octopus tote bag photo

I am so in love with these fabrics from Blend.  Being a California girl who loves the beach, when I saw these beautiful shades of blue I immediately thought of the ocean!  This is the perfect tote bag for a day at the beach – it’s made with sturdy canvas so it will really hold up!  Let’s get started!



1/8 yards 5 assorted prints (can use jelly roll cuts 2.5″)

1/2 yard for octopus applique

1 yard canvas or duck cloth – mine was 60″ wide

HeatnBond® Lite Fusible Applique

HeatnBond® Fusible Fleece

SpraynBond® Fusible Adhesive Spray

Download the octopus pattern HERE


Cut 5 strips 2.5″ x WOF from the assorted prints

Sew them together lengthwise and press to one side, using 1/4″ seams


Cut the strip set in half resulting in 2 identical pieces.  Align the strip sets and sew together forming a larger strip set of 10 strips.  Press seam.  Trim the sides (lengthwise) about 1/4″ off each side so the strip set measures 20″ across.


Cut strip set the following increments – cut carefully there is no excess!

Cut (2) 2″ strips and (2) 8.5″ strips.


Cut the canvas accent piece (2) 9.5″ x 20″

Complete the bag front and back…..

Lay the strip sets out like this – you will need to make 2


Sew the pieces together using 1/4″ seams and press away from the canvas.

Cut the Fusible Fleece (2) 19″x 20″ and fuse to the WRONG side of both the bag pieces.

You can add quilting or topstitching to your liking.  I sewed 1/8″ straight lines next to each seam.



Time to appliqué the octopus!

Download the octopus pattern HERE.  Since it is larger than a piece of printer paper, you will have to print off all the pieces and then tape them together.  Draw the octopus image on the Heat n Bond® Lite.


Iron it to the wrong side of the octopus fabric.  Cut on the lines of the octopus pattern – it’s a little tricky and takes some time.  I wanted some of the tentacles to wrap around to the back of the bag.  To accomplish this, position the octopus as shown and heat set the appliqué leaving about 2″ from the side seam.  We will come back to this later.  To reduce bulk, I stitched around most of the octopus leaving the last 2 tentacles for later.


Pin the floating tentacles out of the way like this:


Place the bag front and bag back right sides together and sew only the one seam where the octopus wraps around.  Use 1/2 seams on this part.  Press the seam open.


With the side seam now sewn, you can finish the appliqué process.  I like to straight stitch around my image at least 2 times.  This balances out any imperfections in the stitching and looks “sketchy”.  I think 3 times would have been best, but I didn’t have it in me to sew another round!



When the appliqué is complete, put right sides together and sew the opposite side and the bottom seams (1/2 inch seams again), making sure to keep the top open.  I also found the walking foot to be very helpful.

Cut a 3.5″ square out of paper or scrap fabric to use as a pattern.  Cut 3.5″ “notches” out of both sides of the bag bottom


Open the notched area and match the seams and sew 1/4″ seam along raw edges.


For the bag lining, you will use the same technique.

Cut the canvas (2) 20″ x 19″ .  Sew the sides and bottom leaving the top open.  Make sure to use 1/2 seams (I use a slightly larger seam just so my lining isn’t larger than my outer bag).  Use the same “notch” technique as with the outer bag.  Finish the bag bottom the same way also.  Now you should have 2 exact shape bags – and outer bag and a lining bag.


Make the handles

Cut canvas (2) 4″ x 28″


Fold right sides together and sew a 1/4″ seam lengthwise to both pieces.  Turn right side out and press.   Press the seams in the center, they will be covered by the accent fabric next.


Cut a (2) 2″ x 28″ pieces for the accent piece on the handle.  Press each side under 1/4″ lengthwise.


Use Spray n Bond® to hold the accent piece to the canvas handle.  Top stitch about 1/8″ from the fabric.


Position the handles 5″ in from the side seam of the bag.  Tack the handles on by sewing a seam 1/8″ from the top.  Make sure the fabric part is facing toward the bag.


Turn the lining inside out and place the outer bag inside the lining.  Match up the side seams and pin all around the top edge.  It should be right sides together.  Sew 1/4″ around the entire bag.


Unstitch about 4″ in one of the side seams.  Turn the bag right side out.  Top stitch the opening closed with matching thread.


After you turn the bag right side out, you will need to press the top edge to get the lining to lay flat.  Press and pin in place.  Top stitch 1/8″ seam around the entire top of the bag.  In this photo you can see closer stitching detail: