Free Patterns,  Tutorials

Cork Tote Pattern using Metallic Cork + Tips for Metallic Thread


Make a metallic cork tote pattern to have the perfect travel accessory this summer. The inner padded pocket fits a laptop and the zippered pocket is perfect for smaller essentials. The bag fits under the seat in front of you on the airplane and has purse feet to keep the base off of dirty surfaces.

cork tote pattern


Cork fabric is the latest trend and it’s sticking around as a great alternative to leather. It’s soft and supple and super easy to sew. Use it for small items, such as wallets and luggage tags, or as garment accents, such as epaulets or collar points. Anywhere you’d add an accent of leather, consider using cork fabric instead. It’s more readily available, comes in all colors and varieties, and it’s vegan! 

Cork fabric doesn’t require any special adjustments to your sewing machine. Just keep in mind that you’ll be sewing through thicker layers of fabric, so you’ll want to use a topstitch or jeans needle. If using metallic thread, as for the featured tote bag, use a metallic needle and test-sew on a scrap of cork first to determine if any stitch settings or combination of materials need to change depending on your desired look. 

This easy-sew cork tote pattern features an inner padded pocket, perfect for toting your laptop, an inner zippered pocket and sturdy straps. The purse feet give it professional polish, and keep the bag base free from dirty surfaces. With this cork tote pattern, you’ll learn how to create perfectly sewn corners, insert a welt zipper and install purse hardware.  



From the metallic linen, cut the following: 

  • (2) 5”x15” rectangles (lining sides) 
  • (2) 5”x9” rectangles (outer sides) 
  • (1) 15” x 33” rectangle  (lining)
  • (2) 15” x 9” rectangles (outer rectangle) 
  • (1) 15”x23” rectangle (padded pocket) 
  • (1) 11”x16” rectangle (zippered pocket) 

From the metallic cork, cut the following: 

  • (1) 15”x17” rectangle (outer rectangle) 
  • (2) 5”x7” rectangles (outer sides) 

From the Fuse ‘n Stitch stabilizer, cut the following: 

  • (1) 33”x15” rectangle (lining; optional) 
  • (2) 5”x15” rectangles (lining sides; optional) 
  • (2) 9”x15” rectangles (outer rectangles) 
  • (2) 5”x9” rectangles (outer sides) 

From the foam interfacing, cut one 11”x 14” rectangle. 

From the strapping, cut two 24” lengths. 


Fuse the Fuse ‘n Stitch rectangles to the corresponding linen rectangles. (The padded and zipper pockets don’t have interfacing.)  

TIP: For a super structured bag, interface the lining pieces and the outer pieces as the pattern suggests. For a slightly lighter weight bag, interface only the outer pieces. The bag will still stand alone if you omit the lining interfacing and it’s a bit easier to maneuver under the presser foot when sewing through all layers. 

Install a universal Organ needle into the machine. Thread the needle and bobbin with 40 wt. Poly Deco™ thread. 


Fold the large lining and zipper pocket rectangles in half lengthwise independently; press to mark a center foldline, and then unfold. This mark is just for matching the pocket to the lining in the later step.

On the lining rectangle wrong side, measure and mark a ½”-wide box centered 3 ½” from the top edge and 9” long. 

metallic cork tote zipper

Place the zippered pocket rectangle and large lining rectangle right sides together, extending one pocket rectangle short edge 1” beyond the marked zipper opening and matching the pocket and rectangle foldlines. Pin the pocket rectangle perimeter.  

Flip over the lining rectangle. Sew along the marked zipper opening. 

metallic cork tote zipper lining

Inside the zipper opening, draw a line beginning and ending ½” from the ends and extending into the corners.  

Carefully cut along the lines to the corners, making sure NOT to clip the stitching. 

marking zipper opening

Turn the zippered pocket rectangle right side out through the opening; press. 

pressed zipper opening

Center the zipper within the opening.

zipper centered in opening

Tape the zipper edges to secure from the wrong side.

tape zipper edges

Edgestitch around the zipper perimeter from the right side. Remove the tape. 

edgestitch zipper

Fold the zipper pocket rectangle in half widthwise with right sides together, sandwiching the zipper; press the lower-edge foldline. Stitch the three raw pocket edges, maneuvering the lining out of the way of the stitching. Serge- or zigzag-finish the seam allowances if desired. Press again. 


Fold the padded pocket in half widthwise with right sides together. Stitch the long edge. Press to set the lower-edge crease. Turn the pocket right side out. 

Insert the foam rectangle into the pocket, abutting one foam rectangle long edge with the sea, and the opposite edge with the foldline. Center the foam so there are ½” seam allowances extending beyond each side edge. Fuse the foam to each pocket fabric side, following the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Position the padded pocket 3 ½” from the lining left edge, with the fold as the pocket upper edge. Edgestitch the pocket lower edge. Baste the pocket sides to the lining. 


Place one lining side rectangle right side facing the lining rectangle, matching the upper edges. Stitch, using a 5/8” seam allowance, stopping 5/8” from the side-rectangle lower edge. Repeat to stitch the opposite edge. Take the fabric out of the machine and clip into the seam allowance at the corners through all layersAlign the side-rectangle lower edge with the remaining rectangle long edge; stitch from corner to corner. Clip across the corner points.  

Repeat to add the second side to the lining bag. Turn right side out. Fold the lining upper edges ½” toward the wrong side; press. Set aside the lining. 


Stitch the linen outer rectangle long edges to the cork outer rectangle short edges with right sides together and a ½” seam allowance. Press the seams toward the cork. 

Stitch one linen outer-side rectangle long edge to one cork-side short edge; press the seam toward the cork. Repeat to stitch the second outer side. 

Install a topstitch or metallic Organ needle into the machine. Thread the needle with metallic thread and the bobbin with Poly Deco thread. Install a ditch quilting foot, if applicable. 

Topstitch 1/8” from the seam along the cork on the outer rectangle and outer side pieces. If using a ditch quilting foot, place the foot rudder along the seam and move the needle 1/8” to the right of the rudder to facilitate accurate stitching. 

cork tote pattern


Place the outer bag wrong side up on a flat work surface. 

Pin-mark the outer-bag rectangle widthwise center along both long edges. Measure and mark 4” vertically from the pin-marks. Measure and mark 1” horizontally on each side of those marks. The resulting four marks are the purse feet locations. 

Center the backing of one foot over one marked location and mark the two lines. Remove the foot backing and use a razor blade or craft knife to carefully slice through the cork along the marked lines. Insert the prongs of the foot through from the cork right side and through the foot backing. Bend the prongs out away from the backing. Repeat to attach each foot. 

purse feet for metallic cork toteattach purse feet  


Follow the instructions for attaching the lining sides to attach the outer sides to the outer rectangle, but use a ½” seam allowance. Make sure the cork/lining seams are aligned on the sides and rectangle when sewing each seam. 


Turn right side out. Fold the upper edges ½” toward the wrong side; press. 


Measure 3” from the outer bag upper-edge corners along the front and back; use a clip to mark the strap end placements. 

Insert one strap end 1” into and between the outer and lining bags at the marks, making sure the straps aren’t twisted and the same strap resides on the same side of the bag. 

With the topstitch/metallic needle still installed and metallic thread in the needle, topstitch the bag upper edge. Carefully stitch over the strap ends. 

cork tote pattern


For extra security, add rivets at the strap locations. The rivets give more of a professional finish to the bag, too. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to attach the rivets using a rivet setting tool. You can place one at each strap end through both bag layers, or place two side by side. 

cork tote pattern

I take you through the topstitching, front construction and purse feet for this cork tote pattern on It’s Sew Easy.

For more fun with cork, find another Cork Tote bag using Sulky Blendables® thread.

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I am the Director of Content for Sulky of America. The former Editor in Chief of Sew News and Creative Machine Embroidery magazines, I hosted Sew it All TV on PBS for nine seasons. I've appeared on It's Sew Easy on PBS, DIY Network's Uncommon Threads, Hallmark's Marie Osmond Show, MacPhee Workshop and more! Come sew with me!


  • Karen Poole

    This is so awesome! I bought some cork to make a purse with but have plenty left over so I’ll probably make this!

  • Yolanda Heyliger

    Hi i started on this tote bag. But having issues with purse feet placement. I’m lost.
    Is there sketch or picture to help me. Thank you. YOLANDA

  • ellenkmarch

    The feet are placed 4″ from center and 1″ from the outer long edge. I’m sorry I don’t have a picture that shows this. If you need further assistance, please email us at

    • Ellen March

      Hi Shirley,
      No, it’s not a pattern for sale. All the instructions and cutting dimensions are in the post. Is there a specific part you are stuck on? I can try to elaborate for you. You can also email with specific questions and we will walk you through it.

  • Tracy Dempsey

    For the zipper pocket, it states to fold pocket in half lengthwise, is lengthwise the 11 inches or the 16”? The same for the lining in the zipper pocket instructions, is the lining length 33” or 15”?

    Thank you for your help.

    • Ellen March

      Hi Tracy,
      Thanks for asking! I changed the text to be more clear. The lengthwise foldlines are to match up the pocket with the lining in the later step. So you want the longer edges touching when folded together.