February 01, 2018

Go green with these beautifully crafted fabric tote bags that roll up for easy storage. This DIY craft project uses KAM snap fasteners, which are simple to apply using snap pliers or a table press. Use snaps instead of velcro, buttons, or zippers for a no-fuss fastener that will last.

Craft Tutorial: Roll-Up Tote Strap
Tutorial below provided by Steph of SillyPearl.com

Need some tote bags that roll up with a handy snappy strap? Here’s how I made mine.


The strap is attached to the bottom outside layer of a reversible tote. As shown in the giveaway post, you just roll up the tote and wrap the strap around, closing it with a snap.


  • Fabric cut to this size:
    • Outside (two pieces 15x18 inches)
    • Inside (two pieces 15x18 inches)
    • Tote Strap (two pieces 4x22 inches)
    • Roll-Up Strap (one piece 3x13 inches)
      • Note: In picture above, I’ve already pressed the straps.
  • Stuff you use to cut fabric, such as a ruler/straight-edge, rotary cutter and self-healing mat or scissors.
  • Two sets of snaps for Roll-Up Strap.
    • I used KAMSnaps pliers, but you could also use any other type of snap, or use velcro. Make sure the snaps would fit on the strap (the finished strap here is 3/4 inches wide and the snaps I’m using are about 1/2 inch in diameter).
    • Any other accessories to apply snaps (I use an awl and pliers that came with my KAMSnaps).
  • Not pictured: Iron and ironing board, sewing machine and thread.

Take your Roll-Up Strap fabric and fold it lengthwise and press to create a crease and open up again. Then fold in each edge to meet at the center crease and press. Then fold again in half and press again.

Then fold in one end about 1/8 an inch and fold in another 1/2 inch and press. This finishes the ends and is where you’ll place your snap. Repeat this fold on the other end. 

Topstitch the strap along the sides and around the folded ends, making sure the 1/8 inch fold at the edges are tucked in as you sew.


Now we’ll apply the snaps. These are directions on how to use KAMSnaps, so if you’re using different snaps then these exact directions may not apply. First, poke a hole with the awl in the center of the 1/2 inch fold at one end.

Insert the top of the snap through the hole, and then apply the snap part on the other side and press using the pliers.


Repeat on the other end, but you’ll flip the strap over so that the opposite is showing on each side. So when you snap them together, it will overlap like so creating a circle. That’s how you want it to snap together when you roll up the tote.

Now we’ll start sewing the outside layer of the tote, where the roll-up strap will be attached. Pin right sides of the outside layer together along three edges, leaving one of the 15-inch edges open. Then at the bottom 15-inch edge, fold your tote in half lengthwise to determine the center of the bottom edge and mark. Determine what will be the midpoint between your seam and this center mark. So you’ll need to take into consideration your seam allowance (1/2 inch for me) plus you’ll be squaring the tote (see my Patchwork Pocket Tote tutorial on how I squared the bottom). So for my tote, I determined the midpoint after sewing all of that would be 2.5 inches from the center mark. Doesn’t have to be exactly exact!

Fold the Roll-Up Strap in half and insert in between your two outside tote fabrics. Place it at this 2.5-inch mark, with the fold even with the raw edge of the tote fabrics and pin in place. Sew as usual along the three edges, backstitching over the strap a few times to reinforce and continue sewing the tote layers together as usual.

Turn inside out…here’s the strap sticking out of the outside of the tote.

Then sew the rest of the tote as shown in my Patchwork Pocket Tote tutorial, adding the lining and the tote straps. And you’re done!

You could also add a Roll-Up Strap to an existing tote by opening the bottom seams and restitching it closed. It would be really easy to do with an unlined bag.

Sorry I didn’t get a picture of this particular bag rolled up! But here is another one I made for myself. 


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