With this generous bucket tote, you can keep all your tools of the trade in one place so they’re handy to take wherever you need to go: room to room or out and about. Fill it with DIY tools for those small repair jobs around the house. Keep it in your sewing room to collect items for your next project. Or, use one in the kitchen, bath or laundry to hold towels and more.
To give the bucket the stability it needs, it's important to use a heavyweight fabric, such as a cotton twill, canvas or even an outdoor or marine fabric. We like the color block look of our light and dark combination of bright white and avocado green.
For extra toughness, we used canvas on the exterior as well as the lining. However, this does mean it’s not the best option for holding anything wet. You could considering using a water resistant lining, such as nylon or PUL, but you would then need to also consider extra stabilization for the sides and base.
The exterior pocket wraps all the way around the bucket. We divided our pocket into four even sections, but you could certainly adjust the sections to best fit your tools. Make some narrower to hold skinny tools or create two large pockets front and back to hold papers and patterns. You get to customize!
Although it is possible with the materials specified, we don't recommend trying to machine wash this tote when completed because of the firm structure. It is meant to be wiped clean. Spraying the finished tote with a coating of Scotch-Gard® will help keep dirt at bay.
We link to several of our helpful step-by-step tutorials below in case you are new to any of the techniques used, such as inserting a flat base into a tube or setting metal grommets. Here at Sew4Home, we’re all about making sure you have access to the best instructions. Whether you’re just starting out in the world of sewing or already an old hand; we want our projects to be the ones that come out great every time.
The tote finishes at approximately 12” high x 10” in diameter with a 6¾" deep pocket panel.
Sewing Tools You Need
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1 yard of 54"+ wide heavy twill or canvas for the main bucket and bucket lining (the white in our sample)
- ½ yard of 54"+ wide heavy twill or canvas for the bucket pocket panel (the green in our sample)
- 1¼ yard of heavyweight fusible interfacing, such as Fast2Fuse
NOTE: These type of products are normally only 18"- 20" wide, which meant we couldn't quite fit our two pieces side by side. We found and bought our interfacing off the bolt at our local fabric store so getting 1¼ yard wasn't a problem. If you have to buy packaged interfacing, carefully check the amount; you may need more than one package. Because it is fusible you can piece it, but that is not the best choice for stability.
- 1 yard of ½" cotton rope; we used a natural rope we found at a local hardware store
- Four ⅜" metal grommets; we used Dritz Extra Large Eyelets in Antique Brass
- One ⅜" grommet tool; your grommets may come with a tool
- All-purpose sewing thread in a color to match the main body and contrast with the pocket panel: we used white
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Iron and ironing board
- Large safety pin
- Seam sealant; optional for the ends of the rope handles and to reinforce the holes for the grommets – such as Dritz Fray Check
- From the fabric for the bucket pocket panel (the green in our sample), cut ONE 32½" by 8¼" rectangle.
- From the fabric for the bucket exterior, lining, and the base of both the exterior and lining (the white in our sample), cut the following:
ONE 32½ x 14¾ rectangle for the exterior
ONE 32½" by 12½" rectangle for the lining
TWO 11" diameter circles for the exterior base and the lining base
NOTE: We used a pan lid to make our circle pattern, because it happened to be exactly 11" in diameter.
- If you aren't lucky enough to have a pan lid the correct size, check out our tutorial on How to Make a Perfect Circle Without a Pattern.
- From the interfacing, cut the following:
ONE 31½" x 10¼" rectangle
ONE 10¼" diameter circle for the exterior base and the lining base
NOTE: Make a new circle pattern as described above or, after you're done cutting the canvas base circles, trim your existing 11" circle pattern by ¾" all around and use that as your pattern.
At Your Sewing Machine& Ironing Board
As we always recommend: start every new project with a new needle. This advice is especially important with this project because you will be sewing through thick canvas and heavy interfacing.
For extra stability, we serged the raw edges of all our fabric pieces before starting. If you don't have a serger, check out our machine seam finishes tutorial series for other options.
- Make a ½" double turn hem along the top of the pocket panel (along one 32½"side). To do this, fold the raw edge down ½" and press. Then, fold down an additional ½", press again.
- Slightly lengthen the stitch and topstitch the hem in place close to the fold.
- Place the hemmed pocket panel on the exterior panel (the 32½" x 14¾" piece), aligning the bottom raw edges of both pieces. Pin in place.
- Machine baste the two panels together along both sides and across the bottom, staying close to the raw edge.
NOTE: This step allows you to treat these two pieces as one during the remainder of the construction, which makes them easier to handle and helps keep all your lines straight.
- Using your see-through ruler and and a fabric pen or pencil, mark vertical lines for the pocket divisions. First, fold the pinned-panels in half to find the exact center and finger press to form a crease. Mark your first vertical line along this crease.
- Measure 8¾" to the left and 8¾" to the right of this first drawn line. Draw two additional vertical lines at these measurements.
- With your machine still set to the longer stitch length, sew one seam from the bottom raw edges to the top hem along each drawn line. For a neater beginning and end to your seams, use a lock stitch rather than back-tacking or leave your thread tails long and tie a hand knot at the back of the panels.
- We added a Sew4Home label along the middle seam line.
- Fold the exterior panel in half, aligning the 14¾" sides of the white fabric and sandwiching the pocket panel between the layers. Pin in place. Make sure the top edges of the pocket panel are perfectly aligned.
- Re-set your machine for a normal stitch length. Stitch the sides together, using a ½" seam allowance, to create an open tube. Press the seam allowance open.
- Find one 11" circle.
- In order to attach the circular base to the open tube that will become the walls of the bucket, it helps to make "quarter-marks" on each piece. To do this, fold the circle piece in half, then in half again. Light press to set creases. Unfold and place a pin at the end of each crease, like the 12:00, 3:00. 6:00, and 9:00 marks on the face of a clock.
- Do the same with the base of the tube. First fold the tube in half so the seam is on the left and a fold is on the right. Place a pin at the bottom of the right-hand fold. Fold in half again, bringing the first fold across to meet the seam. Place a pin on either side at the second fold point. Your fourth quadrant point will be the side seam itself.
- Place the base inside the bottom of the tote, with right sides together. Match up the pins you put in place on your quarter folds. Then fill in with pins all around.
NOTE: If you are brand new to this technique, take a look at our full, step-by-step tutorial on how to insert a flat base circle into a tube.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, sew around the circle.
- Press the seam allowance open.
- Repeat these steps with the lining panel and second 11" circle to create the the finished lining with one addition: first fuse the interfacing to the canvas base and the main panel.
- The fusing for the main panel should sit ½" from the bottom edge and 1¾" from the top to account for the seams and top hem. The interfacing circle should be centered within the base circle.
NOTE: This type of interfacing is very heavy and not super fun to sew with but it is important to the stability of the tool tote... so ya gotta roll with it.
- Press a top hem into the exterior tote. To do this, fold down the top raw edge ½" and press well. Then, fold down an additional 1¾" and press again.
- With the exterior tote right side out, unfold the hem... just the second large fold, not the first narrow fold.
- Turn the lining wrong side out and place it inside the tote. The two pieces are now wrong sides together. Match up the side seams and push the lining down firmly. It should be nice and flat against the exterior fabric.
- Fold the top hem back down, covering the raw edge of the lining, and pin in place all around.
- Re-set your machine to the longer stitch length.
- Topstitch all around the top of the bucket, nice and close to the 1¾" folded edge, through all layers.
- Insert two grommets on each side. The two pair must be exactly opposite one another and line up perfectly, otherwise your bucket will twist when you pick it up. Work with your center pocket seam line to help you determine the side points. Then double check your measurements across the top with a ruler.
- The upper grommet should be placed ¼" above the top hem. The lower grommet is ½" from the bottom of the first grommet. Trace the inside of each grommet and cut a hole.
- Following manufacturer's directions, place all four grommets. If you are new to the technique, check out our full tutorial, How to Install Metal Grommets.
- Make a large knot in one end of the rope. Thread the free end of the rope from front to back through the bottom grommet then out through the top grommet, back to front.
- Bring the rope over the top, insert it into the top grommet on the opposite side from front to back, then come out the bottom grommet on that side from back to front. Adjust the handle to a comfortable carrying length and make a knot on the remaining end to secure.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild