Sew a simple tote bag to carry school supplies, sewing notions, or farmer's market finds. Fabrics are from the Crossroads Denim collection by Amy Barickman for James Thompson.
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Designer: Amy Barickman of Indygo Junction


  • 2--15×20" rectangles of light aqua denim (bag)
  • 4--2-3⁄4×45" strips of dark aqua denim (handles)
  • Tracing paper
  • Thread to match fabrics
  • Pink thread for topstitching handles
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron, ironing surface
  • Water-soluble marking pen

Step 1

Click on "Download this Project" above for the pattern pieces. Cut out template on drawn lines (photo 1).


Step 2

Fold a light aqua 15×20" rectangle in half to make a 15×10" rectangle. Place paper template on fold; pin paper template to fabric. Carefully cut around template to make bag front. Repeat with remaining light aqua 15×20" rectangle to make bag back. Finish side and bottom edges with zigzag stitch if desired.

Step 3

With right sides together, sew together two dark aqua 2-3⁄4×45" strips along each long edge, leaving short ends open. Repeat with remaining dark aqua 2-3⁄4×45" strips (photo 2).


Step 4

Turn one set of strips right side out through one short end to make a handle. Repeat to make a second handle (photo 3).

TIP: Use a large safety pin attached to one end to turn handle right side out or baste end and use turning tool.


Step 5

Pin one handle to bag front as marked on pattern, 2-1⁄2" from center, lining up ends of handles with bottom edge of bag front. Repeat for bag back.

Step 6

Set machine to the largest width and length for a zigzag stitch. Starting at bottom of bag, zigzag stitch along both edges of each handle, stopping about 1" from the top of the bag (photo 4).

TIP: Ask for help setting the sewing machine to a zigzag stitch.


Step 7

With right sides together, pin bag front to bag back, aligning edges at sides and bottom. Using a 1⁄2" seam, sew together pieces along side and bottom edges.

Step 8

With bag still wrong side out, tuck handles inside, then fold down unstitched top edge 1⁄4", and then 1⁄4" again; press and pin. Topstitch pinned edge, being careful not to catch handles in the seam (photo 5).


Step 9

Finish zigzag topstitching along handle edges, securing handles to top edge of bag as you sew.