Bamboo Beach Purse



Well, we just returned from the beach so it’s been on my mind. This is my first attempt at making any kind of bag, so there was a bit of trial and error but I came up with this. The bamboo handles are mostly just so I didn’t have to make straps, but I did have to sew them on by hand! The fabric is Amy Butler‘s optic blossom in linen color and the bag is lined with cream-colored canvas. The instructions are below. Please let me know if you have any questions about the pattern!


  • 1/2 yard main fabric
  • 1/2 yard lining fabric
  • U-shaped bamboo handles and hardware
  • matching thread
  • 6″ zipper (optional)

Cut Fabric:

  1. Main Fabric: Cut 2 on the fold 6″ at the top and 9″ across the bottom(finished piece will be double this width).  See drawings below for the basic shape of the fabric.
  2. Lining Fabric: Cut 2 same as above.
  3. 6×13 piece of lining fabric for zippered pocket (optional).

Step #1: Make zippered pocket for inside of bag (optional).

Fold under top end of fabric by 1/2″ and attach one side of the zipper, being sure to align the end of the zipper from the edge with seam allowance. Fold under bottom end of fabric (finish raw edge with an overcasting stitch if you’d like) 1/2″ and attach the other side of the zipper (unzipped). Zip the zipper halfway and turn fabric inside out. Position zipper so that it is about 1″ from the top of the pocket and iron the fabric. Sew right sides together along unfinished sides, creating the pocket. Sew the pocket to one side of the lining, about 1″ from the bottom of the fabric. You can sew a straight stitch down the top of the pocket above the zipper.


Step #2: Sew top seams of bag.

Right sides together, sew one piece of main fabric to one piece of lining fabric as shown in illustration below, sewing down the side approximately 2 1/2″. Repeat with the other set of fabrics. Turn each piece right side out to begin the next step.


Step #3: Sew bag together.

With right sides of main purse fabric together and lining pushed aside, pin and sew main fabric to the other piece of main fabric around remainder of the purse. You’ll need to tuck under the fabric at the beginning of your stitches where they join with the stitches from the previous step. Then repeat with the lining, leaving about 5″ open at the bottom of the lining. Pull the purse through and turn everything right side out. Pull out the lining and turn under the remainder of the open seam. Press, pin flat and sew.


Step #4: Sew Handles.

Mark center of inside on each side of the bag opening. Align the handle and mark each end. Sew hardware in place by hand (as shown). Be sure to sew only to fabric lining so that your stitches won’t show on the front of the bag. Repeat for other side of handle and then again for the other side of the bag. Fold in corners about 3″, creating a crease along the side of the bag. Pin in place and tack down.


That’s the bag. As always, patterns posted on the long thread are for personal use only. If you make this bag, please post your version to the Flickr Make it Monday photo pool. Thanks!

17 comments to Bamboo Beach Purse

  • that fabric is so pretty! can’t wait to see the pattern. I’ve been wanting to make a fabric bag with bamboo handles for forever!

  • thanks for posting this! I’m totally going to make one : )

  • Ok…got it bookmarked…I’m going to do this. A zipper…yikes, but it would make the bag so practical. I think I can, I think I can!

  • Laurie

    i totally want to make this, someday. also love your other bamboo handle bag.

  • This turned out great! I love the fabric! Who wouldn’t love this bag?

  • I’ve had this bag on my things to do list, and reading it carefully today I’m a bit confused about the pattern. Is it 6″ across the top, 9″ across the botton? That actually seems to make a massive bag cutting it on the fold, 18″ at the botton. Is that right? and which is the height?
    I’d like to make the bag for a friend this weekend and I can’t figure out how it goes…

  • thelongthread

    Yes, I cut mine to these dimensions, so you have two pieces of fabric 12″ across the top (which will be folded under by a few inches on either side) and 18″ across the bottom minus 1 1/2″ for seam allowance. I think the height is about 12″. You could adjust the shape any way you want, just so long as you leave enough fabric at the top to be folded under and for the bag to open properly. Good luck and sorry for the confusion!

  • thanks! I’ll post a picture.

  • Another bamboo beach purse for the world! I really enjoyed making it. Check the picture on my blog, hope you like my version.

  • Love the grays and yellows. And the simplicity!

  • I wrote about you on my blog today and used your image and put links. I hope I have your permission, if not please let me know and I’ll remove it.
    Thanks so much,

  • Maxine

    Love the bag. I’ve bought the material but cannot find cane handles anywhwere … if you can help pls email me.

  • Lin

    I don’t see in your instructions, but it appears theres a gussett in the bottom of your bag? Did you sew one in? If not, what do you think if I do that? You think it would work?

  • thelongthread

    No, there’s no gusset, but that would be a good idea!

  • Myrtes Mattos

    Amei osite

  • Hi, I just found your great tutorial – thanks for sharing! I’ve just added your tutorial to my Free Purse, Tote and Handbag Directory at

  • maureenann hilton

    I love your site and thought you might be of help with a question that I have. pretty please:)

    I recently made a handbag with round, full bamboo handles. It has taken me hours because the sides had only a 3″ slit and after sewing the handles on by hand….could not open the bag!! Pulled it apart, make the slit 5″ and finished it. It is okay but does not open wide enough to make it functional. So much for patterns out of books!
    Wondering if you could advise or suggest something to make it more easily functional. It is darling, but does not open wide enough. The fabric around the handles slides up, so I stitched in firmly in place.

    any comment?
    thanks alot,

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