Tote and Tutorial



I made this purse a while ago, and it’s taken me a ridiculously long time to post it. I was doing my regular free fabric collecting when I came across these samples that were just too good to pass up! I was just shocked at how close the colors were, and how well the different textures go together. So, I made a tote from it!

I was wanting to do something a little different from the pleated purse pattern which I made not too long ago. So, I made it a little smaller, and added a different kind of pleat in the design. It was surprisingly easy to make it, I think I’ll be doing it again in leather. I’ve got some good leather that I think would look nice. I scanned the pattern in, and made a printer friendly pattern that you can download here or click the button below.


This printable is subject to’s terms of use – this may be used free for personal use only.


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    1. Amanda says:

      Ooh! I like it! (Of course, I like pretty much everything you make…)

    2. I didn’t think I needed another bag but yours has changed my mind. I think I will need to get over my fear of patterns and try this one. Is it best to use heavier fabric like you have?

    3. Melissa says:

      I think it’s best to use thicker fabric. I used thinner fabric on the first purse I made like this, and it’s just a little flimsy. Maybe try backing some cotton with pellon, or something like that.

    4. […] found the pattern at IS*LY, through a quick google image search for a purse pattern. It looked like the perfect size […]

    5. […] compliments on my newest go-bag, and a couple of requests. Tracy bought the fabric needed for the Penelope Tote from ISLY. She fell in love with the print and matched the green for the outside. She also asked that I do a […]

    6. simona says:

      thank you, tha bag is lovely, the post alse!!

    7. angelina says:

      this looks so professional: i love it ,thank yoU!

    8. jackie says:

      I LOVE your bag! I’ve been needing a new one a bit bigger than my last, and this looks perfect-although i may lengthen the straps to be over the shoulder.

    9. Love it Melissa! I got a sewing machine for my birthday and this is the FIRST thing I am going to make! Hope your cute family is doing well

      <3 Abby

    10. Anne Brown says:

      Since we lost our paid teacher at the local Senior Center, I’m now teaching the class for free a class. May I use Melissa Esplin’s “Penelope Tote Pattern for the class? There are 6 to 8 ladies (68 to 90 years) in the class. Can I make copies of the pattern to hand out? Thank you,
      Anne Brown

    11. Erica K says:

      I love that! I especially love the fabrics you used…

    12. Hilda says:

      lovely bag! I’m so excited to make this!

    13. Melissa, I just LOVE the fabrics you used in the bag! I will take your advice and hunt down some similar…also thinking some lovely pre-loved tapestry would be gorgeous.

    14. minimanuals says:

      Hi, I’d like to make this bag and i’d like to know the amount of each fabric you’ve used. Thanks

    15. […] Buradan yapilisini indirebilirsiniz pdf olarak Ilgili yazilar; […]

    16. Becca says:

      I just made this tote and am in love with it! I think I will make several of them as gifts for my bridesmaids. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

    17. I made my first purse!!! And I LOVE it! I don’t think I’ve gotten more compliments on a bag before, so thank you. :) I gushed over it here:

    18. […] handbag (using awesome Dia de los Muertos fabric from Loom in […]

    19. […] found the pattern at IS*LY, through a quick google image search for a purse pattern. It looked like the perfect size […]

    20. […] Astazi: Penelope tote realizata de  Melissa Esplin […]

    21. […] I don’t think I’ve shown this on the blog before, either.But if you know me, you’ve definitely seen it a bunch.I made it using this pattern and tutorial. […]

    22. […] strap I could wear messenger-style (so much safer when traveling). It had seen better days. I found this too-cute pattern on the IS•LY blog, and decided to give it a shot. This is what I wound up […]

    23. […] However, I know myself too well—I want to be able to throw a purse over my shoulder. So clutches were out. Then I came across a purse that has a lot of the same design elements, but has some nice color contrast and regular straps, too. It’s the Penelope Tote by Melissa Esplin: […]

    24. […] Tutorials – Olivia Bag – Hip Pouch – 32 Minute Messenger Bag – Shoulder Bag – Hobo Bag – 1-hour Bag – Basic Purse – The Hipslinger – Pleated Tote – Phoebe Bag – Half-yard Bag – Oversized Owl Bag – April Bag – Pleated Purse – Buttercup Bag – Penelope Tote […]

    25. […] been mulling over the idea of making a leather tote for years now, so this case was screaming to be a leather-bottomed […]

    26. Cate says:

      I love this bag!! Please check the ones that I make.

    27. Michelle says:

      Hello, I am a self taught sewer, I love the bag but I need a little help with sandwiching the whole thing together.
      I have already taken it apart twice. Could you please tell me the order of the pieces as I lay them down and if they are right side or wrong side down. Sorry to sound so elementary, but sometimes this is the hardest part of a pattern for me.
      Thank You

    28. Bekah says:

      Just found your pattern via Sew Can She…if I download the pattern, to I also receive rights to make this purse and sell it? Been looking for a cute, simple project to produce and sell to benefit a friend’s adoption fund.

    29. Jan says:

      Love this. Thank you.

    30. laura says:

      where can I find the pattern for this. I just love it. I am such a purse/tote nut so just have to have this one too!! hugs.

    31. laura says:

      OH I just had a duh moment I see now where the pattern is. sorry.

    32. veronica says:

      Where do you find free ffabric?

    33. Susan says:

      Thanks for this lovely pattern! If anyone wants to see another version of it, I’ve posted my attempt at…
      …although I see now that I may have finished the bottom pleat incorrectly. No matter, it turned out beautifully!

    34. I almost never leave comments, but i did a few searching and wound up here Tote and Tutorial – ISLY |
      I Still Love You. And I actually do have a couple of questions for you if
      you tend not to mind. Is it only me or does it give the impression like some of these remarks come across as if they are coming from brain dead
      individuals? :-P And, if you are writing on additional online social sites, I’d like to follow anything new you have to post. Would you list of all of your public pages like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

    35. Elsie says:

      Can you make a picture tutorial instead of all verbal instructions? I need a visual to help me. My brain cannot focus on just words. Thank you!

    36. Ann Marie says:

      I am not getting the pleat, sorry but can you simplify it please

      • Celeste Vazquez says:

        Im having the same problem. i have everything cut out and can’t seem to make the pleat do this. can someone help?

        • Melissa says:

          So the excess on the top part of the pleat should be on the inside and the excess on the bottom part of the pleat should be on the outside. Hope that helps.

    37. Great Tutorial! I’ve linked it up at ChrisW Designs Bag Brag Tuesday linking party….I hope you will stop by and check it out! :)

    38. kath says:

      I can’t wait to get the Pattern, I’ve been Looking for “Something Nice in a Combo Tote Bag”.
      Thank You Very Much.

    39. Deb says:

      Can we see an inside shot?

    40. […] Get the free tote bag pattern here […]

    41. Graham says:

      Love the bag but what size seams are you using or do I add them to the pattern before I cut it out?

    42. Myriam says:

      Can i have the patroon so i can make this bag

    43. Nancy says:

      I love your cute bag. Of course I am known by all my friends as the “Bag Lady”. You can never have too many of them!!!

    44. Penny says:

      Great bag, having trouble putting it all together tho. I have 4 pieces, 2 outer, 2 lining. do I layer all of them or have they each been paired somehow and sewn so I only have 2 layers?? I have made many bags – you have stumped me! Please help

      • Melissa says:

        You’ll sew the bottom of the outers together and the bottom of the inners together. Put right sides together (the outer being inside with the right side facing out) and sew the handles (sandwiched between the layers) and the top together. You’ll leave a 6″ opening so you can flip everything right-side out. Topstitch around the opening to secure to place.

    45. Perrie says:

      This is lovely. Just want to know how u made the base of the bag.

    46. Lola King says:

      I Love this pattern!!! Can’t wait to make it on my new heavy-duty Singer sewing machine!!! :) Thank you!!!

    47. Terry says:

      Worst. Instructions. Ever. And I know how to sew. Sooooo many steps were left out. Time to re-address the instructions. Beginners will never figure this out. I did finally figure this out on my own but that’s just because I’m a diabolical genius. It is a pretty purse.

    48. […] I made a little bigger version for my grandma. Cathedral Window Quilt by Hyena in Petticoats Tote Tutorial by I Still Love You – Just challenging enough to still be […]

    49. […] followed a pattern from Melissa Esplin, and although the fabric wasn’t right, I still have a super cute, usable bag. Good enough for […]

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