Canvas Bag Project

This is a really simple project that requires no real pattern and once you feel comfortable, you can just cut freehand and "eyeball-it".


Time To Complete: 20-60 minutes


  • 1/2 yard medium-heavy weight fabric (denim, no stretch)
  • sewing machine
  • thread
  • pins
  • scissors
  • cutting sheet/ruler and rotary cutter (optional)
  • chalk pencil (optional)


  1. Lay the 1/2 yard flat to cut. You will cut about 3-4 inches off on the side farthest from fold (there will be 2 pieces). You will now have 2 strips of fabric 3 by 18 inches and a long rectangle of fabric 18 inches wide and length anywhere between 20-30 inches, depending on the fabric you choose. For explaining purposes: the fold of the rectangle is the bottom and the opposite is the top.

  2. Wrong side of fabric must be facing out. Sew from the fold to the top, 1/4 inch with straight stitch. Sewing this way will help avoid fabric slipping, or you could pin it. Now sew the other side the same way.
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  4. You need to finish the edges, so that they don't unravel. Use a zigzag stitch.
  5. Now for the tricky part: making the bottom flat. Hold the corner (fold and sewn edge) with the seam closest to you. Pinch the fabric, pulling apart the sheets. You want the sewn edge to lay flat against the fold crease. Pin this down.
  6. For the cleanest corner, measure 2 inches from tip and draw a line with chalk.
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  8. Sew on line.
  9. Cut off the excess and zigzag edge. You could also just leave this on, it makes no difference.
  10. Making the handles is simple. Fold edges in about 1/4 inch and then sandwich together. Sew in place with straight stitch, do this with both.
  11. Now it's time to hem the top of the bag, you will need pins for this. Fold down top about 1.5 inches, then tuck 1/4-1/2 inch edge under. Pin all around.
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  13. Tuck and pin the straps under the hem, when doing to second side: check to be sure they are lined up (you can feel through fabric).
  14. Sew a straight stitch on open side of hem, catching the handles.
  15. Almost done! The last step is to sew up the handles and add strength. Fold up the handles and sew a square where handle and hem edge meet. Do this to all 4.
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  17. Flip inside out and go shopping.

These bags are great for everything! There are so many fun fabrics to show your style and your green living.

By Starchild in VT

April 21, 20090 found this helpful

Starchild, Your canvass bag looks very nice and practical in these times. Your instructions and pictures are easy to follow. Thank you so much for sharing.

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
April 22, 20090 found this helpful

Hurrah for you! I have 3 long denim dresses which I didn't wear this past winter so I am going to check the size of the skirt pieces to see if I can make totes from them.

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
April 22, 20090 found this helpful

I do like your tote and your pictures were very clear. I too love to sew. Our church sends school kits over seas for the world Relief Fund. I have sewn many bookbags. The congregation donates items off a list. The bags are required to be a certain size so the childre won't fight over who gets the bigger bag. Also, the handles are short. Since the church has to pay for shipping, we make them the same size, pack with supplies and wrap them up and tie with a rubber band. That way they pack easier too. I love your longer handles.

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
April 26, 20090 found this helpful

It's so easy and you can make them any size! Neat Idea to try it with the skirts. You can use just about any fabric as long as you use good thread!

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

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