I took the Sew a Tote class at Crafty Planet about a year ago and I've been making them ever since. They are addictive and make great gifts.
Here is how I make them.
I cut two 18" squares each out of the fabric for the outside, the fabric for inside and the canvas for the lining.
I cut one strip 4" x the width of the fabric and cut in half at the center fold.
Two pieces 2" x 20+" of the canvas are used for the handles.
I sandwich the inside fabric right sides together between the two canvas pieces. I also put the inside fabric pieces right sides together.
I sew the sides and bottoms closed using a 1/2" seam to form two separate bags.
Next I cut a 3" inch square out of the bottom corners of each of the bags, one with the outside fabric and the other with the inside fabric.
I press the seams open.
Then I match up the seams on the sides and bottoms of the square cutout and sew it closed. This forms the bottom of each bag.
I press the canvas handle piece in half along the width, so that they now measure 1"x20+".
The handle fabric pieces are pressed in half and the raw edges are pressed to the center fold. These folded pieces should also measure 1"x20+".
The canvas handle pieces get folded inside the handle fabric. I top stitch both edges of the folded handle.
I sew the handles to the outside of the bag as shown, approximately 4 1/2" from the side seam of the bag, using a 1/4 " seam allowance.
The inside fabric bag is put right sides together with outside bag and is stitched close.
Leave an opening between one of the handles to turn the bag right side out.
Press the top seam and top stitch around the top of the back to close the opening.
Now the most important step. Think of all the people you know and find your tote a good home.