Corset-Laced Tote Tutorial

25 Oct

My final item for the reddit craftit swap: The corset-laced tote! Throughout the project it gained the nickname “That Goddamn Tote”; multiple times I wanted to just give up and burn the stupid thing because it wasn’t turning out how I’d hoped. I’m so glad I stuck with it, though; when I’ve forgotten how much of a pain it was to make and I’m crazy enough to start another one I’m totally making one for myself :-D May I present to you, That Goddamn Tote!

Ta da!

You will need

  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Eyelets and tools necessary to set them
  • Scissors, preferably small, sharp, pointed scissors to help with putting the eyelets on
  • Seam ripper, also for putting the eyelets on
  • Pins
  • Lace
  • Ribbon
  • Fabric
    • Outer fabric, I chose black denim
    • Lining fabric, I chose a simple black fabric
    • Outer accent fabric, I chose natural muslin
    • Fabric strap or webbing, I chose webbing


I dyed my lace using coffee. Please disregard the icky background, this picture is just to show how much the dyeing affected the lace. I dyed my lace using about a cup and a half of coffee and two tablespoons of white vinegar, soaked over night then allowed to dry and ironed lightly. If I recall correctly, this is the exact same shade it looked like it was the night I put it in, so use that as a guide and add water if necessary to lighten your coffee to the right color. Just let your lace sit for a minute, check color, rinse the lace and add water to your coffee if necessary. Once the test color comes out right, soak overnight.

Gather your supplies! Top row: 2x black denim, 3.5"x9.5"; 1x black denim, 9.5"x9.5"; 2x black denim, 2"x9.5" (I used 2.5"x9.5" but it was too wide). Bottom row: 2x lace, 10"; 2x muslin (since it's thin), 3.5"x9.5"; 2x lining, 9"x9" (I used 9.5"x9.5" for mine but it was too big). You'll also need straps, I used two pieces of 1"x22.5" webbing but you could make a strap with your black denim. Iron everything (except the webbing)!

Take one of your 9.5"x2" pieces of the black denim and fold it lengthwise with the right side facing inwards. Sew across the top and bottom and repeat with the other piece. I used about a 1/4" seam on each side and it worked out wonderfully.

Tie off the ends of your thread then carefully snip the corner of your fabric off.

Turn your fabric right side out and poke out the corners with a small blunt object (I use chopsticks). Take some chalk, mark lengthwise where you will be sewing (top line in this pic) then mark halfway between your first mark and the edge (bottom line). Next, figure out how many eyelets you want (I chose 6) and draw lines at equal distances apart (vertical lines).

Place your eyelets where your chalk lines intersect. I started by taking my seam ripper and ripping a couple threads from the denim, then using my pointed scissors to bore out a hole while ripping more threads when necessary, then finally snipping the frayed edges clean. Wash off your chalk lines before setting your eyelets.

Take one of your 3.5"x9.5" pieces of black denim, pin a piece of lace, then one of your strips of eyelets (pretty side facing TOWARDS the black denim), then your muslin.

Before sewing, make sure everything is in the right order. Then sew (making sure to catch everything in the seam!!). Repeat for the other side, pinning the muslin to the eyelet strip (pretty side facing the denim you'll be sewing it to), lace, then black denim, and sew it all together!

Open everything up, spritz with a bit of water, and using a very low iron (I think I set mine to 2 or 3, not sure if the settings are universal) flatten everything out. When you're done with that side, flip it over, spritz, and iron the other side.

Pin your pretty side to the plain black denim with right sides facing one another. Sew around both sides and the bottom, being VERY careful to not sew your eyelet strips when you sew across the bottom, go really slow.

Flip it right side out, push out the corners, and admire! Set this aside for now.

Take your lining and sew around three sides (I had to keep bringing my seam in closer on one side to get it to fit nicely inside the bag). Leave an opening at the bottom center about 3 inches long so that you can turn everything right side out later.

Pin your straps in place as shown but don't sew them down or fold anything over yet!

Ok, here's the difficult to describe part. Keeping the straps pinned to the outer, turn it inside out; your pins will now be inside. Next, turn your lining inside out and place it inside your outer so that both pretty sides are facing one another and line up the seams for the lining and outer as best as you can. Make sure you move your straps out the way of where you'll be sewing, then (without letting your straps shift) unpin your straps and pin everything together.

Sew around the top to hold your lining in place. For the straps I always go over them, reverse to go over it again, then continue forward with my stitching for better strength. When you stitch across your muslin, once again go very slowly to make sure you don't catch your eyelet strip in it!

Pull your lining out and reach through the hole you left in the lining to turn everything right-side out.

Ta da! Now that everything's right side out, fold the fabric into your magic hole and stitch right across where the hole is, then stuff the lining into the purse.

With the lining inside, stitch all the way around the purse to hold the lining in place.

Thread your ribbon through the eyelets (I didn't measure my ribbon, sorry!).

Make sure to tie your bow nicely.

And you're done!


3 Responses to “Corset-Laced Tote Tutorial”

  1. Linda Matthews November 29, 2010 at 8:29 AM #

    Thanks for such a great tutorial! I added it to my November listings for Free Tote Purse & Bag Tutorials at

  2. Bonnie Reid August 28, 2012 at 8:04 AM #

    Bonnie Reid
    August 28, 2012 at 11:00 a.m.
    Thanks so much….this is an awesome pattern and even though I made two of these to get it right, I did it. I don’t sew very much and found this tutorial so helpful. I am going to enter it in our local fair and then give it to my grand-daughter.

    • Kyoti August 29, 2012 at 8:56 PM #

      Yeah this is a very complex pattern!! I’m so glad I did a tutorial for it so that one of these days I can make one for myself, lol!

      If you have pictures I’d love to see them! And best of luck :-)

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