Pickle Project 2015 – Backpacks and Tote Bags

It’s finally here, the 2015 Pickle Project! 

This year’s free pattern isn’t exactly a pattern – it’s more like a formula, or a recipe. Previous free patterns have all been for items small enough that the pattern pieces can fit on normal paper that you can print out. But this year, the project is a backpack or tote bag. Those won’t fit on letter-sized paper. But fortunately, the structure is very simple, and they can be made entirely out of three rectangles of material. The “recipe” will tell you everything you need to know to cut the pieces the right size for whatever size or shape of bag you want to make. It will work for a toddler’s preschool bag, and it will work to carry your groceries and beer home. 

This project is a great way to repurpose old tarps and banners, but it also includes a list of places you can buy new materials as well. They make great gifts for cyclists and non-cyclists alike. 

This tutorial is available for free, but if you like it, please consider making a small donation to a worthy cycling advocacy organization. 

Click here for a PDF

Or click here for a Google Document

Here are some examples:

These all came from one banner from West Medford Open Studios

These all came from one banner from West Medford Open Studios

2015-11-30 16.51.33

This was a giant banner with the Saucony logo on it.

This was a giant banner with the Saucony logo on it.


Preschooler-sized backpack for my nephew.

Preschooler-sized backpack for my nephew.










As always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. If you ask them in the comments, then other people can see the answers too. I’d love to see what you make!

Enjoy, and happy holidays!

Share Button

4 thoughts on “Pickle Project 2015 – Backpacks and Tote Bags

  1. Thank you so much!! Working on my (very misshapen) backpack has been really fun and a nice way to learn more about sewing – really helpful tutorial for a cool product!

  2. Hi Lynn! I’m glad yn like the tutorial, I enjoy making them. My most used and loved machine is nothing special, just a Juki DDL-8700. But it’s a good solid workhorse. I have a turret foot on it, which is pretty much the greatest thing since pneumatic tires. :) I also have a cylinder machine, but I don’t Use it for these projects because most people won’t have one. Happy Holidays to you too! -Emily

  3. We’ve met a few times at the Providence Builders Ball, and always enjoy speaking with you. What a fantastic tutorial!!! Truly. It must have taken a great deal of time to share with everyone. Thank you for posting it. It’s always interesting to read other folks processes. I’m curious to know, what sewing machine is your most loved and used?

    Happy Holidays to you,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>