (or other 44 cm wide fabric) for the top
  • 1/2 yard cotton canvas (or other 44 cm wide fabric) for the bottom
  • 1 meter of HeatnBond fuse wool or other stabilizer (use HeatnBond fuse wool or the medium weight interface would also work)
  • 4 sets of eyelets and the tools to apply them
  • 1 3/4 cotton rope for the handles

As you can see, use cotton canvas both inside and outside your bags, in addition to the fusible wool stabilizer. These bags are resistant and withstand a lot of use. If you use quilted cotton, the suggestion is to use a fusible fleece on the external parts, as well as an interface (such as HeatnBond lite) on the internal parts.

About this beautiful 100% cotton rope, you can find it in the section of ornaments for home decoration (there are other sources online that you can try); grommets can also be found in the decoration section (first time you buy grommets, you need to get the package that includes the tools) and after that, you can buy packages with grommets only.

Note: Tools cost just a few dollars more. These grommets are easy to install. Don’t even think twice about them!

Cutting Instructions:

Start by cutting

  • 4 rectangles 7 1/2” by 19” from the ‘top fabric’
  • 4 rectangles 7 1/2” by 19” from the ‘bottom fabric’
  • 2 rectangles 5 1/2” by 10” from either fabric for the pockets

Stitching the bag:

Pair one ‘top fabric’ with one ‘bottom fabric’ and sew together along one long edge. If one or both of your prints are directional, then make sure your prints are going the way that you want them to. Repeat for all 4 sets of large rectangles.

Press the seam toward the bottom fabric and top stitch close to the seam. Repeat for all 4. These are now your ‘side panels.’

Cut two pieces of 14 ” x 19 ” wool to the outside. Merge the two pieces of wool fused into 2 of the side panels; as parts sewn with external side fuse panels and as parts without internal side fuse panels.

Download the free curve template

It is 5” wide and .75” tall if you want to draw your own. Fold each side panel in half to find the center. Align the center marks on the template with the center top of the bag, and cut out the curve. Repeat on all of the side panels.

Next cut 2 1/2” squares from the bottom corners of each side panel. The shape of all of the side panels should look like this.

For the pocket, pin the 5 1/2” x 10” rectangles right sides together and sew around all of the edges. Leave a 4” opening for turning on the bottom. Clip corners, turn, press, and topstitch along the top edge.

Pin the pocket on one of the lining panels. The pocket should be centered, over about 1” of the bottom fabric. Stitch around the sides and bottom of the pocket with a 1/4” seam allowance (this will close the opening). Then stitch a dividing line (or more than one) if desired.

Pin the side exterior panels and the side interior panels together along the sides and bottom.

Stitch with a 1/2” seam allowance. Leave a 5” opening on the bottom of the interior panels for turning the bag.

Press all seams open. Pinch the corners to align the side and bottom seams and box the corners. Pin.

Stitch corners with a 1/2” seam allowance.

Turn the bag exterior right side out and place the bag interior over it, right sides together. Pin all around the top.

Stitch all around the top of the bag with a 1/2” seam allowance. Try to pivot at the curve edges even though it’s not a sharp turn.

Clip a wide notch over the corner of each curve. Then make lots of clips along the curves to help them turn. Clip close to the stitching without cutting it.

Turn the bag right side out through the opening in the interior. Push the corners out with your fingers or a turning tool.

Stitch the opening closed either by hand or by machine.


Press the top of the bag and top stitch 1/4” from the edge.

Adding the grommets and rope:

Use the larger half of one grommet to draw a circle at the top of the bag, in one of the curve corners. The grommet should be about 1/4” from the edges. The circle will be about 1/2” from the edges.

Cut out the circle through both layers. It helps to make a hole with your seam ripper and then cut around with little scissors.

These are the two extra tools that are needed to install the grommet. The tool on the left is the anvil and the tool on the right is the setter.

The larger (front) side of the grommet fits on the anvil; the setter is positioned on the back side of the grommet and struck with

So place the larger half of the grommet through the hole on the front of the bag, and place the smaller half of the grommet over it on the inside of the bag. On a hard surface (such as the floor) place the anvil under the grommet on the bottom (the front of the bag) and position the setter tool on top. Strike hard with a hammer. It’s okay to strike not-so-hard at first to see how much force is necessary to bend the metal and set the grommet. Just keep pounding until the grommet looks perfect.

Like this. 

Repeat until you have 2 grommets for each bag handle.

Cut two 28” lengths of rope. If the shop worker placed tape on the end of your rope remove it before you measure. Push the end of one rope section from the inside of the bag to the outside and tie a knot. Push the other end of the rope section through the remaining grommet on the same side of the bag and make a knot. Fray the ends, if desired and trim the strings so they are even.

Repeat the procedure for the other handle and your bag is ready!

See too: Morning Star Block

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