Mermaid Tote Bag Pattern

heather handmade sewing

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Use this free mermaid tote bag pattern to make a trick-or-treat bag! It’s the perfect addition to a ocean-inspired costume or pretend play!

I love adding a little bit of animal whimsy to everyday things. I’ve always been an animal lover, and I love using it in my sewing projects. I had the idea for these really fun fish tail, shark, or mermaid tote bags, and I’m sharing a free pattern with you! Find the link at the end of the post.

The fabric and skeletons were provided by Oriental Trading for this post. All opinions are my own.

mermaid tote bag sewing pattern

These bags would work to hold pool stuff, dance stuff, or even just to play dress up with. It is fun to make something to let my kids’ imagination go wild.

I got all of the fabric from Oriental Trading in their decor section. It worked perfectly for these tote bags. And I’m so excited to tell you that there is free shipping on any order from Oriental Trading plus a selection of the skeletons will be up to 60% off! Use the exclusive Skeleton Squad code – SQUAD19 – to get free shipping!

skeletons trick or treating

Do you love make costumes? Check out some of these projects:

mermaid skeleton

The great thing about these bags is that they can easily be customized. As long as you are using woven fabric it all works. I used satin fabric, crinkled shiny fabric, and quilting cotton. For one of them I added glitter iron-on vinyl to look like scales.

I decided to use matte gray fabric for the shark for a more authentic look. The shark bag makes me so happy with all of those sharp teeth pointing up!

You can even use this bag pattern to make a shark or mermaid stocking for Christmastime!

pirate skeleton

You can create a haunted ocean display with this mermaid skeleton and pirate skeleton. With posable features, these skeletons can hand out your Halloween candy. These shark and mermaid tote bags work for your skeletons and your crew!

halloween skeletons

what is a pdf sewing pattern?

A PDF pattern is a sewing pattern designed on the computer and organized so that it can be printed on several letter or A4 size pieces of paper.

I love using PDF sewing patterns because if the pattern gets ruined or if my children or I changed sizes, I can always print it again. It’ll never be destroyed since I have a digital version!

how do you use a PDF sewing pattern?

Open the PDF on a computer and click print. When printing make sure that the scaling is set to 100% or no scaling so that the pattern prints at the correct size.

Once the pattern is printed it can be taped together to get the full size. Then the pattern can be cut for each pattern piece size or individual sizes can be traced so that the pattern can be used again and again. Learn how to use PDF sewing patterns.

DIY Trick or Treat Bags

trick or treat bags


  • 1/2 yard woven fabric for outer bag and straps – I used silver satin or metallic crepe
  • 1/2 yard woven fabric for lining – I used quilting cotton scraps
  • 1 yard medium weight interfacing
  • 1/3 yard woven fabric for fins – I used silver satin or metallic crepe
  • 1/3 yard fusible foam or interfacing
  • For the shark: white fabric triangles for the teeth – I cut the corners off of white bandanas
  • Sewing tools
  • Sewing machine
  • Free mermaid tote bag pattern – at the end of the post

Mermaid Tote Bag Pattern

holding mermaid tote bag

Before you get started sewing, fuse the interfacing to the outer fabric, the straps, and the fins. Fuse the fleece or foam to the other fin pieces.

1- With right sides together pin the lining pieces together. Sew around the two bottom sides of the lining at 1/2 inch seam allowance, but leave a six inch gap for turning. Backstitch at the start and end of each stitching line. Trim the point at the bottom.

2- With right sides together pin the fin pieces together. You should have two opposite fin pieces. Sew around the two curved sides with 1/2 inch seam allowance. Trim the point and clip the inner curve. Turn the fins right side out and press flat.

3- Pin the fins 1/2 inch from the bottom of one side of the outer fabric. The fins will be in each others way. Roll them up fold them out of the way. Pin the other side of the outer fabric on top with right sides together.

4- Sew around the two bottom sides with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Trim the seam allowance at the point.

sew mermaid tote

5- Fold the straps in half with wrong sides together and press. Fold the outer edges in to meet the middle with wrong sides together and press. There should now be three creases in each strap.

6- Fold the strap in half with the edges folded in (like bias binding) and pin closed. Topstitch each side of the long side of the strap 1/8 inch from the edge.

7- You will now pin the straps to the top of the bag. Find the center of one side and pin one side of the strap three inches to the left. Then pin the other side of the strap three inches to the right. Do the same to the other side with the other strap.

8- Slide the lining over the outer bag with right sides together. Match up both side seams and pin. Pin all the way around the top. Sew the top of the bag together at 1/2 inch seam allowance. You will have to pivot slightly at the side seams.

how to sew mermaid bag

9- Turn the bag right side out through the hole in the lining. Pull the lining out and topstitch the hole closed.

10- Push the lining bag into the bag. Press the top of the bag for a nice crease. Topstitch around the top of the bag to hold the lining inside the bag.

how to sew mermaid tote

Shark Tote Bag

holding shark tote bag

Use the same instructions as the mermaid tote bag, but before pinning the straps to the top of the back you will add shark teeth.

Create white triangles 1 inch tall and 1 inch wide with bias tape or fabric. I cut the corners off of white bandanas because it was quicker.

shark teeth tote bag

Pin the teeth to the top of the bag with the teeth pointing towards the bag. Overlap the teeth by 1/2 inch so they will be close together after being sewn.

shark tote bag

Then pin the straps over the teeth. Baste all the layers together before pinning on the lining.

When you topstitch the top of the bag at the very end, make sure that the teeth are pointing up.

shark bag sewing pattern

Get the Free Sewing Pattern here!

mermaid bag free pattern

If you make something using this mermaid tote bag pattern, I’d love to see! If you decorate with these fun skeletons, I’d love to see! Please share it on social media with the hashtag #heatherhandmade and tag me!

heather sewing

I believe small sewing moments can create great joy. Find your own “right” way to sew. -Heather

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I cannot get the pattern link to open. It says page not found.

I can’t get the link to the pattern pieces to work 🙁 Is there an updated link? Thanks!