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Sashiko-Inspired Denim Tote Bag Pattern

This bag is a gorgeous size. It has an internal zip pocket and is fastened with a magnetic snap. The bag is made with pieces of denim, adorned with sashiko stitching. This bag is perfect for your wallet, mobile, hairbrush, notepad, tablet.

This particular bag has pieces of shibori inspired dyed denim scraps to add detail and interest to the finished bag. Find out more about shibori inspired dying here. It’s amazing what you can make with some scraps of denim!

You will need:
Denim pieces
Lining fabric (I used a former sheet)
fusible fleece
magnetic fastener
zip 6”
hole punch
double cap rivets

To make:
Denim pieced together to create 12.5″ by 21″ main body of bag
Leather – two 12″ by 1″ handles
Lining fabric 12.5″ by 21″
Pocket piece 16″ by 9”
Fusible fleece 11.5″ by 20″
Interfacing 11.5″ by 20″
Zip 6″

Main body of the bag

Layout pieces of denim together, add some patterned denim or cotton pieces to add interest to the finished bag. Pin in place.


Hand stitch with a running stitch. Use your stitches to add design to the bag. Think about the colours of embroidery floss plus the directions of the stitches.

Iron on fusible fleece to the reverse of our finished denim piece.

Fold bag piece in half, short side to short side. Stitch down the side of the bags to the folded bottom of the bag.

Create bag base. Keeping the right sides together fold the side seam to the bottom of bag (where a seam would be if you had sewn it). Pin into place, mark a seam 2″ either side of side seam (see image).

Stitch. Complete on second side of bag and trim seams. Turn the bag right side out.

Zip Pocket
Iron on interfacing to the wrong side of lining bag piece
Create zip pocket. Place pocket piece on lining fabric 2.5″ down from the top of the lining fabric, centrally. Mark zip position, draw a rectangle that is 6” W x 3/8” H centered at the top about 1” from the top edge.

Stitch all the way around the rectangle. When you’re done, draw a horizontal line through the centre of the rectangle stopping about 1/2” from each end. Draw diagonal lines going from that centre line to each of the 4 corners as shown in photo above. Cut out the lines you just drew making sure you do not cut any stitching at the corners. Pull lining through to wrong side and press carefully. Place zip, use a glue stick to hold in place whilst you stitch to secure.

Turn to the wrong side. Fold the pocket fabric up to form the pocket. Stitch round, ensuring you keep the lining of the bag out of the way so you do not accidentally catch it.

Form the lining as per the outside of the bag. Stitch side pieces together.
Insert magnetic snap, place 1″ down from the top edge, centrally. I suggest using a seam ripper for cutting through the fabric for the insertion of the magnetic snap.

Create bag base (as in previous steps).
Assemble the bag
Place the main bag inside the lining so that the right side of the lining is facing the right side of the bag. Ensure the side seas are aligned.

Stitch round the top, ensuring you leave a 4″ opening. Turn the bag the right side out through the opening.
Pin the lining neatly in and then top stitch, this closes the open turning.

Attach the handles

Cut two pieces of leather 12″ by 1″

Place the strap 2 3/4″ in from the side seam and 1″ down from the top of the bag. Using a leather hole punch on its smallest setting punch two holes through the leather and bag.

Using a hammer secure the double cap rivets through the leather and bag.

That’s it – one gorgeous unique bag complete,

What fabrics will you use to make a small tote? Customize the fabrics to make a bag which shows off your personality. If you enjoy making bags I have lots of tutorials over on my blog vickymyerscreations.co.uk

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