Using Laminated Cotton to Make Oilcloth Tote Bags

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Learn how to make a quick and easy oilcloth tote bag. Laura Roberts shows you how to make the bag as well as gives you tips for working with oilcloth.


For this project, Laura uses an oilcloth fabric. It is strong, durable and comes in a variety of colors and prints. It is also water resistant, making it easy to clean and perfect for using as a grocery bag. You can also use laminated cotton for this project. One of the main differences between the two types of fabric is that laminated cotton is a high quality cotton fabric with a thin layer of polyurethane film on the right side of the fabric, whereas oilcloth is a thick layer of plastic coating over a cotton mesh. This makes oilcloth much stiffer and can be considered the better choice for the tote bag in this quilting tutorial.

Set Up

For making this oilcloth tote bag, Laura explains several changes that need to be made to your machine and supplies. She demonstrates how to try several test stitches to ensure the proper tension and stitch length that should be used when working with a thicker fabric such as oilcloth. She also recommends using a thicker thread, which also means that a different needle needs to be use to accommodate the thread. Laura recommends a topstitching needle, which has a larger eye.


Laura shows how to make a tote bag from one rectangle of fabric. She explains what size to cut the rectangle to ensure that three oilcloth tote bags can be made from one yard of fabric. She demonstrates how to stitch down both sides of the bag and explains what seam allowance to use and why she uses paper clips to hold the fabric together while stitching rather than pins. She then shows how to create a bottom to the bag, attach handles and finish the top of the bag with a folded hem.

If you enjoyed this project, make sure to check out our sister site, National Sewing Circle, for even more great oilcloth and tote bag projects!
Oilcloth Beach Bag Pattern
Oilcloth Wallet Pattern
How to Make a Reversible Tote Bag
Customizable Canvas Tote Bag Pattern

Tags: laminated fabric, Laura Roberts, oilcloth, Premium Videos, tote bag