Isn’t it funny how inspiration can come from anywhere? At any time?

I wasn’t thinking of making any bags until a customer came into the store with the cutest little shopping bag. It was a square bucket bag with leather handles which looked easy to make. Then I was window shopping in a local chi-chi store where they had giant square bucket bags with handles that looked useful for storage purposes (For $195 each!). I figured it was a sign! Make some square bags with handles!

I tried to google search bucket bag sewing patterns but most patterns were for cylindrical bags. Not what I was looking for. So I decided to draft one for myself. How hard could this be 🙂

It took a couple tries to get my brain wrapped around the pattern drafting part, but once I figured it out, I made 3 sizes. It was so easy! You can make it too.

Drafting materials required:

  • a large piece of (drafting) paper or 0.5m red dot tracing paper (this is a tracing paper product that has red dot markings at 1″ intervals)
  • a pencil
  • a ruler
  • a square ruler

Drafting Instructions:

  • Decide what size you wish to make. The sizes I made were 8″, 10″ and 12″ square bags. For the purposes of the instructions, I will use the 8″ size.
  • Draw a 8″ square. (Choose an even number to make the rest of the process easier. If you are using a plain piece of paper, use a square ruler to make sure your corners are 90*.)

For this demonstration, the large graph squares represent 1″ squares.

  • On 3 sides of this square, add 1/2 sized rectangles. In this case, 4″ x 8″. These will form the sides and bottom of the bag.

Note the orange rectangles measure half the width of your original square by the full length. These rectangles will form the sides and the bottom of the bag.

  • Add a seam allowance around the entire shape. I like 1/2″ seam allowances since that is the distance from my needle to the edge of my presser foot.

    The green sections are my 1/2″ seam allowances. I chose 1/2″ since that is the width from my needle to the edge of my presser foot. You can choose whatever seam allowance you are comfortable with.


Drafting complete. Now to the sewing part!

Sewing materials required:

  • 35cm (Sm) or 45cm (Md) or 50cm (Lg) x 150cm outside/fashion fabric. I recommend something heavy like a canvas or denim or home decor fabric. I used this stripe printed twill.

You can use a lighter weight fabric but you will probably need to interface both the outside fabric and the lining fabric. If your fabric is only 114cm wide, you will need 75cm (Sm) or 95cm (Md) or 110cm (Lg).

  • 35cm (Sm) or 45cm (Md) or 50cm (Lg) x 150cm lining fabric. I used 10oz unbleached canvas. For more structure, consider a heavier weight of lining fabric. If your fabric is only 114cm wide, you will need 75cm (Sm) or 95cm (Md) or 110cm (Lg).
  • 35cm (Sm) or 45cm (Md) or 50cm (Lg) x 150cm firm fusible interfacing. I use a Pellon product called Decor Bond. For more structure, consider fusing a second layer of interfacing.
  • 1m x 2.5cm (1″) webbing

Sewing Instructions:

  • Using your just drafted pattern piece,  cut 2 in your outside/fashion fabric, 2 in your lining fabric and 2 in the interfacing.
  • Fuse the interfacing to your lining fabric pieces using the manufacturer’s instructions. Put aside for now.
  • On the 2 outside/fashion fabric pieces, press a crease down the center from top to bottom. This will be pressed out once the bag is completed.

Mark the center point along the top edge. I actually like to fold the pieces in half and press a crease to mark the center line.

  • With the 2 outside/fashion fabrics, pin right sides together.
  • Stitch down both sides and across the bottom. Press seams open. I find my sleeve board handy for this.
  • Open up the bottom cut out areas (like a mouth) and match the bottom seam to the side seam. Stitch across to close this up.

Open up the bottom square cut out section so you can match the bottom seam with the side seam.

Match the side seam with the bottom seam.

  • Turn right side out.
  • With your interfaced lining pieces, pin right sides together.
  • Stitch along the side seams ONLY.
  • Pin the bottom seam. Stitch only about 2.5cm (1″) from each cut edge in. This leaves an opening in the middle of the bottom seam. (I find it handy to BASTE the opening closed for easier pressing.)
  • Press seams open.
  • Open up the bottom cut out areas and match the bottom seam to the side seam. Stitch across to close this up.
  • Insert outside/fashion fabric bag into lining bag right sides together. Stitch across the top seam joining bag to lining.
  • Using the opening in the bottom seam of the lining, pull the outside/fashion fabric bag through.
  • Once the entire bag is pulled inside out, close up the opening. Press the top edge of the bag. Top stitch around the top of the bag.
  • Measure the webbing to your desired length. (I used 14″ per handle for Small, 17″ per handle for the Medium, 19″ per handle for large bag) . These measurements include an extra 1″ so that you can fold under 1/2″ at either end so the cut edges are hidden.
  • Fold under 1/2″ on each cut end of the webbing and baste.
  • Mark the mid points between the center point and each edge of the square. This is where the handles will be stitched.

  • Center the ends of the handles over the handle placement marks on the bag and 1 1/4″ (Sm) or (Md) or (Lg) down from the top edge of the bag. Pin into place.
  • Attach handles to the bag. (I stitched a square at the end of each handle with an X in the middle. My stitching stopped about 3/4″ from the top of the bag.)

I stitched the handles onto the sides of the bag about 3/4″ down from the top edge.

When stitching the handles on, I stitched an X in the middle for added strength.

Now, enjoy all the compliments you will get for your bag!


One suggestion I would make regarding the large/12″ square bag. If you want more structure, consider using a double layer of interfacing. Or use a heavier lining fabric like the 12oz or 14oz canvas. This will add more body to the bag.  Note my bag slightly crumples at the bottom. This crumpling doesn’t show in the smaller sizes.


Here is an extra detail that was on the customer’s bag. Her bag had a cord tie in the middle of the sides. This is an easy addition if you wish to add this detail. I used 2x35cm length of cord in the 8″ square bag below and knotted the ends. The handles on her bag were also sewn into the top of the bag versus sewn onto the sides of the bag.

For another design detail, you can add a cord tie to the side seams. Instead of attaching the handles to the sides of the bag, you can stitch the handles into the top of the bag.

I used the 14oz canvas as the lining as well as the decor bond interfacing in this bag.