How To: Retro Apple Tote Bag

How to make a denim Apple Tote Bag, sewing steps and pattern included

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This easy to make tote bag features an apple applique designed by Draw Pilgrim.

Previously I used the templates for knee patches, now I’ve enlarged it to decorate this practical tote bag.

I’ve been working my way through my Handmade Christmas gift list, and this bag is going to be for Emma’s Kindergarten teacher, which is really funny because I only just connected the giving your teacher an apple reference. It was meant to be.

I’ve made the bag with boxed corners which are super easy to do with the method I’ve shown here.

You will need:

  • Light weight denim fabric 24″ (61cm) length x 36″ (91cm) width
  • Applique template
  • Scrap fabric, red and green.
  • Double sided fusible web (like Heat’n’Bond)
  • General sewing supplies

More Free Bag Patterns

How to:


1. Cut your fabric pieces. See cutting plan below. The handles are each half the length of the total width of the fabric, if you have wider fabric you can make your handles longer.

tote bag pattern and measurement


2. Enlarge the apple pattern to the size of an A4 sheet of paper and print the template pattern.

Applique apple pattern steps attaching to tote bag

3. Trace the apple and leaves onto the paper of your double sided fusible web. Iron onto fabric scraps as per product instructions, then cut out apple and leaf shapes.

4. Iron on leaves and apple onto denim panel (position in top third of rectangle).

5. Top stitch over applique with matching thread.

Assembling bag

sew seams on the side of bag

6. Fold the denim panel in half with right sides facing, sew seams down both sides. Use a serger (overlocker) if you have one to strengthen seams.

Making box corners

how to make square corners on tote bag

7. Fold corner flat with seam down the middle.

8. Mark a line perpendicular to seam 2″ from corner.

9. Sew along line and trim excess fabric. Reinforce with serger or zig zag stitch.

Making and Attaching Bag Handles

making bag handles

10. Fold bag handle pieces in half lengthwise, right sides facing.

11. Sew seam down length then turn inside out and press.

How to attach bag handles on tote bag

12. With bag right side out, pin handles facing down to top edge of bag. Position centrally with about a 5″ gap. Sew very close to edge to secure.

13. Turn bag inside out, fold over twice as pictured, the first fold about 1/4″ and second fold about 2″. See Monster Tote bag tutorial for extra details.

14. Pin handles up.

15. Top stitch handles in place, reinforce with a cross.

All done! Looks super cute!

Cute apple retro tote bag denim

Close up of red apple tote bag

Make a tote bag easy sewing steps with red apple applique

For more Handmade Christmas Gift Ideas, browse through My Poppet’s Handmade Christmas Inspiration Guide


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