How to make a cathedral window tote bag

Learn how to make this cute and unique cathedral window tote bag and be proud of your creation!

“Pink and black” cathedral window tote bag

Cathedral window quilt pattern tote bag

To make this tote, you will no longer work with squares of fabric. You cut the original shape with a template and then fold twice to get a rectangular unit that forms the block. This variation adds differents shapes of windows to the design.


This is the classic method to make cathedral window technique. Make the units folding a square of fabric twice.

Then line up the units and make the window frame. You can sew it by machine or by hand.

Check the Cathedral window quilt course: rectangular units for a step-by-step tutorial to make the units. There you will also find the templates for the units and the windows to free download them.


3 1/2 yards of black cotton for the bases and the back (42” width)
1 fat quarter of pink printed cotton fabrics for the windows
1 fat quarter of black printed cotton fabrics for the inserts.

Size: 18″ x 18″

These are the units you need to make the tote bag. The next scheme will help you place every unit in its correct place.

cathedral window tote bag pattern

Cut 12 big units and 8 small units in black fabric with the templates.
Make 2 flower big units inserting the black floral rectangle.
Make 2 flower big units inserting the black and floral combination rectangle.
Make 8 big units without an insert.
Make 4 flower small units inserting the black and floral combination rectangle.
Make 4 small units without an insert.

Remember you will find all the templates in the PDF file you can download here: Cathedral window quilt course: rectangular units.

cathedral window quilt pattern

Prepare the inserts cutting the pieces with the templates and sew. Trim and press well. Place the pieced inserts into the envelope rectangles and close. When you have all the units done, join them and sew them together whit a zig-zag stitch or by hand.

cathedral window variation

Cut a piece of black fabric the same size as this base. Cut the windows with the templates and place them over the base. Secure the three layers of fabric with pins and start applying the windows. Check the “Applying the windows” section for a step-by-step explanation. Check the photo to find the place of every window.
Trim the work by the lines shown in the previous scheme. The final size must be about 18,5″

Finishing the tote bag

Now you have the front part of the tote done!!
Cut two pieces of black cotton, the same size as the front of the tote.
Cut one piece of heavy fusible interfacing.
Cut two strips of black cotton for the handles of the tote. 25″ X 6″. Fold all the
length twice and sew.

Press interfacing to the wrong side of the outer black cotton fabric. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for heating and adhering to the interfacing. Pin with the cathedral window front, right sides together and sew. Leave the top unsewn. Press seams open.

Pin the right sides of inner black cotton together and repeat the above steps.
Turn the liner right-side out and place inside outer fabrics so that the right sides are together. Tuck the straps between inner and outer fabrics so that two edges of one, face the front, and two edges of the other, face the back of the bag. Pin the end of each strap approximately four inches from the side seam then pin fabric edges together around the perimeter of the bag opening.
Stitch a 1/2″ seam almost all the way around the tote, stopping 4″ before the starting point — this should catch all four ends of the straps while leaving ample room for turning.

Pull both fabrics and straps through the 4″ gap, turning the tote bag right-side out. Lightly press with a warm iron to remove wrinkles.

Top-stitch around the tote bag’s entire opening to finish the edges.
This will also help reinforce straps and shut the gap left in the previous step for turning.

Cathedral window tote bag tutorial

And this beauty is done!

“Blue Delft” cathedral window tote bag

Blue cathedral window tote bag
“Blue Delft” cathedral window tote bag

You could try this version too! Follow the instructions you’ve read before but make the units in blue and then apply the windows.



3 1/2 yards of blue cotton for the bases and the back (42” width)
1 fat quarter of blue printed cotton fabrics for the windows

Size: 18″ x 18″

cathedral window tote bag tutorial
“Blue Delft” cathedral window tote bag

If you prefer to have all the info ready to download on your device I offer you these PDFs on Etsy. You will find clear step-by-step instructions, templates, and photos in one place. (NOTE: All the material I include in the PDFs, can find it here for free in the blog!) You’ll learn how to make these unique projects easy and fun! Check the content!

1-Getting started
Introduction to the cathedral window technique
History overview
Three basic methods description
Which one is the best and for what
2-Units and blocks
Practice with muslin
How to make the units
How to make the block
Video tutorial

3-The project
Materials – Size
Base construction (units and blocks)
Applying the windows
4-Useful tools
How to use the templates
How to deal with seams
How to apply the windows
How to choose the best fabrics
How to choose the color palette

Thanks for spending your time on my blog!! Time and attention are very precious gifts.

God bless you!

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