Bleach Dyed Denim Costa Tote

Does anyone else have to curb your enthusiasm for tote bag sewing? I love me a good tote bag pattern, but a gal can only use some many bags, right? I keep just a couple of favorite bags around, but when the free Costa Tote pattern showed up in my email from Helen’s Closet, I knew I had to make one soon.

I loved the cool denims that were used for the samples on the pattern, but I was having a hard time finding some and I wasn’t willing to spend much money to buy fancy denim. And that’s what spawned my recent bleach dying denim adventures! Kinda cool how projects roll into each other and new ideas are hatched when seeking creative sewing solutions.

I put two of those denim pieces to use to make a Costa Tote and I think I’m in love.

Costa Tote bag pattern from bleach dyed denim. || Pin Cut Sew Studio

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I know this bag is pretty simple, but there are elements that make it just perfect. I absolutely love the deep pockets on both sides and the slanted shape of the pocket top adds interest. It’s also reversible, so those pockets can be inside if you want.

Costa Tote Bag pattern with bleach dyed denim. || PIn Cut Sew Studio

I really like the deeper hems at the top and on the pocket piece, I think the top stitching there looks really nice. You can see that I used straps purchased by the yard from Hobby Lobby for this version. I also shortened the top by 2”, just due to personal preference. This was easy to do, since sewing the top seam is the final step, so you can try it on for size before deciding to shorten it or now.

One more thing to note, it’s a big bag, so it takes more fabric than you might imagine. Keep that in mind when shopping around!

All in all, this bag is PERFECTION. Grab the pattern from Helen’s closet and go make yourself one! I’ve taken it to the pool and the library more than once already and I can definitely see it going on trips with me in the future, plus being put to use for my homeschool co op, where I’ll be teaching drama and creative writing this year. I also think I’ll sew a few for Christmas gifts, I know the ladies in my family would love these. If I were going to purchase some denim to make another, it would definitely be this one!

Do you have a favorite bag pattern? Please share!

I tie-dyed denim with bleach and used it to make a Costa Tote bag! Come see the details :) || Pin Cut Sew Studio

How to take the boring out of denim ... with bleach!

I did something so fun yesterday! Ever since the free Costa Tote pattern was released a few weeks ago, I’ve been wanting to find some cool denims to make one. It’s hard to find cool denim though, and since I’m on a tight sewing budget, I had to get creative.

I had four pieces of boring denim in my fabric drawer that used to be part of my daughter’s curtains. The denim is from Hobby Lobby, a medium weight, but not a color I really loved. I was remembering how I’d used bleach to tie dye a solid blue dress once and it occurred to me I could use that technique to make this denim something special!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links. For more info, see my disclosure policy.

How to five boring denim a makeover with bleach! Learn how I tie dyed denim at Pin Cut Sew Studio

I looked up some advice online before I started, but there’s not really a whole lot of skill involved here. Some paint the bleach on, others dunk, some use a timer and others just wing it.

I wanted to try a few different designs, since I had four pieces. The first piece I tied rubber bands in random places and got a circular effect. The second I tied in more strategic large concentric circles, more like traditional tie-dye. The third I pinched together lengthwise and tied a few inches apart to get stripes, and the fourth I folded shibori style. Basically, fan fold the piece lengthwise, then fan fold it in a triangular pattern (not folded in on itself life you’d fold a flag, but folding like you would a paper worm.)

How to tie dye fabric with bleach || Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

If you’re wanting a play-by-play, I documented the entire process on Instagram Stories and saved it to a highlight, so you can watch that here. But for a general run-down, here’s what I did:

I poured the bottle of bleach into my bucket, then added an equal amount of water. I submerged each piece for about 15 minutes, then rinsed it out and hung it up. Afterward, I washed and dried them all and they turned out SO soft and pretty! I definitely advise you do this outside or in a well-ventilated area AND wear a mask. I couldn’t find one, so I used a tea towel because the fumes were really getting to me! Also wear kitchen gloves and an apron to protect your clothes.

How to tie dye fabric with bleach || PIn Cut Sew Studio

The shibori style definitely turned out to be my favorite! I have it hanging up in my sewing room still because it’s just so pretty to look at! I already made my Costa tote out of two others, and I’ll post that result very soon.

Now I’m thinking of so many things I could do with these and I think I have the fabric dying bug. In my research for this project, I came across several other dye methods I want to try, so i’ll be sure to take you all along for the ride!

Reverse tie dye on denim using bleach, Shibori style! || Pin Cut Sew Studio

You can create a similar look by using white fabric and Rit Dye. They actually have a whole line of dyes for this purpose, which is pretty cool! They have great tutorials for this one their site, which you can check out here.