Tote bag with folded sides

Make your own very stylish and comfortable everyday bag from a pair of jeans!

The instructions and printable pattern are very simple and you can make this tote bag with almost any other fabric, but denim is always on trend! And using old jeans helps our Mother Nature in a very big way!

The coolest thing about this bag is that it can be made using only one pair of jeans!

The fun of this project is to keep that cool denim look: pockets, seams. Some jeans are so great-looking (but don’t fit for instance), then it’s really fun to turn them into a bag, something that you can still use and enjoy!
In this tutorial I will show the hardest layout, the most interesting and difficult version β€” using the original pockets and side seams! But be prepared for some bulky places πŸ˜‰

However, you can use this pattern to make bags with a different design. But choose some rather thick fabric – for the sides to fold in nicely and for the bag to keep it’s shape.

This PDF pattern and instructions to make a tote bag with folded sides is printable on A4 paper.
Instant download. You will receive tree PDF files to your email immediately after payment.

One – The step by step instructions with photos in 20 pages. You do not need to print those, just follow on screen.

The other two – The printable patterns of the exact sizes, print and join the pages as explained in the tutorial.
If you are using Apple OS, do not print through Preview App but through Adobe Acrobat Reader.

All files are in English and full of photographs.

I’d rate the difficulty level as easy to medium. It’s an easy bag, but you do need some sewing experience when it comes to jeans recycling.
A good sewing project for denim lovers and eco thinkers!

Sizes of the finished bag:
Wider bag:
H: 35-36cm
W: 43-46cm
D: 12-13cm
Taller bag:
H: 39-40cm
W: 42-44cm
D: 12-13cm

The jeans for this project should be size Medium or above. The width of the front of a leg from seam to seam should be min of 7,5” (19cm). The wider β€” the better and easier to work with πŸ™‚ All details will be explained in the tutorial.

You will also need:

  • Fabric for lining.
  • Handles (webbing or it can be made with denim).
  • Magnet snap (optional but preffered).
  • Catch (carabiner and/or string) to keep the bag closed in the middle.
  • Some interfacing.

Buy this pattern:


17 thoughts on “Tote bag with folded sides

    1. Hi, Marie! The files for download will come to your email box within few hours after purchase. Please check the spam folder just in case and contact me if you still didn’t receive them.

  1. Great bag. Have you considered making a large, reusable bag for bagging groceries? The new laws regarding plastic bags in our state make it necessary to bring your own bags. Another customer at the grocery store had some rather large oblong bags, open at the top with sturdy handles that looked perfect. A pattern would make a really nice project and useful, too. Appreciate all the work that goes into your posts, they are top of the line.

    1. Hi! This is a great idea to make a large grocery bag, but I always thought that it is better made with lighter fabric, like canvas or other strong cotton. Denim is quite heavy and nobody would like this extra weight to carry (folded or filled). I use some cotton bags for my shopping too…. However, this idea worth thinking about πŸ™‚ Thanks, Kat

      1. Love this bag. I’ve made purses & patchwork skirts with jeans.In process of making patchwork coat. I freestyle everything I make.Its unbelievable how many jeans I have.

        1. Hi, Beverly! Thank you for the comment! I am also a fan of denim, it’s an amazing fabric to work with and the look is always on trend!

  2. I think you could alter this a little an make a backpack purse! Use the back pockets on the sides and add a flap over the top and adjustable straps. I think it would be really cute!

  3. Hi Kat, one of your purses says to use stiffener. It is in the folded side purse/bag. I am in the US. what is stiffener? Want to make sure we have that product here?

    1. Hi! I was meaning fabric interfacing. I thought that anything to stiffen a fabric will be called stiffener, I am sorry. I should say interfacing πŸ™‚

  4. Hi, I am interested in making your bag, but was wondering if the pattern can be adjusted to make it a little smaller? I don’t necessarily need a tote, but more like a large purse/tote.

    1. Thank you for your interest! I am sure any pattern can be adjusted but I am afraid with this one it will require some understanding of the whole thing to be able to make it smaller or larger. It also depends if you adjust width or height… I think however the easiest is always to skip the seam allowances – this way it will give you a slightly smaller bag in all dimensions. Fingers crossed πŸ™‚

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