Kate Spade Nautical Tote Knockoff

Kate Spade Get Out of Town Knockoff Tote

I’m pretty sure Kate Spade and I are long lost BFF’s.
She makes pretty much everything with me in mind. I mean, it’s all classic style, Polkadots and stripes, bright colors, and fun pops of gold. What’s not to love there?

About a year ago she thoughtfully opened up an outlet store less than a mile from my house. She’s a giver like that. I go in whenever I can and drool a little. My only problem with our friendship is that she often forgets to take into account my budget when pricing her beautiful creations, even at the outlet. So I admire everything, but don’t come home with much.

I still love her anyway. When I came across her Get Out of Town Shopper – I pretty much fell in love. It’s nautical and sassy. Of course I fell in love. But not so much with the price so I decided to make my own version!

Nautical Travel Tote

Um. Yeah. I will be carrying this everywhere this summer!
In true Kate Spade style, I made it like hers with the wide navy and white stripes and the gold lettering – though I used fabric instead of leather. I added a fun bright pink polkadot lining to mine too. I love how that color looks inside.

Stripe and Polkadot Tote bag

It’s a nice roomy tote too so it will hold a ton of stuff. You could take it as a shopping bag, or a travel bag – it would be perfect as a carry-on too.

How to Make a Nautical Tote Bag

Here’s the original. So fun right?

Kate Spade Get Out of Town Shopper

So let’s get started! Here’s how to make your own Kate Spade Knockoff. You’ll need:

  • Navy fabric  – use a nice twill or something equally heavyweight
    – 6 strips 4″ x 19″ (for sides)
    – 2 pieces 6″ x 15″ (for base)
    – 1 piece 3″ x 12″ (for straps)
  • White fabric
    – 4 strips 4″ x 19″ (for sides)
  • Lining fabric
    -2 pieces 16″ x 19″ (sides)
    -1 piece 6″ x 15″ (base)
  • Interfacing – heavyweight fusible- 2 pieces 16″ x 19″ (sides)
    – ultra-firm stabilizer – 1 piece 6″ x 15″ (base)
  • Freezer paper for stencil, gold paint, scissors or cutting machine
  • set of two purse handles
  • optional – decorative button for front

Begin by cutting out all of your fabric. Make a freezer paper stencil that says “Get Out Of Town”. You want to use a blocky font and the lettering should be approx. 1 1/2″ x 10″. (If you need help with freezer paper stencils, there are a lot of great tutorials out there). You could also use purchased stencils to do the lettering if you want. On one of the white strips, stencil the phrase on using gold paint. Remember to use fabric paint or add fabric medium to your paint if you want to be able to wash your bag.

Freezer Paper Stencil

Let your paint dry very well (overnight is best) before assembling your bag. Once you’re all set, sew together the front of the bag, alternating navy and white stripes, like the photo below. Use a 1/2″ seam allowance for the bag unless noted differently.

sewing bag strips together

Repeat for the back of the bag, using the same stripe pattern. Iron your fusible interfacing to the front and back of the bag.
Lay the front and back, right sides together, and sew up the side seams. Make sure you match up the stripes.

bag side seams

Layer together the two navy base pieces, and place the ultra-firm interfacing between them. The right sides of the fabric pieces should be facing out. Baste around all four sides of the base.

base of bag

Match up the centers and sides of the base and sides of the bag and pin in place. Sew the base to the bottom sides of the bag, easing around the corners as needed.

Do not get distracted and sew the base to the TOP of the bag and then go to turn it right side out and realize your lettering is upside down and it now looks like you are making a knockoff of a bag you picked up off a table of terrible knockoffs in New York. Because that would be ridiculous. Ahem.

Clip the corners and turn the bag right side out and press.

sides and base of tote bag

Take the navy strap piece that is 3″ x 12″ and fold it in half long ways. Sew down the raw edge side and turn right side out. Press the seam in the center of the strip, then cut the strip into four 3″ pieces.

strap pieces

Measure 5″ over from each side seam on the front and back and mark with a pin. Slip the strap piece inside the ring on your purchased strap and fold the fabric in half. Line the raw edges up with the top of the bag and the outside edge of each strap piece with your pin. Sew the edges to the top of the bag with a 1/4″ seam allowance, going over the stitching a couple to times to make sure it’s nice and strong. Do this for the front and back straps.

sewing straps to bag

This is optional but I wanted to add a little decorative something on mine like Kate has the spade on hers. I couldn’t find a snazzy gold flamingo button (haha) but I did find this darling little gold rope bow. I thought it was perfect for the nautical look of the bag. Sew this on the center of the top strip, about 1 1/2″ down from the top.

decorative button on bag

Sew the sides of the lining pieces, right sides together. Sew the lining base to the bottom of the lining sides, but leave an opening for turning about 5″ on one side.

lining of bag

Turn the lining wrong side out and tuck the outside of the bag inside the lining. The right sides of the bag and the right sides of the lining should be together. Sew around the top of the bag. Make sure the straps are tucked inside when you sew.

sewing bag to lining

Turn the bag right side out through the opening in the lining. Sew the opening in the lining closed by hand, then tuck the lining inside the bag. Press everything really well. Top stitch around the top of the bag, just inside the top seam. Use thread that matches your outside fabric and bobbin thread that matches your lining so you can’t see the stitching.
Unless you take a really close up shot of your top stitching with a macro lens, and then you can see that your stitching looks a little wonky in one part. Then you can be happy you used matching thread and no one else (except all of your blog readers) will know it’s wonky. hmmm.

topstitching top of bag

That finished off your super cute new knockoff bag!

Get Out Of Town Tote

I just love that gold lettering!

Nautical Striped Bag

Kate Spade Knockoff Bag

I hope you give it a try!


  • Reply October 21, 2014


    I’m planning on making this tomorrow. Do you think I will be okay to make this without interfacing?

    • October 21, 2014


      Hi Brittany,
      You can make it up without Interfacing, but it might not be super sturdy. It just depends on the fabric you’re using. If you are using a heavy weight twill or something similar it should be ok! :)

  • Reply October 21, 2014


    i’m using a thick canvas do you think that would be okay?

    • October 21, 2014


      That should work great!

  • Reply December 29, 2014


    Did you use a heavy weight fabric for the white stripe as well?

    • December 29, 2014


      I made two of these following the directions here. But I used navy/white heavy weight indoor outdoor fabric available from joann fabrics and also online from Premier Prints. Worked perfectly and less seams saves time and less places for dirt to accumulate. I also used brass paper fasteners to create legs on the base so the purse does not sit on the floor. In place of pleather handles I found navy drapery tie backs at joann. I love my tote and I got many compliments all summer. Great instructions.

  • Reply March 7, 2015


    Hi. I’m a beginner at sewing and i thought i could try this out. Your directions are pretty straight forward so i think i can do it. But i was wondering if you ever thought of adding a small inside pocket? I have no idea how, maybe just cut a hole the side i want and make a pouch and use a snap or zipper for it? idk just an idea :) and do you think i could use iron on letters instead of painting them?

  • Reply April 7, 2015


    I absolutely adore this! I will definitely be making one! Is it possible for you to tell me what brand of paint you used? I will be looking for the fabric and handles this weekend!! Thanks!

    • April 7, 2015


      i used Martha Stewart – bright gold. held up perfectly, no flaking or chipping. It is not stiff either.

  • Reply April 29, 2015


    Thank you for this wonderful tutorial. I made a bag with the inspiration of your tutorial.
    It´s a gift for my nice. Thank you

  • Reply May 13, 2015

    Kim Thibodeaux

    I love this bag! Is there a chance that you have the dimensions if I wanted to make it with a solid piece instead of the stripes? A friend choose some fabric that she wants me to make into a tote. I couldn’t find the right style…until now.

    Thank you!

    • May 14, 2015


      Absolutely Kim! You can just use the same measurements for the sides as you use for the lining if you want to use complete pieces of fabric – so 16″ x 19″. I’d love to see a photo when you finish if you think of it! :) Thanks!

  • Reply April 1, 2016


    Hi !
    I love this pattern and am planning to make it as a birthday gift. Can you please tell me where you bought the handles? Thanks for a beautiful pattern.

  • Great job Bev, impressed by your hand cut stencil! I knew Kate Spade, way back when in downtown Manhattan when she was just starting out with a bag business, and just for your info, she actually sold the company to get away from the madness of it all. Not sure what she is doing now, but her brand sure did go a long way! thanks for sharing on craft schooling Sunday!

  • OBSESSED with this! I wish I had your skill! I have seen a nautical tote like this at Target recently, though, so maybe I’ll try it out on that!

  • Super fun bag and probably a lot more affordable than the real thing! Will look into using freezer paper to create graphics. Visiting from Pretty Pintastic Party.

  • Reply April 8, 2016


    I love yours better than the original! So adorable, great job! :)

  • Reply April 8, 2016


    Where can I find the purse handles for this bag.

    • April 30, 2016


      I made this bag and it came out great, but I had to cut the base size down to 13 by 5. How did you get the 5×16 to fit the bag?

    • June 18, 2016


      I have the same ones — got them at Joanne’s.

  • Reply May 6, 2016


    I had to make my version of this bag! Just love it. I too shortened the base. I used gold tone chain link and leather handles and it looks real sharp. Ty for the tute and idea!

  • Reply June 18, 2016


    I like yours better than the original! I have those same handles on a brown-toned crocheted bag. Might have to try something like this for a more summery tote!

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