I’ve been trying to use up the fabric that I have had in my boxes for a long time and came across a gorgeous pillow case that I discovered months ago hidden deep in mounds of bedding in a charity shop. I loved the colours and the flowers but wasn’t really sure what I was going to make out of it.
This week I decided to make it into a tote bag – some stitching and lining later and I ended up with a finished product that was so much better than the pillow case I’d started out with.
Tote bags are great for days out in the sun, trips with the family and carrying as a shopping bag. If you make them out of recycled fabric then not only are they preventing the use of plastic bags but ethically and sustainable produced too. Combine that with a relaxing afternoon spent sewing and you have a sustainable, ethical and fun filled bag!
Get those machines out and get sewing!
1. Decide how big you want your bag to be and cut two rectangles 1.5cm bigger than that all around. Cut out two rectangles of the same size from a plain lining fabric. Then cut two long strips that will make up the handles. I did mine either side of the pillow case and to a 6cm width
2. Now place the large rectangles right sides together for both the patterned and the lining fabric. Sew both sides and the bottom of the fabric. Now turn these out so that you can see the pouch that will make up your bag.
3. Take the thin strips and fold them in half lengthways. Sew a line from top to bottom about 1cm away from the raw edges. Take a safety pin and pin it to one side of the fabric. Point the pin into the tube of fabric and begin to ease it through pulling the fabric gently as you go. This should thread through leaving you a tube of fabric with the right side facing you.
4. Press your handles, bag and lining to leave neat, crisp lines.
5. Place the lining so the raw edges are facing you and put it inside of the patterned fabric. All your raw edges should now be hidden. Fold the tops over to create a neat seam between the patterned and the lining fabric. Pace the handles flat about 4cm away from each edge and tuck them in between the lining and patterned fabric.
6. Pin and ensure everything matches up and sits as you want it to. Make any adjustments and then stitch a line around the top of the bag ensuring you stay the same distance from the top as this is a visible stitch.