Stamped Calico Bag

Sometimes I just want a cute little carry bag to carry a couple of things. This project makes a bag large enough for a couple of A4 notebooks, or a few novels. Stamped calico bag (2)


  • Calico (100% cotton fabric)
  • Fabric measuring and cutting materials (or create a template!)
  • Fabric ink pads (prefer over other ink pads)
  • Stamps
  • Heat gun or iron
  • Fabric glue (optional)



* If using a different cotton fabric, you may want to wash it before proceeding.

1. Measure and cut out fabric. 1m x 1.2m fabric will make 4 bags across and 4 sets on handles (with a leftover of 4cm x 120cm for other craft ideas). You could make a template using the dimensions below, but I didn’t have some form of scrap paper lying around.

Bags are cut 30cm x 76cm (will be folding it up so the length will be 38cm before sewing). The two handles are 60cm x 5cm (finished width will be half, i.e. 2.5cm; if want to make them more thin or wide). The seams of the bag will be ~1cm on sides and ~2.5cm along the top.

2. Lay out the fabric, and place something to protect your work space under the fabric in case ink goes through.

3. Stamp! You can test out the stamped image on scrap fabric, or practice the design on a piece of A4 paper (about the size of the finished bag). I just crossed my fingers and went with my imagination.

Reminder: Don’t place anything important where you will be sewing it up.

4. Heat set the ink with a heat gun or iron (use baking paper between iron and ink). I usually leave it to dry before I come back a while latter and heat set.

5. Start the handles. I cheated and glued them into half by gluing down the middle. You could just also sew it down the side and turn back out the right way. I added strength by sewing zigzag down the middle.

Stamped calico bag

Handles pinned on the outside before folding the top over 2.5cm

6. Pin the top of the bag together. First fold over and secure the tops about 2.5cm with the handle laying out. I placed the handles 5.5cm in from the sides. Fold up the bag as it will sit and check that the tops line up together and the handles are the same length and line up.

7. Sew across the top. I then secured the handles by sewing an X and also across the very top of the fabric.

8. Pin and sew up the sides. Fold the bag together with the stamping on the inside. Pin and sew down the sides ~1cm. I then glued down the sides (from the sewn line to the edge) to minimise fraying (you could sew down in zigzag between line and the edge, or use an overlocker if you have one!) – just be careful not to sew or glue across the line.

9. Fold it out the right way and bask in the glory of easy cute bag making.

Stamped calico bag (3)

‘Yay’ it’s looking  awesome and coming together! …before facing the sewing…


Calico: I bulk bought it pre-cut from Lincraft during one of their sales (5m x 1.2m = 20 bags).

Measure and cut: I don’t sew much so just had a ruler, measuring tape, grey lead pencil and fabric scissors – and measured twice, cut once!

Ink pads: best ink pads to use are the ones made to be permanent on fabric when heat set; although other inks may withstand being used if also heat set. I used Colorbox Crafter’s ink.

Stamps: I used clear Kaisercraft stamps, some cheap stamps from Lincraft, and a Santoro Gorjuss rubber cling stamp. Some stamps will stamp clearer or worse with different inks, so test out your choices first.


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