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Who doesn’t love the soft, buttery texture of neoprene? This easy neoprene tote bag is the perfect tutorial if you’re just getting started sewing, have never worked with neoprene before, or are simply in the mood for a quick project.

The large, exterior pocket is roomy enough to hold it’s own full size notebooks, a tablet, or folders. The inside is spacious enough to hold large binders, a full size laptop, and anything else you may need throughout the day. Above all, I think the best part about this little tote is it’s minimalist lines and streamlined design.

How to make a neoprene tote with beginner sewing pattern

But before we can truly dive into this tutorial, let’s take a step back.

What exactly is neoprene?

Traditional Neoprene is a rubber filled fabric sandwiched by polyester on either side for a smooth finish. The rubber filling makes neoprene fabric waterproof. It’s extremely durable, stretchy and retains it’s original shape really well. Usually, when sewists talk about neoprene, what they actually mean is “scuba” fabric. Scuba fabric is constructed in a similar way yet filled with a waffle-like weave in the center, creating a thick, squishy feel that is far easier to work with. It also comes nicely insulated and doesn’t have a “wrong” side, meaning you don’t need to line projects created in scuba neoprene fabric. It also won’t unravel and creates a beautiful, unfinished edge if it’s cut well. I prefer using a rotary cutter rather than scissors to make clean cuts.

Scuba Neoprene Tote Bag Supplies

How To Make A Scuba Neoprene Tote Bag

In designing this pattern (again, you can get it HERE) I wanted to make the process as easy as possible to assemble from your basic, at-home printer. This multi-page pattern comes with black arrow notches that line up along with numbered pages so you can spread them out in the correct order and tape the pattern together. When your pattern is printed and taped, it will look like this:

Foldover Tote Bag

—To Get This Printable Pattern CLICK HERE—

Cut each pattern piece out of paper and then lay on your scuba neoprene fabric. Cut two pieces of the “Tote Bag Body” and “Tote Bag Side” pattern pieces but only one piece of the “Tote Bag Pocket” and the “Tote Bag Bottom.”

How to make a structured neoprene tote bag from scratch with sewing pattern. step by step tutorial

Tip: When cutting scuba neoprene fabric, be sure to use a stretch needle or ballpoint needle. The waffle weave center of this fabric will be easy for a ballpoint needle to go through but the stretch exterior call for a ballpoint or stretch needle. Using a woven needle on stretch fabrics can cause excess tears and be harder on your fabric overall. 

When cutting out your pattern pieces, use a rotary cutter to make extra clean, sharp lines.

How to make a neoprene tote with sewing pattern

Once you’ve decided what color the exterior of your tote bag will be, line up both of the tote bag sides with one body piece. Pin along the long edges and sew into place, making sure the right sides are together. Set these pieces aside for a minute.

How to sew a minimalist neoprene tote bag from scratch!

Before we can attach the other “Tote Body” to the bag, we need to attach the pocket. Either leave the edge raw or use Black Bias Binding Tape across the top edge. If you don’t want to buy pre-made binding tape, check out this tutorial to make your own.

How to sew a neoprene tote bag from scratch

Pin your pocket to the tote along the bottom and sides. Sew into place using a standard straight stitch.

How to make a structured neoprene tote bag from scratch with sewing pattern

From here your Scuba Neoprene Tote Bag is beginning to take shape! Now we get to attach the bottom!

How to sew a structured neoprene tote bag from scratch with pattern

Pin the bottom of the bag in place and sew to secure.

How to sew a structured neoprene tote bag from scratch

Before flipping the bag right-side-out, take a minute to clip the excess corners from the bottom of your bag. This eliminates bulk and creates a nice, crisp edge. If you accidentally trim a thread, take it back to your sewing machine and re-stitch.

How to sew a minimalist neoprene tote bag from scratch

Now when you flip your bag right-side-out, it should look nearly complete! Look at that pretty little corner!

How to sew a neoprene tote from scratch

Our last and final step in creating the perfect Neoprene Tote Bag is adding the handle. In this design, the handle is actually part of the body of the bag. If you haven’t already, use your pattern to trace the outline of your handle and cut out.

To complete the project, I finished the raw edge with 1/4″ Bias Binding Tape for a clean, minimalist look. It gave the handle just enough reinforcement to handle daily wear and tear while still looking polished.

How to make a neoprene tote from scratch

Now your tote is ready to be packed and used!

Mine is going to be used primarily as a sleek laptop sleeve that also holds my massive day planner and gratitude journal (Read all about that HERE) How will you use yours?

—To Get This Printable Pattern CLICK HERE—

How to sew a neoprene tote bag from scratch

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How to make a neoprene tote with printable sewing pattern How to make a neoprene tote with easy beginner sewing pattern

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Lisa Mecham

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