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Simple Tote Bag

Fabrics: Crossroads Denim collection by Amy Barickman for James Thompson

Designer: Amy Barickman of Indygo Junction


Sew a simple tote bag to carry school supplies, sewing notions, or farmer’s market finds.





  • 2—15x20" rectangles of light aqua denim (bag)
  • 4—2-3⁄4x45" strips of dark aqua denim (handles)
  • Tracing paper
  • Water-soluble marking pen



Assemble the Tote:



1. Click on the PDF at the end of this blog post for the pattern pieces. Cut out template on drawn lines.

2. Fold a light aqua 15x20" rectangle in half to make a 15x10" rectangle. Place paper template on fold; pin paper template to fabric. Carefully cut around template to make bag front. Repeat with remaining light aqua 15x20" rectangle to make bag back.


3. With right sides together, sew together two dark aqua 2-3⁄4x45" strips along each long edge, leaving short ends open. Repeat with remaining dark aqua 2-3⁄4x45" strips.


4. Turn one set of strips right side out through one short end to make a handle. Repeat to make a second handle.

TIP: Use a large safety pin attached to one end to turn handle right side out.


5. Pin one handle to bag front, 2-1⁄2" from each side edge. Repeat for bag back.

6. Using a long stitch, hand- or machine-baste handles to bag front and bag back, stopping 1" from top edge of bag piece on each handle (these basting stitches will be removed later).

TIP: Before sewing, mark top-stitching line with a water-soluble marking pen. Use the drawn line as a stitching guide.

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.


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.


9. Turn right side out. Thread machine with pink thread. Set machine to the largest width and length for a zigzag stitch. Starting at bottom of bag, topstitch along edges of each handle.


10. Remove basting stitches with a seam ripper to complete bag.