Handmade Style

Denim Zip Top Tote


Everyday I push myself towards a clean and simple aesthetic. I think it’s especially true when I’m feeling stressed. Being able to look around and feel a sense of calm is my goal. My home is definitely where I have been working for the past few years to get things pared down to the basics. I can’t believe there’s much of anything left, I seem to make a trip to drop off donations every few weeks. I think it’s especially a challenge with kids, and things get outgrown and changes so quickly that our home has to keep evolving. Maybe it’s something that we’ll always have to stay on top of, but it feels pretty good to keep working towards my goal.



So this tote is a perfect example of stripping things down to the basics. I love my Caravan Tote and Pouch that I had made with a similar combo. My stash of neutrals keeps growing and growing whereas with my prints I’ve been getting more and more selective. I don’t think I could ever switch to using all solids or neutrals, but I love keeping things simple, especially for accessories.


I made this denim Zip Top Tote for my friend Holly. I was so happy that she wanted one! It was fun showing her some combinations and then having her picking the favorites. I hope this will be a well-used and durable tote for her! I’m so excited to give it to her!


Pattern: Zip Top Tote from my book, Handmade Style
Fabrics: Robert Kaufman Black Washed 8 oz. Denim, my favorite Recycled Hemp Duck,
and Carolyn Friedlander’s Doe and a splash of Leah Duncan


18 thoughts on “Denim Zip Top Tote

  1. Laurie says:

    Gorgeous!!! I love everything you make! One of these days I’m gonna tackle a caravan tote. 😉 I love the snaps and leather you use and that is what I am scared of trying!

  2. Karrie says:

    What a lovely gift! Lucky friend.

  3. Kim says:

    Very nice!

  4. sewingkathy says:

    I love your aesthetic. Where do you get your leather goods?

  5. Love your clean aesthetic, it was the first thing I noticed about your designs and the home in your book. 😉 Great work as always.

  6. Sona Jacob says:

    The leather straps look great! And I love the rivets by the sides of the pocket.

  7. Bridget Duba says:

    Love this pattern! What are the dimension of the main pouch?

  8. kristin says:

    AH it’s so wonderful! You’re right, the simple design/fabric choices really do convey peace and calm. I’m jealous of the paring down of your house stuff too! I’ve been working on that too but the kid stuff…OY.

  9. Carrie says:

    I love this! I’m planning fabrics for my first Zip Top Tote; is there an Etsy shop you would recommend for the leather straps?

    1. Anna Graham says:

      Hi Carrie,
      Thanks for your comment. The etsy shop I purchase mine from is listed in the ‘resources’ section at the back of my book. 🙂

  10. jbiang14 says:

    Where did you get the zipper from?

    1. Anna Graham says:

      I’m pretty certain it’s a Coats & Clark zipper I picked up at my local Hancock Fabrics. You can also find YKK ones on wawak.com

  11. La Fabrica says:

    Hi Anna. All your work is so beautiful! I love all the versions of this tote. What is the lenght of that zipper? Its seems that is more than the 22 inches that you recommend in the book. Am I wrong? And I think it looks nicer!

    1. Anna Graham says:

      Thank you! The length of that zipper was a bit longer as I didn’t have the other size I needed on hand. It’s maybe a 24″? or 26

  12. Birgit Frahling says:

    Hi! I need a german manual!!!!
    I love this bag but my English is not good!
    Is it possible to get a german translation??
    Thank you!

  13. Brie says:

    Hi – What are the overall dimensions of this bag? I don’t see them in the book or this post and need to know if it is big enough for what I want to use it for.

    1. Anna Graham says:

      Hi Brie,
      Thanks for the comment. The finished size is listed on the bottom of the second column on page 76. Hope that helps! 🙂 Anna

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